Bennie Reilly has been one of our biggest style crushes for years and we were lucky enough to sit down and interview this effortlessly cool lady for our latest Style File. The reality is that Bennie makes fashion look easy and sexy, and for that we salute her. Find out more below about how Bennie, singer for Little Xs For Eyes and incredible artist, approaches her look…
1. Style plays an important role in how we present ourselves to the world. How would you describe your style?
“My style is pretty simple, comfortable but cute. I’m not super trendy, my wardrobe has a foundation of very simple items – jeans, blouses and cardies mostly – but I’ll mix in some vintage pieces and unusual jewelry to give it a bit of pizzazz.”
2. What are some of your vintage pieces you’ve bought over the years?
“Whenever I’ve been lucky enough to visit New York I’ve taken a trip to The Beacon’s Closet in Williamsburg where lots of my most cherished vintage possessions have been found. On my very first trip there ten years ago I bought a green and blue striped, woven top that I still adore and remains in amazing condition considering how much wear it gets. Another piece, a burgundy corduroy bolero with a lace collar and shoulder pads, doesn’t get as much wear, it’s a bit too fancy, but I love it and love imagining who owned it before me.” (Check out our blog on Williamsburg vintage here: http://www.ilovecarousel.com/blog/carousel-diary-best-of-brooklyn-vintage.html )
3. Any tips you could give to the amateur deal digger?
“Make sure you’re in a patient mood and have plenty of time on your hands. And try on everything you fancy, even if it looks weird on the hanger it might look great on you, as is often the case with vintage clothes.”
4. As an artist how do you collect your visual ideas in terms of inspiration?
“My work is mostly based on images from the natural world so I get a lot of my source material from nature books and journals like Natural Geographic and from photos I take on long walks. I sometimes find inspiration in fashion magazines too, if I come across an object or pattern or colour theme I really like I’ll cut it out and add it to my visual scrapbook.”
5. Who is your favourite female artist and can you tell us what you love about her work?
“I have many favorites so maybe I’ll chose an artist that Carousel fans might enjoy. Lisa Yuskavage is an American painter; she’s mainly concerned with the female form and paints strange, slightly erotic images of voluptuous, slightly cartoonish, women. Her paintings have a 70’s vintage feel to them because of how her subjects are styled and softly lit.”
6. As a singer in a band, your style also plays a huge role in your life. How would you describe your stage style and what frontwomen have inspired your look?
“Stage style is tricky. Its really important to feel comfortable on stage, you don’t want to be adjusting straps and tassels between each song or worrying about falling off your heals and into the drum kit, but it’s also important to feel a bit fancy and a little bit sexy when you’re being watched by a lot of people. I usually opt for something pretty but low-maintenance. A little tea dress or a fancy top and skinny jeans.”
7. You collect animal jewellery and have quite an amazing collection! What sparked your interest and what’s your favourite piece?
“I just love animal imagery, on clothes, in art, on jewellery. I started buying brooches on eBay a few years ago; I’m always keeping my eye out for unusual pieces. Whenever I go abroad I’ll check out flee markets and antique shops. My favorite piece is a little mouse made out of mink; he has tiny sapphire eyes and a teeny leather tail. He tends to freak people out a bit so I have to be careful where I take him.”
8. It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re off out for a day in town- perfect outfit?
“In spring time I’d chose ankle grazer blue jeans with a colourful blouse tucked in and a comfy pair of loafers or sandals.”
7. It’s Saturday night and you’ve hit the town- perfect outfit?
“Time to get the legs out, so maybe a short high-waisted skirt with a loose t-shirt or blouse tucked in lots of beads and some heals, good sturdy heals, I’m not a fan of stilettos.”
8. Best outfit you’ve worn onstage?
“At our last headline gig I wore a little black A-line dress with cap sleeves and a low back, it was very simple but flattering and really comfortable, ideal stage wear!”
9. What was it like appearing on the Late Late Show? How did you pick your get-up and how did it feel watching the band back on such an iconic Irish program?
“I spent a full 8 hours in town the Thursday before the show, I visited every shop at least twice and shed a tear in more than one dressing room! There is so much pressure to choosing an outfit that 200,00 people are going to see you in and of course on that particular day I decided I didn’t like any of the clothes in the world. Just before the shops closed I took a deep breath, reviewed everything I’d seen that day and picked the most promising items – a sleeveless check shirt and a high wasted black leather skirt -not my usual look, I was taking a risk! In the end we were all really happy with how the performance looked, it was shot and lit really nicely and I think my risky get-up stood the test.”
For more on Little Xs For Eyes head here:
For more on Bennie’s beautiful artwork head here: