Style Insider: Watercolours

Local rising star Watercolours is the musical moniker of Chelsea Jade Metcalf, a stylish solo artist who is the current muse for clothing brand Liam. Watercolours will be gracing the Thunderdome stage at Laneway Festival on Monday and is an opening act for Lorde’s Silo Park show. Fashion Quarterly’s Rosie Kelway caught up with her to talk style, shopping and her favourite local and international labels.

Chelsea Jade Metcalf
How would you describe your style?
An Olympic gymnast representing the Amish. Slick hair, puritanical skirt lengths – but occasionally severe and skin tight.

Who designed the outfit(s) you will be wearing onstage at Laneway?
Emily Miller-Sharma of Liam has concocted a small wardrobe that keeps with the concepts of my next EP that I can select from – I think I’ll be sporting a black suit plucked from there.

What do you like to wear when you are performing?
I like my limbs to feel as unfettered as possible because I’ve started to move more. For that reason, I generally wear tailored trousers as part of a monochromatic uniform.

Who are your style icons?
At the moment, brutalist architecture is feeling really informative – the Barbican complex in London is a good example. It probably wouldn’t appeal as heavily if it wasn’t peppered with overgrown plants and water ways but it makes me think of the future and how things look better aged and experiencing their own unique eco-system.

What can you tell us about your upcoming Liam x Watercolours collaboration?
I went to Emily with a conceptual framework based on a group of songs I’ve been working on and she drew from both her archives and a new set of ideas to come up with a wearable interpretation of my next record. There is an incredible dress that I almost think of as an attempt at a puritan wetsuit – floor length and turtle-necked with a sheer body for my song Night Swimmer.

Chelsea Jade Metcalf wears a custom-made Liam dress for her unreleased music video Night Swimmer.  Photo by Karen Ishiguro.

Chelsea Jade Metcalf wears a custom-made Liam dress for her unreleased music video Night Swimmer. Photo by Karen Ishiguro.

How important is your wardrobe to you?
It’s completely integral for me to have a uniform. I want to know that it serves and adds to the performance but I also don’t want to be fretting about it when I could be fretting over whether I programmed the right drum sample on the right pad.

How do you shop?
Sparingly. Actively shopping just gives me heartache over what I can’t have. I wade longingly through

Favourite local labels?
Liam, Ruby, Miss Crabb, Georgia Alice, Georgia Pratt. There’s a local collective called Arrange surfacing every now and again, brimming with formidable talent.

Favourite international labels?
I’m a sucker for the sleek. Celine, Jil Sander, Balenciaga, The Row. They basically all give me minor heart palpitations.

The best piece of style advice you’ve been given?
“Wear it until it dies on you” – Soph Burn from The Veils.

What’s your most memorable purchase?
When I was in London last year I bought a black cape-like coat that totally swallows you up. I had travelled over with a naïve notion of their spring temperatures and when I finally found that coat to combat the cold, the shop assistant quietly held out it for me to put it on instead of bagging it. He must have heard my teeth chattering when I walked in.

What is the perfect item you are still searching for?
A leather backpack that will happily fit my laptop, a book and a Moleskine.

What’s on your wish list now?
A Georgia Pratt grey marl dressing gown coat.

Whose style do you admire?
Carmen San Diego purely because she remained elusive for so long. You’ve got to give adequate credit to that consistent hat/trench combo.