Odd Young Things: Britain's latest style tribe

Amol Rajan
Tuesday 08 April 2008 00:00

It is hard to think of anyone in British public life less connected to glamour and style than Bill Oddie. But this has not prevented the corduroy-clad ornithologist's daughter from being declared a fashion icon by one of the country's leading society publications.

Rosie Oddie, 22, has been voted one of the five most original dressers in Britain by the magazine Harper's Bazaar, defying the dotty and rather dowdy image of her father. She has been deemed a "senior luxe eccentric" – the label "reserved for Britain's most imaginative style tribe" – alongside the socialite Daphne Guinness, cross-dressing Turner Prize-winner Grayson Perry, fashion empress Amanda Harlech and Cambridge architecture student Paloma Gormley, daughter of Angel of the North sculptor Antony Gormley.

All five were photographed for the magazine's latest issue. Oddie and Gormley pose together, distinguished from their fellow icons not just because of their celebrated fathers, but also because of their relative youth and fashion eccentricity.

Miss Oddie,the lead singer of upcoming indie band The Odd Squad, recently turned to touring London's pub and club circuit after showcasing her sultry voice and acoustic riffs at the 02 Wireless Festival last year.

Speaking yesterday from Berlin, where she is attending a city-wide Arts festival, she said: "I think it's just the most ridiculous thing. Obviously I'm flattered, but don't associate myself with that kind of clothing elitism. I do think a lot about what I wear and obviously think it's important to be confident in how I dress. But I find the idea of being a 'luxe eccentric' – whatever that means – very intimidating."

She added: "When I set out to craft my appearance I'm basically thinking about David Bowie and glam-rock. I don't like complicated dress senses; I'm much more about keeping things simple and then glamming up using glitter and face-paint and the like. Not so much standard accessories as accessorising my body."

Described as Britain's "most fearless style tribe" with "a bold style all of their own", Oddie and her fellow elite dressers are renowned socialites.But the seductive ostentation of the luxe eccentric is a world away from the bespectacled curiosity of Rosie's father, Bill, who is better known for his binoculars and comedy acting.

"I am my father's daughter, and that's how it will always be," she said. "I'll never hide behind my name but I try not to make a big deal out of it, because people always find out eventually. My dad absolutely loves what I'm doing and loves the fact that I enjoy it so much. He's been incredibly supportive of my career, having done so much music himself when he was young, especially in The Goodies [the series broadcast in the 1970s and 1980s, for which he wrote the music]".

Gormley, 22, who is in her second year of seven at Jesus College, Cambridge, said her style was a "pick'n'mix assemblage of stolen identities". She said: "I like being playful. It makes leaving the house more interesting."

The other Luxe Eccentrics

Daphne Guinness

Heiress to the Guinness family fortune and a film producer in her spare time. Described in Harper's as a woman whose "capacity for unfettered fantasy matches – or even exceeds – that of the designers she adores, from Chanel to Alexander McQueen".

Grayson Perry

The infamous cross-dresser has cultivated a sophisticated, highly stylised alter-ego named Claire. Awarded the Turner Prize in 2003, he was the first public transvestite, and the first ceramic artist, to be bestowed with the honour.

Amanda Harlech

Horsewoman, novelist, society beauty, former muse of John Galliano – Harlech, 44, is also a photographer and designer in her own right.

Paloma Gormley

The 22-year-old daughter of the sculptor Antony Gormley, Paloma is studying architecture at Cambridge. She has shown early entrepreneurial promise, converting a disused shop in Cambridge's Jesus Lane into an arts space hosting talks and exhibitions.

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