A few years ago I was in Nashville with my teenage daughter when we saw a man taping hand-written flyers to telephone poles. “No Doubt — Free Concert — Noon Tomorrow,” it read, which made us laugh because obviously some tribute band with sloppy handwriting was trying to cash in on the global superstar band’s name.
But to satisfy our curiosity, we swung by the parking lot of the Hard Rock Cafe next day to see the imposters. And there she was: GWEN, resplendent in her usual thrift shop ensemble, leaping on speaker columns, pogoing like a demon and singing like an angel for two hours to an unpaying crowd of about 2,000 pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming fans.
To answer the obvious WTF question: a No Doubt gig scheduled for Pittsburgh the same day had been cancelled due to weather problems, the band was on the road anyways, some quick calls were made, and the tour bus doubled back to Nashville for a hastily arranged freebie for diehard fans. That explains the shoddy posters but not the no-consequences performance, which surely must rank among No Doubt’s best (the ad hoc appearance even got a write-up in Rolling Stone).
The moral of the story? Never, ever doubt — pardon the pun — Gwen Stefani.
That goes for the rocker/designer’s newest gig, a one-off underwear collaboration with the stretch lace stalwart Hanky Panky. The L.A.M.B. x Hanky Panky collection went on sale about an hour ago, so if your Internet crashed today you’ll know who to blame.
There are four style ranges in the must-have collection, each of which references some aspect of Gwen’s tribal-fusion music and fashion careers. Each offers a few options in briefs and bralettes, plus a few goodies that are specific to each range.
The Old School Old English grouping is based on the original typeface for both No Doubt and the L.A.M.B. clothing line, with the words “Love Angel Music Baby” in the print design. Watch for this set to fly off the shelves.
The Rasta set, billed as a salute to Gwen’s ska and reggae roots, is an all-black range in jersey modal, with initial “L” mongorammed in gold lettering.
The Geo range is a nod to Gwen’s vintage fashion tastes, featuring a stylized Art Deco print; look for the thong-back teddy.
Finally, the Lambie Camo set has the cutest name and brightest color pop, with pink, grey, white and fluorescent yellow blending in the camo print. It includes a hi-rise retro thong and a cropped cami that is probably going to get a lot of outerwear exposure this season.
Taken as a whole, this a safe but very market-friendly collection that will appeal to a wide range of customers and enhance Hanky Panky’s reputation for delivering extremely savvy collaborations.
Beyoncé, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga may get all the attention these days for leading the music-fashion revolution, but Gwen preceded them by almost 20 years with her melting pot of street-smart clich—s in both areas of endeavor. Today, she remains one of the few performers — alongside Madonna and Victoria Beckham — who has been successful in translating her personal style ethos into a consumer-friendly brand.
A L.A.M.B. underwear range is long overdue, and very welcome. Just ask the fans.
NOTE: Access to the collection is currently restricted to customers who signed up for early access; the online shop should be open to everyone tomorrow. And check Hanky Panky’s Facebook page for a contest offering a $500 shopping spree.