There’s a timeless quality about Hollie Cook. Her music evokes UK Lovers Rock of the late ’70s and early ’80s, an era before she was born, when (largely female) British singers of Caribbean descent like Janet Kay and Carroll Thompson were creating the “Quiet Storm” to reggae’s R&B.
Around that same time, Hollie’s parents, Paul and Jeni Cook, came together in a different sort of London scene: They were members of the Sex Pistols and the Culture Club, respectively. Young Hollie grew up in an eclectic social sphere that included Vivienne Westwood, Ari Up (whom she later joined in a reformed version of The Slits in the late 2000s) and her Godfather, Boy George. “My parents have got a lot of extremely interesting friends, so my whole childhood was full of many weirdos,” Hollie remarks with fondness. “It was all normal to me. I’d party with my parents and their friends, then go sleep in the room where everyone put their jackets.”
Her personal approach to style reflects the uniqueness of her upbringing, while harkening back to more classic styles via vintage finds. “Most of the time I get an idea of what I want, and look for it on Ebay. Or I get somebody to make it for me.”
She favors bold prints, an aesthetic in sync with her music, which has grown from its Lovers Rock roots into something more broadly “tropical.” (Her latest album, Twice, makes considerable use of cuicas, and other “wild” sounds, lending it the feel of a B-movie set in a lost jungle.) Her wardrobe, she says, veers chaotically between tomboyish attire and more girly looks.
On the eve of her first US tour, we took Hollie shopping at NYC ladies vintage shop Maison Jadis, where she posed for a fashion shoot with Martei Korley and discussed her personal style rules, as she picked out a few new outfits for the road.