Billie Eilish talks unconventional artistry
On a normal day, The VNYL Bar in Manhattan would be unassumingly empty, with soft music bouncing around a room filled with fine leather chairs and curated art. On Tuesday, Sept. 11, it was filled with dozens of screaming teenage girls, phones poised above their heads in hopes of taking a good photo of pop star Billie Eilish. In an event with Rolling Stone Style during New York Fashion Week, Eilish stopped by the bar to discuss the intersection of her fashion and music. Rolling Stone hosted two days of Style events, featuring artists such as Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee) and Zac Posen on Sept. 10, and Billie Eilish and Dillon Francis on Sept. 11.
Eilish sauntered onto the stage, wearing a black Tupac tee, chains and orange Nike Bred 1’s. Pulling her knees to her chest, she waved to the fans who screamed her name. Well-regarded in the music industry for her edgy, streetwear-heavy style choices, Eilish spoke casually about her untraditional fashion inspirations and interest in design. Only 16 years old and still a kid at heart, Eilish reflected on a trend she unintentionally started – making clothes out of blue Ikea bags. After refusing to wear a dress to Jared Leto’s party, Eilish had tapped into her creative side and turned function into fashion, making her ensemble out of the bag’s thick plastic. “I don’t want to wear something someone else has,” she said, “something that I could walk down the street and see everyone else wearing.” With an Instagram account filled with style shots, Eilish is no stranger to unique looks. She credited several of her fashion inspirations, including Bloody Osiris and Tyler, the Creator, who, she said, “created all of us.” She would later attend Calvin Klein’s NYFW showcase, emphasizing her excitement for the event.
Eilish, whose fan base has garnered sold-out tours and chart-topping tracks, reflected on her musical career and coping with sudden fame. Although often recognized for fashion, her distinct vocal style and age are two factors that play into her diverse fan base. Drawing inspiration from Studio Ghibli films, My Chemical Romance and The Strokes, Eilish’s style seems to sprawl across the board. She began writing music at 11 with “no expectations of a musical career,” only a few years before her first singles were released in 2016 – when the singer was just 14. Describing her success as “overwhelming and miserable,” Eilish recently collaborated with VMA-winning artist Khalid on the haunting track “lovely,” which was produced by Eilish’s brother, Finneas O’Connell.
Eilish’s music career has skyrocketed her to global stardom, appealing to a generation obsessed with love songs and the “aesthetic” of musicians they idolize. She is touring with Florence and the Machine at the end of the year, playing sold-out arenas for her newly pandemoniac fanbase. With an album in the works, EIlish will continue to surprise fans with new collaborations and heartbreaking lyrics, including a controversial rumored track about late friend XXXTentacion. Eilish’s interview with Rolling Stone Style gave fans a glimpse into her creative process and future endeavors, all while establishing her sometimes bleak truth behind the madness.