(Photo by Shervin Lainez)
Every summer, shoe designer Steve Madden throws an intimate series of concerts in New York City—a showcase of some of the best up-and-coming vocal talents in the country along with a heavy dose of great all-American style. Last week, the soul-packed powerhouse of six-man band Delta Rae wowed the crowd at Madden's latest show.
The ladies of Delta Rae are known for their rich, soulful fusion of bluegrass and pop, not to mention their hauntingly beautiful, dark music video costumes. So we were pretty much beside ourselves when we got the chance to catch up with the leading ladies of the group, Brittany Holljes and Liz Hopkins.
The girls took some time out of touring for their new album, Carry the Fire, to chat with us about don't-mess-with-me shoes, how they plan their stage style (Hint: Brittany dies for leather!) and Liz's love for all things sparkly.
(Photo courtesy of Steve Madden) Brittany wears BABYLYN-L in Leopard, and Liz wears AMPLIFYD in Green Snake, both by Steve Madden.
StyleBistro: Since we're here to celebrate the Steve Madden Music Summer Concert Series, tell us why you love the shoes you chose for tonight.
Liz: I picked mine out because they are bright green and make me think about the ocean. I find them to be very beachy. They’re also peep-toe, they’re very summery, and I just love them. I envisioned pairing them with black and thought they’d add a good pop of color to my outfit.
Brittany: I'm doing some pretty intense leopard-print pumps, and I’m so excited about the height on them. I love it! I picked these out because they’re fierce, and I love earthy tones. Sometimes that’s limited. I get a little anxious about wearing a crazy color, but you can still rock a crazy, fierce shoe in an earth tone. And that just happens to be leopard print.
StyleBistro: Um, those really are incredibly high! How tall are they?
Brittany: They’re about 5½ to 6 inches tall. They’re a solid shoe.
StyleBistro: So, how tall does that make you?
Brittany: In these, I’m at about 5’11.” I could live like this.
StyleBistro: You know, some girls are afraid to rock a mega-high heel, especially if they’re already tall. What’s your advice on wearing super-steep shoes?
Brittany: Oh my God, you have to wear whatever you feel like you’re the hottest in. You cannot shy away from a high heel. When dudes look at you, they’re not immediately like, “Oh, that girl is tall.”
They’re like, “Daaamn look at those legs!” They’re more likely to think that especially when you’re wearing some high, high heels. Or you know, go half way. Rock a mean wedge.
StyleBistro: While we're on the topic of sexy shoes, what do you think is the one must-have that every girl needs?
Liz: I think a nude heel—a nude pump—that’s very high is something every girl should have because it extends your legs, and it goes with any outfit. It can go with jeans, it can go with a skirt, it can go with a dress. It dresses everything up.
Brittany: For me, the hottest shoe is like a sort of dominatrix strappy black high heel. It doesn’t have to be a stiletto; I just love laces and straps. I think that looks so cool to have your leg locked into a shoe, and it makes you feel like you could take over the world.
StyleBistro: Can you tell us how you go about choosing the wardrobes for your videos?
Liz: Well, Brit definitely did the wardrobe for “Bottom of the River.”
Brittany: Yes, so that’s our video that has the witch trial. It’s kind of scary. That one I was able to pick out pieces that looked old, that looked period, but had a modern twist.
Our most recent video was on the Warner Sound, and we did a medley. We were all wearing pretty awesome items. Liz loves sparkles, so she was rocking a sequin top. She’s girly in the best of ways, but she can also kick it with the dudes, so she was rocking some jeans and fierce shoes, no doubt.
I was in these very cool shorts that had daisy applique and a flowy black top. When you’re a singer, one thing that’s hard to wear is a very restricting top. You have to be able to use your diaphragm the way we sing. You can’t see the stomach expansion happening under that shirt, but it’s working itself out under there.
I think the way that we go about picking out our outfits is really just about capturing some part of our personality. Like stepping out of the group, because the group is so important to our band. We have four lead singers, and everyone has their own personality. But it’s the group dynamic that I think people are really attracted to. There’s no lead singer, there’s no one focus. Everybody really has their own thing going on.
Liz: Picking out our outfits has become kind of a cool process. It’s been a struggle in the past.
Brittany: But it’s also just a constant dialogue. Like, “What do these shoes say about me?” “What do these shoes that I’m wearing right now say about me?” And my shoes right now? They say I can kick your ass.
(Photo courtesy of Steve Madden) Delta Rae performs for the Steve Madden Music Summer Concert Series on July 18 in New York City.
StyleBistro: What about when you guys are on stage? What’s the personality you’re trying to showcase when you’re getting dressed?
Brittany: You know, it’s evolved for me. I think at this point I’m interested in people not only seeing that I’m confident, but also feeling confident in me. You have to be careful with what you wear on stage because so much can go wrong. A wardrobe malfunction on stage is like the worst. Then everybody’s distracted for the show.
So I like wearing something that I feel locked into, where’s it just like no one can touch me. Sometimes it’s like a suit of armor. We’re so vulnerable in what we’re singing and what we’re saying on stage, my outfit has to just be a little bit tough. And I don’t want to say flawless, because it’s not about looking perfect, but I don’t want anyone to be distracted. I want people to be able to focus on the music.
Liz: I always like to be a little bit beachy on stage. I’m from California, and I try to take the beach with me everywhere I go. I like to have something that’s urban and something that’s beachy pretty much at all time. Urban mermaid is kind of the way I like to feel on stage. It makes me feel very free and that allows me to just give my 150 percent to every song that we sing.
Brittany is fierce on-stage and off in this pleated leather dress, and Liz has the California girl look down pat with her voluminous beachy waves.
StyleBistro: What about when you’re off the stage? If we spotted you on the street, what would you be kicking it in?
Brittany: I love AG Jeans. Ella Moss dresses are so soft and comfortable. Splendid tees and Diesel jeans are awesome. And I for sure kick it in Steve Maddens, even in my casual wear. Basically if you see me on the road, I love me a good pair of short shorts and a breezy top, you know, really good road wear. That or a maxi dress probably.
Liz: I have JOE’S Jeans that I wear all of the time. I also have some Steve Madden wedges that are brown and go with everything that I wear. I have a summer dress from GAP that I’ve been living in ever since I bought it about three weeks ago. And a lot of denim shorts with wedges and casual T-shirts.
Brittany: I also love a good pair of combat boots. I love to rock out in combat boots, short shorts and a wife beater, too. Again it’s more of that I-can-kick-your-ass style. The way that I would describe my style on stage and, really in everyday, is leather and lace. It’s got the badass part, and it’s got the feminine part.
StyleBistro: Liz, you said you loved sparkles earlier and your sparkly nail polish is just ah-mazing! We have to know what it is…
Liz: This is In the Spotlight by Sally Hansen. You can put it on top of any undercoat. I put it on top of a black, but you can also just do several coats of In the Spotlight and it looks like a bunch of broken mirrors being reflected into a disco ball, which blows my mind. I love it!
Liz shows off her sparkly tips for us. We love how the shimmery top coat pops against the matte black backdrop.
StyleBistro: And finally, where can fans go to keep tabs on your looks, plus find out more info on the band?
Brittany: If you want to see some of our style, and our nails and our shoes, which we’re constantly talking about, you can follow us on Twitter @DeltaRae. My personal Twitter is @BrittanyHellYes. And Liz’s personal Twitter is @BatSparkles. You’ll get pictures of nails and sparkly things for sure!
We also have a new album out called Carry the Fire, and that’s what we’re touring on right now. That’s our excuse for wearing all these fabulous things!
Here's me with Liz and Brittany after the show. They totally killed it!
Like they really need an excuse, right? If you like their style and love their sound (um, we certainly do!) be sure to check out Brittany, Liz and the guys of Delta Rae on tour now!