As Gwen Stefani unveils her Spring 2012 L.A.M.B. collection at Lincoln Center today, Rolling Stone went backstage for an exclusive preview of the singer-turned-designer's newest color-dashed, mod-ready looks, which are influenced by the women of India, gentrified Jamaican street style, and Vespa culture.
"There were three distinct themes that inspired me," Gwen Stefani tells Rolling Stone. "The first is a Rat Pack group that is very black and white and quite graphic." But naturally, her penchant for a rasta-themed palette, now a L.A.M.B. signature, meant there were plenty of amplified bursts of color – sunny yellows, sanguine reds, muted greens, a few vagrant but gorgeous turquoises – which contrasted winningly against the predominantly two-toned collection. Stefani explained: "The second [motif] we're calling High Voltage because there are lots of bright electric colors."
With accessories, Stefani also pumped up the volume, literally, showing sky-high platform sandals and exaggerating the proportions of handbags, with oversized satchels in contrasting hues – a white and yellow vinyl bucket bag was particularly crucial, the models swooning for first dibs.
Indeed, Stefani's army of models always stand out as particularly fearsome. This season, they resembled Nubian warriors: they wore high and elegant buns, tightly wound by dark extensions (even the blond models sported a black weave wrapped in). Eyes were done in richly pigmented navys and blacks and cut a dramatic Cleopatra shape. Chevron, ikat, and zig-zag prints completed the collection's exotic, multi-cultural feel, appearing on floaty maxi-dresses, rompers, and drapey light-knit sweaters. Of the East Meets West vibe, Stefani confirms that "Maharaja – an Indian inspiration – loosely weaves in and out."
In fitting with the vaguely Afro-Indian theme, the show's music, curated by Jeremy Healy, paired reggae against African pop, bhangra, and hip-hop. A clever sonic preview of what's going on through No Doubt's collective aesthetic conscious this fall? Only time will tell.