Meet the stylish New Yorkers – that don’t need rules, trends or runways – who are taking place on the streets of NYC.
Lizzy Plapinger – The Human Lite-Brite
British expat Lizzy Plapinger—one half of synth-pop duo MS MR—is basically that ’70s-era toy with the neon plastic pegs you played with as a youngster. The singer’s aesthetic is pretty old-school and high-octane in terms of color, and she’s inspiring us to pluck ourselves off the modern all-dark-everything wagon and hop on her retro rocket of rainbows.
“There’s just something really fun about living in New York, where it’s very black-and-white, and being the loudest version of yourself,” says Plapinger. But in a city where muted garb reigns in most stores, how can we steal her bold look? When the frontwoman isn’t fantasizing about raiding Iris Apfel’s closet and rocking her go-to ensemble—“glitter boots, a killer onesie from the ’70s, a bright-colored fur jacket and a sick fucking pair of glasses,”—Plapinger is becoming a familiar face to the owners of vintage treasure troves Screaming Mimis, Malin Landaeus and 10 Ft. Single by Stella Dallas, where she bags one-of-a-kind threads.
“You have to really dig to find the good stuff, but I get off on the challenge,” she says. One thing that hasn’t been difficult for the natural-born crooner? Standing out. “I feel like I’ve been dressing for the stage my entire life, and MS MR became a great platform for me to be loud,” says Plapinger. “There’s a dark and mysterious side to our band, which can be discovered in the music and lyrics, but we contradict the darkness by surrounding our project with color.” Color us intrigued.
Rain Dove – The Gender F**ker
There’s a lot of talk about an identity revolution happening in fashion right now, and at the forefront is self-proclaimed “quote-unquote female” Rain Dove—a six-foot-two model who can rock a smashing suit just as well as a scanty set of lingerie. Dove wasn’t originally gung ho for the catwalk, although she loved the runway camera inside H&M’s fitting room in Times Square.
In fact, she sought out to work for the UN on water rights initiatives. Her modeling career and goal to bring awareness to gender issues spawned after losing a wager. “I lost a bet to a model over a football game, and I had to go to a casting call,” she recalls. “The agency thought I was a guy and booked me for an underwear show for Calvin Klein.”
During rehearsal, Dove walked out with her head high, wearing men’s underwear and nothing else. “The casting director turned a shade of red I had never seen before,” she says. Nevertheless, she slayed the show—and continues to kill it no matter what she’s sporting. “I’m a big advocate of people shopping based on measurements, but I like to be comfortable and wear things I’d be happy dying in,” explains Dove. “I always wear one accent piece, just in case something happens,” she says.
Cipriana Quann and TK Wonder – The avant-bohemians
Not familiar with stunning, identical twin sisters TK Wonder and Cipriana Quann (pictured, from left to right)? You should be, and not just because they’ve been in major fashion mags like Vogue and seemingly every street-style roundup that’s popped up on Facebook. It’s because the Urban Bush Babes collaborators are women who, at the epicenter of all the hustle and bustle, fuse avant-garde fashion with functional threads to create an eclectic urban aesthetic paired with killer confidence. (In short, we see pictures of them and are kind of annoyed by how damn cool they are.).
These days, the Baltimore transplants are instantly recognizable by their gorgeous natural hair and outstanding wardrobes—some of which includes cheap steals from thrift stores like the Mobile Vintage Shop and Beacon’s Closet—but they weren’t always so self-assured. “I started out in the modeling industry, but my confidence swayed during that time,” recalls Cipriana. “I wasn’t deemed commercially appealing because of the texture of my hair, and I was told to change it.” Her frustrations spurred her to quit modeling and cofound Urban Bush Babes, a fashion, beauty and lifestyle website that aims to inspire women of various ethnicities.
“TK is a performer, and musicians are celebrated as individuals, whereas as a model, I felt like a mannequin,” says Cipriana. “I always admired my sister because she wore whatever she wanted.” TK’s electronic music has garnered attention from the likes of Sting and N.E.R.D, but when she’s onstage, she’s not worried about how her look is perceived: “When I’m in front of over half a million people, I don’t care what they think,” she says. “I hope it resonates with people, but the way I move and my style comes naturally. I definitely take it offstage with me.” Take a bow, ladies.
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