She’s collaborated with Usher and Tyler the Creator, but when it comes to her personal style icons, Malaysian singer/songwriter Yuna is strictly with the girls. A little Gwen Stefani and a lot Audrey Hepburn, the pop star (who boasts more than 750,000 followers on Instagram alone) looks to these women, plus the ‘90s and ‘00s for fashion inspiration. We caught up with the singer during Paris Fashion Week. In-between modeling covetable Chanel jackets from Virginie Viard’s first Cruise collection for the house (available in stores now), Yuna fielded adoring fans who spoke movingly of her influence on their lives.
In this installment of Style Files, the singer talks about developing her iconic modest style, why making a fashion faux pas is for the best, and the Chanel piece that got away.
How would you describe your style?
Edgy but comfy. I like unique things, I like classy things, I like to look relaxed even though I’m dressed up. My style icon is Audrey Hepburn, but maybe Audrey with a pair of black boots!
Many look to you as a modest style icon. How did you develop your look over the years?
It took me a while! I had a lot of fashion faux pas growing up in the public eye and people used to comment on my fashion sense all the time. I’m okay about that because I learned a lot about my personal style and tried different things to see if I liked them or not. The turban especially is my iconic look. I had to learn different ways to wear them until I found the one that fits me. To me, you have to go through a lot of different phases in fashion to get to a place where you are confident with yourself and your style without thinking too much. I’m happy that I can style myself and wear pretty much anything— I can make anything work!
What are some of your favorite basics brands?
I love Madewell, they make very good jeans and sweaters. I love COS too they make very nice shirts and structured tops.
Tell me about the first outfit you remember truly loving.
My mom’s red skirt. She had this red pleated skirt that she wore and I always wear it and twirl around the room. I remember tucking my shirt into it too because I liked the silhouette. I also used to have these black boots with silver buckles that I was obsessed with when I was seven. I recently bought a pair of boots that looked like it! I guess my style never really changed.
Whose style do you love and why?
I love 90’s Gwen Stefani, because she was so unique from everyone else, and of course my all time fave is Audrey Hepburn. I think her style is classy and effortless. She doesn’t need to do much and she had so much class in every look.
What’s the most debatable piece in your wardrobe at the moment?
High heels! I look great in them but I can’t wear them more than 15 minutes or I will be in great pain!
What trend are you currently loving?
I love that the early 2000 Spice Girls trend is coming back! I grew up loving their style and it’s kind of amazing that it’s making a comeback. There’s definitely some great parts in there I can integrate into my current style.
What’s the one piece that’s gotten away?
The red Chanel leather trench coat that I wore at the Paris Chanel show. It was hard to say goodbye to that—it was perfect!
What are some of your most sentimental items?
There’s a bunch. There’s a red satin bomber jacket with Picasso painting on it that I found while thrifting, there’s a gray long sleeve shirt that I bought when i was still in college and i still have it because I really take care of it and its still in shape and still looks new, a leather pair of slip ons I bought at a Berlin vintage market that I rarely use but I just can’t let go!
Number one style regret?
I remember at one point I was trying to be rebellious. I was trying too hard to not conform to the current fashion trends that I thought it was cool to wear sandals and bootcut jeans and button up shirts… Oh my goodness! Never wearing sandals in my life ever again.
Photographer: Tyler Joe | All looks from Chanel Cruise 2020.