C'mon feel the Noisettes

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The Independent Culture

Style icons rarely make good pop stars, but pop stars can make magnificent style icons.

Think Debbie Harry, Siouxsie Sioux, Bjork, Beth Ditto. Even La Winehouse has been appropriated by the fashion crowd. Step forward, then, the latest maven of cool: Shingai Shoniwa, front woman of the indie-pop trio Noisettes, seen here relaxing in her dressing room before the first night of the band's tour. Previous Shoniwa sartorial statements have included Ziggy Stardust make-up and Davy Crockett-style fur hats. For this small club in Brighton , the singer eventually decides to sport an embroidered jacket complete with Thatcher-era shoulder pads and a daffodil-yellow jumpsuit that would make the cast of Blake's 7 blush. Charmingly yet inexplicably, she has a zebra on her lapel.

If Shoniwa's fashion sense is on the wild side, the same can be said for her gigs. Harking back to her previous career in a circus troupe, Shoniwa bounces off the speaker stacks, tiptoes on the drum kit and orchestrates band and crowd like a seasoned ringmaster. The audience fall at her feet – quite literally, when she instructs them to sit on the floor for an acoustic number. As anyone who lived through the Eighties knows, you don't argue with a lady in shoulder pads.