We talk Britney and Bowie with It girl and M.A.C. Viva Glam Fashion Cares performer Sky Ferreira

Photography by Kevin Tachman
Photography by Kevin Tachman

“It’s a blessing and a curse,” Sky Ferreira opines about the conflicting aspects of her sound, a duality in tastes that has seen her through gritty Debbie Harry–esque melodies to raw Jon Brion–produced ballads. The 19-year-old singer is a bit of a dichotomy herself: she will unabashedly profess her adoration for Britney Spears in the same breath as her love for David Bowie, and makes no apologies for being tricky to label.

“It’s hard to get people to understand me because of it, because people want to pigeonhole someone, like I have to have this ‘sound,’” she told FASHION in a phone interview.

That refusal to simplify herself hasn’t stopped the fashion and music world from noticing her, though; if anything, it’s this diversity that has the big names in the industry knocking at her door.

Terry Richardson has become a pal (he even shot the music video for her new single “Red Lips” off of her upcoming album I’m Not Alright, which is slated for release later this year), Mario Testino captured her for a Madonna-inspired feature in V Magazine, Garbage singer Shirley Manson signed up to collaborate with Ferreira for her new album and now she’s joining Elton John in Toronto for M.A.C. Viva Glam Fashion Cares 25, which benefits the AIDS Committee of Toronto and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

“It was definitely hard work but it was also a bit of luck, somewhere between both of those,” Ferreira said of landing the gig. “Elton is a big supporter, so that helps, and I’ve also been really involved in a lot of fashion too, so it kind of works out perfectly.”

The singer’s foray into the fashion industry has quickly become one of the things Ferreira’s most known for. Her self-confessed “grungy” style is normally an effortless brand of laid-back chic, but she loves dressing up in everything from Givenchy to Yves Saint Laurent as well, and finds sartorial inspiration in Tilda Swinton and the singer Grimes.

“[Tilda’s] very chic, like effortlessly chic and not too fashion-y. You know what I really admire? Anyone who looks amazing without having to look like a stylist did it for you.”

If you were hoping for any of the styling secrets behind Ferreira’s famous, mermaid-esque mane though, you’re out of luck. “My hair looks gigantic no matter what I do and I can never have a hair cut because it’d just go everywhere and be huge. I use Moroccan Oil, that’s pretty much it. I guess I’ll start using more [products] if I ever land a hair contract,” she said with a laugh. “I’m keeping my options open. I feel like my hair has become such a part of me that I might as well make some money off of it.”

Ferreira will be joining Elton John on September 9 for M.A.C. Viva Glam Fashion Cares 25 alongside fashion legend Jeanne Beker and John’s partner David Furnish.

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