Her official name is Maryli Maura Herz-Marconi, but most Zurich locals know the singer and actor by her stage name, La Lupa. Ticino-born La Lupa also dresses extravagantly off the stage. We talked to La Lupa about fashion, beauty and Zurich’s shopping boulevard – Bahnhofstrasse.
La Lupa, how would you describe your style?
It is very extravagant, but that’s just my personal taste. I don't follow any trends.
Your bright clothes and hats make you stand out in Zurich. Is that something you like?
No. That’s not why I dress the way I do. I do it to express my understanding of beauty. Everyone has their own opinion on this, but everyone should cultivate an awareness of beauty and question it. As Dostoevsky said, beauty will save the world.
Do you believe that?
The beauty in everything will save the world. Including the beauty in my shows where I combine singing, talking and my stage costumes. They represent my personal perception of beauty. If they were ugly, I would make the world, which I am a part of, a little bit more ugly too. And I try my best to avoid this.
‘I think that there are lots of extremely expensive shops that sell a lot of ugly clothes.’
Have you always had this affinity for fashion and beauty?
Of course, it has evolved over the years. When you are young, you don’t know what you like or what suits you. But even when I was a little girl, I always had an eye for these things. For example, at a young age I would tie my hair up in summer and weave a colourful scarf through it. Back then I was the only one doing this, but now it’s a trend.
What do you think about trends?
Not a lot. Everyone should be able to express their own personal style. If society tells us what is beautiful, then people think that they have good taste just because they are wearing what everyone else is wearing. Regardless of whether it suits them or not, whether they have the right figure for it or whether it is actually attractive.
So, you never buy something just because it is in fashion?
I never buy clothes. Only fabrics, which my seamstress then uses to make clothes for me. They are made to my personal taste and suit me. If I were to go into a luxury boutique, I would never find anything in my size. The dresses in these places are made for young, slim women, which is why every woman thinks she needs to have a particular figure in order to wear a particular dress. It’s crazy.
What do you think of Zurich as a city of fashion?
I think that there are lots of extremely expensive shops that sell a lot of ugly clothes. I honestly don’t know why anyone wants to shop here.
«It’s the small details, the accessories, that are particularly important.»
Lots of people automatically think that expensive designer brands are beautiful.
Yes, it’s a huge misconception. It’s usually people with no taste who believe this. They may buy some nice items now and then by chance. But it’s not because they want them – it’s because they believe that expensive means beautiful.
So, you can dress extravagantly on a budget?
Absolutely. It’s especially easy when you are young and have a basic idea of your style. But you need to know that a dress on its own is not enough – it needs to be cleverly combined with accessories. You need hats, jewellery, shoes and bags to match. It’s the small details, the accessories, that are particularly important. That’s the difference between ‘Wow, what a beautiful dress,’ and ‘Wow, that outfit is amazing.’ You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money to achieve this – quite the opposite.
You mentioned hats. They are your trademark. How many do you have?
About 200. I think a hat is perhaps the most important accessory you can wear. That goes for men, too. Hats make a statement and give the wearer a certain elegance when they walk and in their posture.
‘It doesn’t take courage to dress this way.’
How often are you asked about your style?
All the time. Either because people are amused or because they really like it. I get very little real criticism. Older people especially love the way I dress. People always say that I must be brave to dress like this. I always tell them that it has nothing to do with being brave. Courage is on a completely different level. Why should I be scared of dressing the way I like? What’s the worst that could happen?
Do you like getting comments like this from strangers or do they annoy you?
I’m glad that I can bring a smile to people’s faces. Whatever the reason. I also think that a lot of people realise that there is nothing wrong with expressing your personal taste. I’m simply breaking their taboos for them and hoping that this gives them a nudge in the right direction.
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