From the Wall Street Journal:
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week always saves the biggest shows for last, and tonight’s Spring 2011 finale was no exception, as Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. show thrilled the hip, over-capacity crowd with a multimedia spectacular closer in feel to a major rock concert than a runway presentation.
To a throbbing soundtrack which included M.I.A., Sean Paul and a heavy ska and rocksteady influence, Stefani sent a series of largely black-and-white, flounced and draped dresses down the runway, accessorized with fedoras and oversized white handbags. The collection also featured parachute-style pants and shorts paired with midriff tops, with splashes of vivid reggae-dancehall-style prints.
Stefani’s husband and Bush lead singer Gavin Rossdale, their son Kingston, No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal, Interscope founder Jimmy Iovine, Blondie’s Debbie Harry, R&B singer Omarion and Spice Girl Mel B watched from the front row of L.A.M.B., which is an acronym of the title of Stefani’s 2004 debut solo album, “Love.Angel.Music.Baby.” Stefani took her curtain call to No Doubt’s “Hey Baby.”
No Doubt began work in May on their anticipated sixth album, its first since 2001’s “Rock Steady.” We asked Stefani and Kanal, in separate interviews, about the new album, the show’s soundtrack, and the fashion influence of the Sex Pistols.
The Wall Street Journal: What can you tell us about the new No Doubt album?
Gwen Stefani: We’ve been working on it most of the year. We’re all having a lot of fun together in the studio and it’s a great record we’re making. There’s still a lot more work to do on it. It’s been a bit of a snail’s pace but it’s going to be worth it.
Your L.A.M.B. collections always seem to be influenced by music from different periods. What music inspired you this season?
Stefani: I just want it to be good; I just want to wear it myself – that’s the main inspiration! But there are a lot of tribal and dancehall themes this time.
In prior seasons, you’ve used red tartan plaids similar to Vivienne Westwood’s punk designs for the Sex Pistols. Is she an influence?
Stefani: I am very, very inspired by her. Yeah, I love her.
How’s the new album coming along?
Tony Kanal: It’s great. We haven’t wrapped it yet. We have about nine ideas and we’re just moving along and it feels amazing. Honestly, we’re having the best time of our lives.
What’s it like getting back together after nine years?
Kanal: Is it nine years? 2001 – you’re absolutely right! Wow, I’m impressed! The thing is, we’ve been hanging out and doing other stuff together and families growing so it doesn’t really feel like we’ve been apart. All of our families hang out. The babies are here tonight. And musically, it’s just amazing.
Tell me about some of the influences in the new album.
Kanal: Obviously the ‘80’s, since we grew up then. A lot of Jamaican influences coming in, as well.
A lot of ska and reggae? We can only hope…
Kanal: [Laughing] Yes, definitely. Lots and lots.
Which producers have you been working with?
Kanal: So far, we’re just writing. So we’ve been doing it ourselves. Our producer is Spike Stent [their longtime producer].
Do you have a title or drop date yet?
Kanal: No, it’s way too early.