BELLE IN BLACK
Tyson Beckett gets a tour through the wardrobe of Ngāpuhi singersongwriter Erny Belle.
Stuff NZ Newspapers
PŪERU / FASHION
Aimee Renata’s music may be continually shaped by everyday life in Aotearoa, but Renata, who releases under the stage moniker Erny Belle, cites much more far-flung references when quizzed on her sartorial influences. There are theatrical flourishes, references to European nobility and nautical silhouettes. After independently releasing her debut album, Venus Is Home to wide acclaim in February last year, Erny Belle signed to Flying Nun Records in November. At the end of the month she will take to the stage in Tāmaki Makaurau/ Auckland as part of St Jerome’s Laneway Festival. Her alt-folk and pop musical stylings have been described as shifting “steadfastly from sweet and earnest, to dark and satirical” and such dichotomy is present in her approach to dressing off and on stage. “Sometimes I feel like shape-shifting. I can’t stick to one vibe. I’ll accidentally end up wearing something really whack to the supermarket or someplace because I find it comical.” DRESSING IS RITUALISTIC AND EXPRESSIVE, or protective, of how I’m feeling. I need to feel sure of my garb when I leave the house. If I feel I’ve put myself together all wrong and I’m out, it affects my mood entirely. I CAN BE VERY PARTICULAR AND INTENSE when it comes to dressing. Getting dressed can be chaotic. I can be indecisive and scattered about how the clothes make me feel. I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO CREATE SOMEWHAT OF A UNIFORM for myself to create ease and order. I should give myself more time to gently piece myself together but it always ends in a whirlwind. THE MAJORITY OF THE TIME I WEAR A LOT OF BLACK, maybe that could come across as wanting to be taken seriously. It’s like I have a closet full of tangihanga (funeral) wear. I TRY TO KEEP THINGS CLASSIC. I look ridiculous when I wear what’s in fashion. I’VE ALWAYS LOVED LONG COATS AND TRENCHES, loose or cinched at the waist. They make me feel authoritative, or like a count. I LOVE MIXING PIECES that are soft, like puffed sleeves, white cotton, lace, with uniformed looks like that of a sailor, straight-legged trousers, tailored jackets, big boots. I’M INSPIRED BY BALLERINAS AND DANCE WEAR for casual, wraparound black knit with tights and cosy thick socks for around the house. I HAVE RECENTLY BEEN INSPIRED BY old Hollywood Broadway dancers. A skirted leotard with stockings and laced shoes, not something I’d wear out usually. MY PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL WARDROBES don’t differ too much. It would be, let’s wear what I would normally to an event but add a veil or big earrings. I ALWAYS WEAR my mother’s gold and heart-shaped diamond engagement ring when I play live for good luck. CONSIDERATIONS I MAKE WHEN CHOOSING ONSTAGE OUTFITS INCLUDE: can I get my guitar strap over this headpiece, will it get caught on the fabric of my top half, does it suit the aesthetic of the venue? I HAVE FOUR DIFFERENT COLOURS OF Emma Jing’s silk scrunchies, they’re almost like a contemporary veil. I love head pieces that can be worn any time, anywhere, any day.