Pitchfork Performers EMA, Twin Sister, And Zola Jesus Talk Festival Fashion

EMA, Twin Sister, and Zola Jesus Perform at the 2011 Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo: Getty Images

Summer festivals, like this past weekend’s Pitchfork Festival, ain’t a walk in a densely populated park: the crowds, the lines, the endless barefoot dancing. And the girls who brave the temps to get onstage to entertain the sweltering masses have it the toughest and earn our utmost respect (and gratitude. And space on our iPods). Not only do they perform with the sun beating down like a spotlight from hell, but they all look so cool belting out songs it almost looks easy (it isn’t. At all).

We caught up with emerging rockers EMA, Twin Sister, and Zola Jesus in Chicago this weekend to hear a little bit about their music and a lot about their stage garb of choice. Not only do we have three new girl crushes, but each of these ladies has a style as distinctive as their sound.

EMA

Erika M. Anderson (EMA) at Pitchfork Festival.
Photo: Shani Silver

After hearing Erika M. Anderson’s gritty folk filled with unapologetic confessions, a listener knows EMA is a formidable force. The leggy and statuesque South Dakota native towers above rumors that Pitchfork is teeming with vegan weaklings, and we are so glad to put that stereotype to rest since her long gams were covered in some of the most rad (and weather appropriate) tights we have ever seen.

What are you wearing?
I’m wearing a sports bra. Jockey underwear. An EMA necklace with a safety pin chain. A shirt by Mary Meyer, who is a designer in Brooklyn. It’s amazingly comfortable and made out of jersey. Thrift store sweat pants/shorts? Orisue tights I really like. Sears socks, and a pair of vintage shoes I’ve had for five years that I got in North Carolina.

What is a good performance outfit for a festival?
I never like to feel overdressed. I like something that combines the masculine and feminine. If I feel too dolled up, I don’t feel as powerful. I feel like it represents my personality, and I just feel comfortable. You can’t feel self-conscious onstage.

Do you have a good luck charm?
I’m too unconnected to the physical realm to hold on to anything long enough to have a good luck charm. The necklace is kind of it, but it is so hard for me to hold on to anything.

What is your must-have tour item?
Sweat pants for the van. I love sweat pants. That’s my power outfit.

What is your must-do ritual for the road?
A hot toddy when I play. Even when it’s hot out…I had one today.

What is more important? A good manicure, a good pedicure or neither?
I’ve never had either one! I’ve heard they are relaxing. I’ve had one facial in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and I don’t think they did it right. I’ll check it out.

ANDREA ESTELLE OF TWIN SISTER

Andrea Estelle of Twin Sister at Pitchfork Festival.
Photo: MTV Style

It was nearing 100 degrees in Chicago and even the most composed were dripping sweat like it was their job. But somehow, like a mermaid who’s swam ashore (she claims to go to the ocean on the regular) Andrea Estelle of Twin Sister breezed through, like a beachy breath of (cool) air. It was impressive; the indie-pop singer wore a calf-length seafoam green wig and major wedges, but still managed to stay perfectly together (and not sweaty), even though she had taken the stage only a few hours before. We theorize she is part sea creature.

What are you wearing?
I’m wearing a little lace knee-high dress and a gigantic seafoam green wig, a forest green cinched leather belt. And these shoes…Forever 21. Super disposable.

How are you surviving in your wig?
I mean, I’m seriously hot. But I did a meditation where I tried to not freak out about how hot I am!

What is a good performance outfit for a festival?
A good outfit is usually very comfortable shoes and something that’s not too tight on your tummy! I like black a lot. Today is very different for me to be wearing such bright colors. I usually wear, like, you know, cross earrings.

Do you have a good luck charm?
I do! I have a couple, actually. (The crystal on my bracelet) is from Mineral Man, which is this little shack on the border or Toronto and the U.S., and we stop there every time we pass through. Then I have a very tiny locket I carry in my bag at all times from my little sister. I believe in good luck charms.

What is your must-have tour item?
[Laughs] My makeup. My bag of makeup and my handheld mirror. My one essential is my MAC cover-up and my color correction because I have dark circles under my eyes from not sleeping.

What is more important? A good manicure, a good pedicure or neither?
Neither! I mean, look at my nails! (They are chipped or, as she describes, “messed up.”) I try to be very patient and do my nails when I’m on the road, but I always end up doing something and messing them up. If the guys would let me get a manicure or pedicure, I totally would! I try to put my foot down when I can.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
I have these very skinny, tight pinstripe blue-and-white jeans. I don’t know what brand they are, but they are vintage. They are low-rise and they give me a nice little saggy butt, and they are my favorite jeans ever.

ZOLA JESUS

Zola Jesus at Pitchfork Festival.
Photo: MTV Style

There is a great vocal tradition that Nika Danilova comes from that draws on opera, Nico-esque tonality and cult voices like SinĂ©ad O’Connor, which seems very refined and adult—but then Nika’s stage personality Zola Jesus comes on. The 21-year-old dances and jumps like an excited child, and onlookers remember that she has bare feet underneath her avant-garde billowing dresses as she prances about happily in between songs. She may be the happiest goth we’ve ever seen.

What are you wearing?
This is a dress from BB Dakota, (the claw) is from a thrift shop in Montana, and the shoes are Zaha Hadid for Melissa.

What is a good performance outfit for a festival?
Wear as little clothing as you can while still being able to get by! I wear a lot of dresses and thing that breathe. Hopefully you can move around.

Do you have a good luck charm?
Probably my wedding ring. I got married last August.

What is more important? A good manicure, a good pedicure or neither?
Neither! As soon as I get one I chip it, and then I feel really bad about spending all the money. But I DO like a good manicure every now and again. I am really into pale colors, like white or mint green.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
Probably the clothes that designer Onyenauchea Nwabuzor (of Ana Kata) made for me for my videos. She’s from New York, and she customizes it for me. I met her through the director of my videos. He just knew her and she is just an amazing designer.

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