Zaina Miuccia: Style With a Sense of Humor
Zaina Miuccia is a 25-year-old model, muse, creative consultant and contributing writer for Vogue, splitting her time between Ladbroke Grove, West London and Lagos. Crediting her sense of style to her impossibly cool mom Salamatu Gbajabiamila -whose impeccable looks rightfully have their own hashtag on her daughter’s Instagram- Zaina obviously has a serious love for clothes, and yet doesn’t take dressing herself too seriously.
From her social media alone (and even her handle itself, @larrydavid420) her playfulness is palpable; the silly sense of humor which saturates her stories (please watch her highlights if you want a laugh) reflected in her sartorial choices. Zaina comes across as a true eccentric in her blend of the luxurious and the tacky: willing to pair archival vintage pieces with PVC that looks straight out of a sexshop, and accessorizing as readily with Gucci shades as with cannabis-leaf print bandanas, pukka shell necklaces, and her ubiquitous Juul.
Such eclectic taste defies any one label; at once campy and elegant, trashy and chic, and unselfconscious about the juxtapositions between these elements of her outfits. I wanted to round up some of my favorite looks from Zaina’s insta, which has quickly become my go-to for fashion inspiration.
This photo, part of a series taken by Zaina’s photographer boyfriend Ivar Wigan, sees her clad in a dress which combines the hyper-masculinity of tattoo flash with the frilly hem and cut of a negligée. Something about the setting of what looks like a hotel room paired with the Ed Hardy design reminds of childhood holidays, finding countless knock-off tees in Egyptian markets. I love the startling bleached brows and diamante ‘Jesus’ necklace, as well as how the apricot fabric of the dress is offset by the bubble-gum blue of her hair.
The upper half of this outfit, an amber velvet corset with matching puffed sleeves (which I believe is vintage Vivienne Westwood) looks straight out of a Renaissance painting, whilst the skin-tight PVC of Zaina’s trousers is more reminiscent of Catwoman than Caravaggio. The pairing is unexpected, and yet the juxtaposing connotations and textures of both garments somehow work together, the entire outfit -including her woolen beret- looks excitingly tactile.
Fluff Fluff Pass
Another tactile look, here Zaina wears a pistachio-green hat by Emma Brewin with an equally fluffy baby-pink coat. The combination of sherbet-hued furs reminds me of Mugler’s Fall 1991 collection, the likes of Christy Turlington and Beverley Peele taking to the runway in puffball pastels pieces. I love the fact that Zaina dons such a maximalist outfit as though it were casual daywear.
This is possibly the simplest outfit on this rundown, but one which I am totally obsessed with. This sheer red blouse, styled sans-bra is just too gorgeous, and I love that its flimsy delicacy is matched in the slip skirt. Sometimes less is more, and I actually enjoy the lack of accessories in this look: it accentuates the small details, like the tapering of the sleeve or the lace slip peeking out from under her skirt.
I had to include this outfit as the most blatant representation of Zaina’s sartorial sense of humor. I love the unashamed weirdness of accessorizing with sunglasses that look like a mask: part scuba-diver, part super villain, paired with the gold 60’s ram necklace, which she describes as a get-well-soon present bought for herself as a proud Aries. The cheesiness of her sweatshirt, which is printed with the uber-90’s EP cover art for ‘Da Devil’s Playground’, by Three 6 Mafia’s Koopsta Knicca (check out Robbers, which sounds like it could have been released this year rather than 20 years ago) is offset by the understated chicness of her ultra-skinny brows and cropped bangs.
Let Them Eat Cake
This costume had to be included on my round-up for the sheer decadence of it. Of course the powdered wig is a nod to Marie Antoinette (whose ostentation and style was brilliantly immortalized in Sofia Coppola’s 2006 movie), and the combination of this outfit and the apparent party setting of the photo calls to mind one of my favorite ever images, from Karl Lagerfeld’s own nod to the 18th Century French nobility in his 1979 Versailles party at Studio 54
PVC u around
A look which is straight out of a movie, the cut of this PVC two-piece and the fact that Zaina appears to be sprawled on the bonnet of a car reminds me of Devon Aoiki’s character Suki in 2 Fast 2 Furious; Zaina looks like she could be part of the movie’s all-female street racing gang. Even the butterfly tattoo on her left arm is reminiscent of the ultra-femme graphics on Suki’s iconic pink Honda S2000.
Read All About It
I love this dress- the simple cut of it, the iconic -and much imitated- Galliano newsprint fabric and especially that particular shade of Klein blue. What I didn’t know before researching this piece was that Galliano’s history of newspaper dresses was itself drawn from imitation- of Elsa Schiaparelli’s 1935 print based on press clippings concerning her own work, used to make ‘blouses, scarves and hats’ amongst other things. Interestingly, this fabric used by both Schiaparelli and Galliano -in his couture collections at Dior and for his own eponymous label which Zaina wears here- has problematic connotations, tied with these designers’ aestheticization of poverty; with Shiaparelli explicitly citing the fishwives, who wore ‘newspapers twisted into queer shapes of hats’ as her inspiration 60 years before Galliano would be vilified for his romanticization of Parisian homelessness, in his S/S ‘hobo chic’ collection for Dior and in his comments that ‘’these people are like impresarios, their coats worn over their shoulders…their hats worn at a certain angle. It’s fantastic.” There’s a lot more (uncomfortable) history than meets the eye to this look.
School Photo Day
In this editorial for neuneumedia, Zaina looks utterly gorgeous and yet almost cartoonish, with her short bangs and bumped bob, in (not-quite) formalwear, given a sense of humor by the oversized collar of her shirt. This photo gives me St Trinian’s vibes, the smudgy eyes and nose-stud reminding me of a schoolgirl refusing to comply with uniform regulations.
Knowles It All
Wearing Charlotte Knowles (a designer included in our article on female fashion designers), this is one of my favorite of Zaina’s looks. Not only do I love the geography teacher hiking boots, but the silhouette is fantastic; the shaggy collar and sleeves of her jacket giving the impression of broad shoulders, which combined with the nipped in waist and billowy asymmetry of her skirt, give an exaggerated hourglass shape which manages to be simultaneously masculine and ultra-feminine.