AS SHE GETS READY TO RELEASE HER THIRD STUDIO ALBUM, LILY ALLEN COZIES UP WITH V'S EDITOR-AT-LARGE TO DISCUSS MUMMYHOOD, FASHION, AND FEMALE ANATOMY
Derek Blasberg Last night we had dinner and you were wearing shoes that lit up. Where did you get those?
Lily Allen I went to a show of a designer named Ashish [Gupta], whom I love. He did a collaboration with Buffalo, and created these shoes that have flash-up lights in the soles. I saw them and was like, “I need those.” So I went backstage and literally pounced on the floor, looking underneath all of the rails trying to find which ones fit me.
DB And since you’re Lily Allen, you can just take them?
LA I made it so awkward that they couldn’t do anything but let me.
DB Do you like dipping into the fashion world?
LA I’m not really a big fashion show person. I go to the Chanel show in Paris because they invite me and give me free clothes. I went to Henry Holland’s show because he is a friend of mine and it’s nice to show support.
DB Is there a relationship between your music and your fashion?
LA The two are intertwined for everyone. Style and music have always gone hand in hand. But in my case, I’m not really into one specific type of music, so maybe that’s why I dress completely different all the time.
DB When you first started making music, when your song “Smile” went number one, I would have said your style was super influential. In fact, you and I went to Chanel’s couture show together in January, and it was all couture dresses with tennis shoes. That was your look.
LA That was a big moment for me, I guess. But I stumbled upon that look—no pun intended—because I thought I was too young to have high heels.
DB How old were you when you started doing that?
LA Twelve? Thirteen? I have an older sister so I had her hand-me-down dresses, and I always just liked sneakers when I was a teenager. Like for warehouse raves. You can’t have heels in that kind of situation.
DB What did you wear to a warehouse rave?
LA Baggy trousers with fluorescent underwear and little Nike bra tops.
DB Talk to me about your new album, amazingly called Sheezus.
LA I started writing it when my oldest child was eight months old and she was quite sick. She needed lots of one-to-one care. I had no intention of coming back to music and recording at all.
LA I was kind of done with it. I was tired from touring and from the lifestyle. She was pretty sick and it took a lot of energy from me, as it would any mum. By the time she got better I thought, I’ve got to do something else in the daytime. Then I realized I’m not going to law school. I only have the qualifications to be a pop star.
DB Fall back on that then! What is your creative process like?
LA I write in the studio. I don’t prepare anything ever.
DB So you walk into the studio unprepared. With nothing.
LA It’s really inappropriate. Most people come in there like, “I’ve got a song, let’s record it.” But then once I’ve got it, it takes about half an hour to write the whole song.
DB Sheezus is a good name. My favorite thing about you is your irreverence with just about everything. There is always a sense of humor and a sense of irony.
LA Well, I have to amuse myself. I think that if you only see things in terms of an endgame and you’re really careerist, you’re only going to end up disappointed. Because it does end. So you have to have a sense of humor about it. I don’t really have, like, goals. I’m just really happy and lucky that I’ve been able to do what I’ve been able to do and not take it too seriously.
DB I will never forget when you showed me the video for “Hard Out Here,” which has those giant balloons in the background that read, “LILY HAS A BAGGY PUSSY.” I was speechless.
LA That video was referencing a whole load of other videos. That was a riff on that Robin Thicke video, the one that had the balloons that said he had a big dick. The director thought it would be funny if we got the same balloons and said that I had a big dick. But I said, “Hmm, that’s not really funny. Let’s say I have a baggy pussy.” And he just looked at me like I had ten heads.
DB Do people look at you like that often?
Sheezus is available in May from Warner Bros. Records/Parlophone
Photography Alex Franco Fashion Hanna Kelifa Location Chiltern Firehouse, London Special thanks Lucy McIntyre and Ian Telford