Novella Team Picks Personal Fashion Icons

Art work by Michelle Cheung for Novella Magazine


We all have one — that one person with amazing style and flare who you’d rather be than anyone else when you’re trying to get dressed; the icon you light a candle to for inspiration. Aspire as we might, we may never truly emulate their originality or defiance. Nevertheless, we keep them around because they are good to look at and think about — in a way, the north star of a sort. Here are Novella team members’ personal fashion icons. We love who we love, no judgments please.

Drew Brown, Editor-in-Chief 

Luis Borges has been a “friend in my head” ever since he first burst on the fashion scene with his big afro back in 2010. Yes, it’s hard for a model to not make look clothes since that is his job, but if you follow the model/digital influencer/father on Instagram then you know that Luis has a way of effortlessly mixing high and low fashion and with each outfit let his personality shine through. If I am ever in his native Portugal and we ever did meet, I would for sure want to raid his closet even though there is definitely a height difference but hey, that’s what a tailor is for 🙂

Hoon, Managing Editor

I once bought a pair of Wayfarers because I knew they were what Bob Dylan wore (hopefully still wears) —despite my secret wishes, nothing about me has become Dylan-esque as a result, yet. He is often photographed in a white shirt and a black blazer, which is also my go-to truly original and unique color combination (you should give it a try!). But there’s also The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan cover where he’s in blue jeans and a mustard jacket, a look, along with the songs, that promises better days, of finding oneself, after fun and trouble, home safe: “Well, ask me why I’m drunk all the time/ It levels my head and eases my mind/ I just walk along and stroll and sing/ I see better days and I do better things/ I catch dinosaurs, I make love to Elizabeth Taylor, catch hell from Richard Burton.” I like that promise. It’d be nice to emulate it somehow.

Natasha Grodzinski, Contributor

All images via Pinterest.

If we’re talking about the bohemian, ’70s-inspired, possibly-a-witch vibes that are back in trend with tons of young women, then we need to talk about Stevie Nicks, infamous rock-goddess extraordinaire and one of the best-known purveyors of this aesthetic. Of course she’s beautiful and mysterious now, but whenever I’m trying to replicate that kind of look for myself, I always draw inspiration from her 1970s wardrobe. The Rumors era, in particular, is a goldmine for style inspiration. Not only is she supremely talented, but she’s serving looks left and right. Stevie does the damn thing.

Christopher Zaghi, Fashion Editor

Being the former front-woman of one of the most important musical acts of the 2010s isn’t a feat easily achieved by many. But Alice Glass’s voice, raw fury when performing, and personal style stood alone amongst music’s greatest front-women. Since her beginnings among a Toronto drifter community, Alice has carved her own path. Recently, Alice released a self-titled EP that once again has me falling in love with the reigning queen of dark goth glamour. Her signature choppy hair, black leather, band shirt, and the subtle additions of fetish wear have created a unique blend of modern trend and old school goth that hasn’t been seen since the days of Garbage front-woman Shirley Manson and goth icon Siouxsie Sioux. Now that Alice has embarked on her new solo career, I’m looking forward to this new and exciting time in her personal style.

Kimberley Drapack, Contributor

All images via Pinterest

Cher is an icon. She has never been one to shy away from making bold choices in fashion or reinventing her image. Many have attempted to recreate her looks at a later date *cough* Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala in 2015 *cough*. With Cher’s career spanning over 50 years in the industry, time and again she has come forward with extravagant ensembles, decorated in sequins, feathers, and rhinestones. It is without a doubt that she has been a major inspiration for artists and designers over the years, creating an incredible palette to design any mood board after.

Michelle Cheung, Social Media Coordinator 

Margaret Zhang is a 24-year-old Chinese-Australian multidisciplinary law-school graduate, ballerina, model, blogger (of Shine by Three), photographer, creative director, stylist, Instagram star, writer, and fashion consultant. She’s worked with global brands including Vogue, Chanel, and Dior, to list a few. Her works are recognized as having impact on the international fashion industry and she’s been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30. She’s also recently published her first book of photo essays. Her modern and eclectic style and her artistic photos/Instagram posts are among the few things I admire. She is the epitome of the ‘generation of slashers” and, as a decuple threat, she is a fashion icon to be reckoned with.

Adina Heisler, Contributor 

You probably recognize her as the badass assassin Arya Stark from Game of Thrones, but outside Westeros you can find Maisie Williams on other acting endeavors or hanging out with Sophie Turner, her fictional sister on the show and her real-life friend (they even have a ship name, mophie). And while Arya is decidedly uninterested in clothes and fashion, Maisie is known for her cool, simple style. I love that her style is never too crazy or excessive, but also never feels boring or understated. She uses lots of florals and prints, but mixes them with just enough punk to keep it from being too sweet.

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Front Women Fashion Icons

When hearing of a front man (or woman), fashion should be synonymous with this term. Fashion and music have gone hand in hand for years and the person at the front of the stage, with all eyes on them will set the tone not only vocally or with performance, but also by showing off their esthetical perception of what the act should be seen as. Take the Beatles for instance, the matching suits were indication of their polite sound at the time. Enter the infamous album, “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and the bands fashion completely changed to be edgier and more theatrical. Clothes matter- they create a sense of wonder and additional artistic value that sends out the idea that the audience is not just viewing a musical concert, but a full out visual performance. Here are some front ladies throughout the years who display exceptional tones and clothes alike.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin has always been a favourite of the 60’s with her eclectic attitude, vocal tone and the look to match. Feathers,bell sleeves, embroidery and velvet are all looks that the modern “boho chic” girl can thank Janis (one of the pioneers of this hippie-style look) for today! What is especially interesting in her onstage outfits, is her ability to create a care-free attitude while still showing off her creativity in attention to details.

Debbie Harry (Blondie)

A sensation in not only punk/new wave music of the 1970’s, but also in experimental fashion. Throughout her many years of performing, Blondie has managed to change her look with the times while still keeping key signature pieces in order to stay true to her image (this sparks my existential question asking exactly, WHO would Blondie be if she had brown hair?).She is the strangest and most wonderful mix of tough girl meets sophistication and maintains this standard today while she still rocks the stage.

Siouxsie Sioux

Another staple to the punk scene of the 1970’s is Siouxsie Sioux of “Siouxsie and the Banshees”. The English singer  stirred up quite a following for not only her shameless rebel behaviour but also for her looks that embody both punk and gothic backgrounds. Her bondage clothing and signature cat-eye makeup either left her audiences in fear or in envy.


Having made famous numerous looks throughout the years (including the mid-drift), Cher has inspired performers and fashion lovers alike to take risks and to be celebratory of the female body. Her outfits have been so iconic throughout the years that while many will wonder what a performer will play during their concert, a fan of Cher’s will be equally as curious when dreaming of what she will wear on stage. Just this year, Cher proved to all that she has not lost her fashion influence when she rocked it in a leather outfit at the Billboard Music Awards!

Tina Turner

Diva, Tina Turner has always been a performer that designers such as Giorgio Armani, Versace and Bob Mackie have loved to dress. This is likely due to her ability to showcase confidence and radiating appreciation for the masterpieces in which she has worn on stage. From mini dresses, plunging necklines and lingerie- nothing is too high or too low for Tina Turner to rock during a performance!

Gwen Stefani

A perfect blend between masculine patterns and items with feminine twists is how Gwen Stefani has made her look famous. Her constant plaid and Doc Martens have been a continuous way of giving a nod to her punk roots with her original band “No Doubt”, while her evolving makeup, hair, and flashy touches show off her desire to play with fashion and femininity!

Solange Knowles

Call me crazy, but given the choice between raiding any Knowles sister’s wardrobe, and Solange always wins. Her performance attire is always fashion forward and vibrant making her overall esthetic on stage truly something worth seeing. It’s as if the singer takes inspiration by whatever fabulous outfit she has on and allows it to fuel her powerful performances!

Lady Gaga

Of course the modern artist deserves recognition as one of the most fashionable performers of this age as well as of all time. This is because, Lady Gaga puts as much thought and effort into her wardrobe as she does with her carefully written out  musical pieces, and amazing performances. To Gaga,no show will be played without careful attention to her outfit matching the theme that she is setting. Each outfit that the singer wears, carefully embodies the message of her songs of the time as well as the feelings that should be conveyed while watching her.

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