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Page last updated at 07:58 GMT, Friday, 17 July 2009 08:58 UK
Karen O on becoming a style icon

By Sinead Garvan
Newsbeat entertainment reporter

Karen O says she loves pushing the limits of fashion and what she wears on stage is just as important as preparing her set.

Karen O
Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeahs says she loves to mix up what she wears

Some would argue she's quite simply the most effortlessly cool female on the planet.

Forget the likes of Alexa Chung, Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer just has it - and best of all she doesn't know it or shove it in your face.

"No, you're pulling my leg," she says when we tell her everyone thinks she is it.

"I want to feel cool but I think part of nurturing the cool is by just tearing yourself to pieces.

"As soon as you buy into the fact that you are cool you're not cool anymore. So I can't buy into it, it's a lot of self torture."

Yeah Yeah Yeahs are in the middle of a hectic festival season across the UK and Europe.

As well as perfecting their set for each show she tells us her outfits are just as important.

"It really makes a difference, it's funny because my partner in crime Christian Joy (who designs her outfits) and I, we both have pretty offbeat sensibility about what I should I be wearing.

"Every time I get into costume it's like going shopping and getting a new outfit for your Friday night out. I get completely energised by it and I feel like it keeps things fresh."

'Push the limits'

As amazing as her outfits are, she admits she'd never go do the shopping in them.

Karen O
Karen O is known for her eclectic taste in fashion

"We always thought of the stage as this platform for getting away with as much as possible that you wouldn't be able to get away with in daily life. We take advantage of that and really kind of push the limits."

The singer and style icon says she likes to mix it up for the festivals.

"There's a long frock I'm wearing, it's got these eyeballs like different colours printed all over it.

"Underneath there's this leather feather psychedelic motorbike kind of vibe, pretty different from the loin cloth I wore at Glastonbury, it's a total different biker chick type of vibe."

Sadly, all these wonderful creations are made just for Karen O, who has a little team of people designing and creating the works of art we see on stage.

"Kristen makes them all for me. Her and her battalion of interns. The leather jacket I had for this record, I think her interns were working on it day and night just studding it."

'Living legend'

Like all good rich and famous people there's only a certain amount of times you can wear these outfits. Probably once. So where do they go we question, hoping she might throw some our way.

"I give them to my designer to put up on her walls. I also have them in my parents house in a closet in my old bedroom in New Jersey.

"So they're like in LA, New York and New Jersey. Everywhere there are tons of costumes."

Every good style icon has someone they look up to right? Well this lady was pretty stumped when we asked her but finally remember the one she most adores.

"Grace Jones, the living legend. The presence she exudes and just the other worldliness of her, she is like a living work of art."

So how did she feel about Yeah Yeah Yeahs playing with Grace Jones recently?

"It almost changed my life seeing her, I was totally blown away. I think she's the epitome of cool. She's 60 years old and she was wearing a bustier one piece with a thong.

"Just that alone with shoes like two feet tall, she is as magnetic or more so than ever before."

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