Whoa! It’s been a pretty long time since I last wrote a GoR post, so I thought it was high time I kick this feature back into gear. I wanted to zero in on one of my favorite icons in modern pop music, the subversive Maya Arulpragasam, better known by her stage name: M.I.A.
This Sri Lankan songstress moved to London at a young age and immediately absorbed the art around her, letting the rest of her life gravitate around her desire to create art. Her debut album, Arular, was released in 2004 to plenty of fanfare from the indie set, who found her trademark style of rap and electronica to be a breath of fresh air. She came into the radar of mainstream approval with a 2008 single called Paper Planes, and has since been a figure of admiration and controversy. Her music has become synonymous with political symbolism and activism, with the video to her 2010 single, Born Free, igniting fury, praise, and dialogue.
Her style may be difficult to digest at first, immediately polarizing everyone exposed to it: much like her music, you either love it or hate it. She’s very much a walking and breathing representation of street style, with the style of designers like Jeremy Scott coming to mind. I think the world can do with more of her riotous and devil-may-care fashion sense, so I’ve been a fan since day one. M.I.A. just doesn’t care, which is one of the most appealing aspects of her personality! Here she is just KILLING IT with a performance at the 51st Grammy Awards in a Henry Holland dress, where she shared a stage with Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, T.I, and her 9 month-old foetus.
She was due to give birth anytime soon, but that was not going to stop her from performing. Her take-no-prisoners musical style bled over into her personal projects, so not content with moving in musical circles, M.I.A. has become a favorite among fashion bigwigs as well.
At the 2010 Met Ball with Alexander Wang and Zoe Kravitz. (Image source)
Now there are more ways of celebrating the force of nature that is M.I.A. In October 2013, she unleashed a capsule collection done in collaboration with Versus Versace. The entire collection is a little bit cheeky: in an interview with WWD, she mentions this:
“The theme of counterfeits, of those that produce and sell them, has always been part of the culture of M.I.A. When I was contacted by Versace, it seemed a great idea to invert the circle. Versace’s designs have always been copied, now it’s Versace that copies the copies, so those that copy must copy the copies. So this will continue.”
The M.I.A. x Versus Versace line includes bags and shoes and is available online, with prices in the women’s collection ranging from USD 195 for printed leggings and up to USD 4,395 for a shocking blue fur coat. Check out the corresponding fashion film to get more of a feel for the collection: