Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Beautiful Ones: Karen O

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a NYC rock trio fronted by a striking and charismatic frontwoman named Karen O.  The other two bandmembers are Nick Zinner and Brian Chase. Their music is an arty take on garage punk, slinky, sexy, and raucous. 

Frontwoman Karen O combines this arty, sexy, bold feel for her performances and in her style. Her mother is Korean and her father is Polish, giving her one of those faces that you can't quite place and wonder what her background is. Her style is probably best known for her very dark, straight hair, cut almost always with an eyelid-grazing fringe, although the length can vary from chin-length to shoulder-grazing and longer.  Another element to her look are her dark-ringed eyes, fair skin and red lips. 

It's a look that's exotic, retro, artistic and dramatic all at once. It's also distinctly feminine and sexy (red lips, eyeliner) with a hint of girlish androgyny (the bowl shape to her hair).

Karen wears a lot of black and red, so with her hair, skin, and make-up it is a very sleek, dramatic look. 

Below her outfit has a ska-feel: white t-shirt, black vest, braces (suspenders) and black and white checked trousers. A red belt and bright blue boots complete the look. 

Here she is photographed in a studded black leather dress and a black leather jacket lined in red.

Karen's clothes tend to have an 80s feel, and a not-shy combination of rocker and artist. Bright colours, bold patterns, strong shoulders, shiny fabrics and textiles.

At the 2009 premiere of the film 'Where the Wild Things Are', which Karen did the soundtrack for, she polished her look with a simple, quirky dress, a clutch and heels and went more glam than punk with liquid liner on her upper lashline only and red lips. Still rock & roll but distinctly more sophisticated.

As well known as Karen O is for her iconic liner, red lips and heavy fringe, she's also well known for her very creative makeup and stage costumes. 

Below she's got her black liner and red lips but also a pair of dramatic green false lashes on her lower lids.

Onstage and almost unrecognizable wearing feathers, white streaked hair and theatrical makeup.

Colourful eye makeup and red lips.

Bowie-esque face painting and red lips.

Tribal makeup and red lips.

Very dramatic orange and blue eye makeup and red lips. 

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs videos.

It's tough to tell what Karen's makeup in some of the videos and for the most part she sticks with her signature red lip and black liner, but adding perhaps a heavier eye or a graphic design around her eyes.

In the Cheated Hearts video featuring a compilation of videos of fans dressed and performing as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with footage of the real band intercut. The fan Karen Os are creative with their hair and makeup, but the real Karen has thin curving lines around her right eye and matte orange-red lips.

In the Gold Lion video, the band is covered in dirt and glitter. Karen's got black liquid eyeliner and glossy red lips on under the grit and her eyelashes are so coated in dirt that they look light brown. Later in the video her skin is clean.

In the Maps video, Karen, Nick and Brian perform in what looks like a high school gymnasium for a small group of people. Karen gives an emotional performance, her voice breaking through orange red lips and looking out through her fringe with smudgy dark eye makeup. 

In the Heads Will Roll video, the band plays in a dark club while a wolf man dances in an animalistic Michael Jackson-style. Karen wears a sparkley red and silver mini dress with a dramatic-shouldered plastic overlay and ankle boots. Her makeup is heavily lined black eyes and red lips. In some shots when her eyes are lowered you can see her dramatic false eyelashes.

In orange-red eye makeup pulled out across her face in a mask shape, Karen frolics with some creepy children in the hazily shot Y Control video. Her lips are nude and shimmery and her hair is cut in an asymmetrical bob.

At the start of the Zero video we see Karen applying makeup to her lower lashline deftly. It's a dark eye, but there's a bit of teal to it, to match her outfit. Her lips are matte and red. Gotta love a gal who knows what works for her!

For the band's latest album, Mosquito, Karen has a polished, masculine country glam look with brightly coloured, embellished suits and bleached blonde hair! The makeup is glam while still keeping with her defined eyes and red lips. With the tailored suits and blonde hair, Karen is looking much more glam but also a heck of a lot more badass rock & roll at the same time. 

Karen O - your artistic, kooky, creative, enigmatic, talented, badass, rock & roll muse. 

1 comment:

  1. Great photos! Love all her looks and she def rocks! i always love her sense in fashion.