MELISSA AUF DER MAUR: Celebrity Skinny

A Spin Online Chat

Eat your hearts out rockboys, Spin Style Online had the good fortune to chat
with one of rock's most ravishing and stylish beauties, Hole's Melissa Auf der Maur.
Read on as stunning Melissa discusses why she actually felt
like an alien on the Malibu shores,
her attraction to rusty robots, walking the Parisian runway, and where she shops for lingerie
--oooh la la!

Spin Style Online: The thing I've always wanted to ask someone legitimately in an interview is
"What are you wearing?"

Melissa Auf der Maur: Right this second I'm wearing black Rebecca Dannenberg pants.

Rebecca Dannenberg?

Yeah she's an amazing New York woman who sells out of places
like Patricia Fields and Barney's, but she's a local designer
and she's so good to us. We wear her stuff in photo shoots all the time,
and she gives us stuff for free, which is very cool because most of the fashion people are very stingy.
People think that we should pay them or something and she's such a sweetheart to give us all of these clothes.
So really great Rebecca Dannenberg pants.

What else are you wearing?

A weird Italian designer with a very long complicated name that I'm not gonna name,
and a fancy black turtleneck sweater because I'm romanticizing about the fall in New York.

As you should be.

Yeah and my prize winning favorite leather jacket by a local
L.A. guy, who's just out of this world--Rick Owens. We sport a
lot of this stuff all the time too. In the new issue of Us magazine
they feature my style and I'm wearing an incredible Rick Owens dress.
Also I'm wearing very vintage, incredible '70s brown platform boots that I wear basically every
day of my life.

It sounds like you support a lot of undiscovered talent.

It's the same as the purity and excitement of small independent labels
and the whole wave of independent film. We should always have our hearts on the underground.
In the past few years I've been working with in-the-know stylists who have been
lucky enough to find really inspired, up-and-coming small designers. Basically before finding these small designers,
I just wore vintage because my whole philosophy is I want to wear something that other people don't have.
And the most incredible thing about vintage stuff is you know there's only a few
of those running around in the world. Just like these small designers--it's so special to wear clothes
other people can't get their hands on yet. But then I also want
to provide the support so that more people can get their hands on it.
There's totally innovative, new people doing things no one else is doing yet.

It's like that with art, film, and music too--you want to sort
of be on that edge, but it's such a precarious edge because as
soon as they begin to do well everyone's on the bandwagon.

I think it's a good thing that they get out there and they start
spreading their talents to a wider audience but then it's my job to keep looking for the next small one. And the same
goes for music. Of course I want the same bands that I liked five years ago that nobody liked to be loved and appreciated now,
but I like to keep up on the newcomers.

So where do you generally shop outside of designers?

Mostly I go to small stores that carry local designers.

Where do you shop for practical things?

I don't wear anything practical. [Laughs]. Sometimes I buy little boys
undershirts at K-Mart, but generally in L.A. for all my lingerie needs I go to Trashy Lingerie,
which is like the headquarters for all LA strippers. They have the hottest
underwear and bras.

I was watching the MTV Fashion Awards and you were seventh on
the top ten best dressed people list.

That's a weird one. I guess it's all just happening recently. US
magazine just did that feature on my style and I thought it was weird
because it's like I've been in this band for four years and it took that long for US magazine or MTV to pick
up on the fact that I'm fashionable? Why hasn't Paper or Interview been interested in me?
It took like the mainstream weirdos to notice that I was fashionable
so it's kind of weird, sort of a delayed reaction, but it's a

Have you been dressing the same for the past four years?

Yeah. Like I said, the local designer thing has been an advancement in my style.
I guess before I used to be more vintage--suede skirts.
I had kind of a '70s thing which got kind of tired but I still apply it
to my overall kind of style.

Were you happy with the Spin feature and cover?

Sure. It's a little beach-y, Malibu for me. Like, I'm a Northeast, urban girl.
I grew up in Montreal and New York is my second favorite city.
This whole experience of having made a California record and having to move to L.A. for it, all of it is not very up my alley.
Except I've been having a kick just trying to explore that--
I mean, Eric and Courtney are way more about that, with their little Baywatch posters.
Like Eric trying to be an ironic surf guy.
He did grow up with those guys but he was too tall and skinny and pale to really fit in.
And I like the idea of redefining the California girl, but I mean, I felt like an alien on the beach.
Red hair and white skin.

I guess with your coloring, you can't really go in the sun, so
you're more towards the Goth end of the spectrum.

I guess I'm more towards the living in wine bars in a good European urban city.
Actually, I don't smoke anymore, but um, drinking red wine in little old man bars is more my style.

As a redhead, with freckles and fair skin are there certain colors
you can't wear or that you have to wear?

I have to point out that I was born on St. Patrick's Day and that both my parents
have black hair and that I came out redheaded and pale. I mean I have lots of Irish in my blood,
so it makes sense, but the redhead gene is a completely schizophrenic,
chaotic DNA thing that makes no sense at all. They just come up whenever.
There's no predicting it. Scientists can't pin it down.
So it's always been kind of a big hang-up of mine. When I was a kid,
I thought it was gross. And I was like, "I wanna be like everyone else.
Please take away this red hair." But then throughout the years,
I realized it was special. Someone gave me--I think a makeup
artist--this scientific explanation that our pigment is f***ed up
and something we have reacts weird to the sun so freckles are the reaction. Sometimes if I'm on mushrooms
or something and I look in the mirror, I look green and I feel
like there's major yellow. The moral of the story is that
supposedly redheads have a wider color spectrum in their skin.
There's green, blue, purple, and brown in my skin so supposedly
we can wear more colors than most people.

Talk about celebrity skin! I have a friend who's a redhead and
she always says that autumn is "her time."

Oh, yeah. I tend to wear brown, gold, copper, rust, and in terms of the fall
being our time, of course with the leaves changing.
I've always been kind of attracted to rusty robots.

What was the last thing that you bought?

I got a new camera. A weird Czechoslovakian camera called a Lomo.
It's old as in it was big in the '50s and they reissued it recently, like in the past ten years,
so it's like a new version of an old and weird camera.

Are their any designers who've approached you about becoming
their "face"?

I just did a show for one of my other favorite designers,
Olivier Suskind. He's from Belgium, he's a young guy, he's like
22, and he makes the most incredible clothes. I've worn a bunch of his stuff on different occasions.
I did his show in Paris.

You did the runway? How was that?

An experience, but I definitely don't ever want to do it again. They gave me long,
slick black hair and I wore these crazy--he does these really weird deconstructed Victorian, big, ruffled gowns--
50 pound hoop skirt made out of a potato sack with no shirt but just this black hair covering my breasts.
They were incredibly weird clothes and I had to strut down the runway like I was mad. I had all these French guys telling me,
"Pretend you're angry. Don't hold back." And I'd never done it before. One of the models who I think is the most
amazing looking is that redhead, Karen Elssen, and she was in the show and I was like,
"What? I'm walking down the runway with this girl? I don't think so."
It was fun. I just did it to pay my respects to him. I would never do it for anyone.

Do you have a newly found respect for what models do?

I have more compassion. You really don't have to use your brain,
but you stand there for hours and hours and all you have to
do is remember what number you are on the walkway. The whole time they were like,
"You can't forget your number." So I was like, "23, 42, 23, 42." And this is all you
have to do with your brain all day.

It must make you more of an airhead.

It's definitely not the funnest thing other than the fact that
you get to wear these incredible clothes. It's literally about the hair guy,
the makeup guy, and the clothes. That's all it is.
At least when I do that on our photo shoots there's some bigger purpose for me caring about how
my hair looks if I'm trying to sell a record or express my personality in a video or something like that.
But when you're really doing it for someone else I can't
quite imagine it. Maybe it's the same as being an actor.
You're not being yourself but trying to project somebody else's personality--it's weird.

When you did your walk down the runway, did you do the whole stop and spin thing? Did you vogue?

I didn't do what you're supposed to. They wanted us to be a little more post- apocalyptic,
angry, not Glam at all.. I just walked really fast and angry.
Olivier said I was his favorite, but that was just him being nice.

What about the clothes for your videos? We work with great stylists
--Sarah Hackiss and Arianne Thorpe--
and they know what my taste is. Every couple of photo shoots there'll be
a different designer, but otherwise I always bring my stable of clothes. I ultimately of course pick it,
but we have other people presenting us with options, which is nice.
Do you and Courtney give each other advice and do the girl thing with your clothes?

Since we've been promoting this record, there's been a little bit of it.
Because we have the same stylist we get some of the same stuff.
We're kind of trying not to be twins but at the same time, we want to have a unified [look].
We end up having similar taste and because we have access to similar
designers we kind of discuss how we can have a running theme or thread throughout
our style without dressing the same.

Do you ever, by accident, end up wearing the same thing?

Sometimes. But I think we have such different looks that even if we were
wearing the same thing, we wouldn't look the same.

Do you have guys coming up to you all the time?

I don't know. I have more little girls coming up to me telling me I'm cool than I do guys,
that's for sure. The young girls are real loyal fans of this band.

Why do you think that is?

Because we're girls, we're older, we're big sisters. Young girls.
Yeah, those are the main ones in terms of who our audience is. Guys don't talk to me much.
I had one guy come up to me recently and say, "I've never seen you live in person,
I can't believe it." It was my first experience with some guy that's going,
"My God, I'm star-struck." I was like, "Really? I'm always at this bar."