Chances are you fell in love with Stephanie "Soko" Sokolinski's haunting vocals on the viral sensation video "First Kiss" earlier this year — a sly clothing ad for Los Angeles-based brand Wren, which lured us in with its heartwarming look at strangers kissing for the first time.
As one of the 20 people also cast for the ad, Soko is depicted in a black bowler hat, lips locked with a taller woman. "If I feel a little shy, a hat makes me more confident, somehow," says the soft-spoken French chanteuse whose featured song, "We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow," off her 2012 album I Thought I Was An Alien, skyrocketed to the top of Billboard's Streaming Songs chart, and clocked in at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 shortly thereafter.
The bowler is part of Soko's massive hat collection — just a fraction of the actress and singer's extensive clothing collection that occupies three closets alone in her Silver Lake abode, not to mention two in Paris. Born in Bordeaux, France, Soko moved from Paris to Los Angeles six years ago, but says her sense of style remains unchanged, no matter where she resides. "I like dressing up. I like dictating the story of my day through clothes," she says — a narrative that prominently features her love of vintage, as well as a penchant for bowties. "I don't want to be dressed like anyone else," she says of her vintage items. "I want to find unique, weird pieces. Also, I feel like I am going back in time. I definitely feel like I should have been 18 in the '80s in London, being part of the punk scene."
Soko — who was nominated in 2010 for a Cesar Award for Most Promising Actress for her role in French flick A l'origine — describes her day-to-day look as "not normal looking." It's an aesthetic she's drawn to whether she's onstage or exploring L.A. with friends. "I don't have performance outfits. I roll on stage with whatever I am wearing that day," says the singer, who supported M.I.A. on tour in 2007. "But I always dress weird, so it's always a performance outfit."
Catch Soko live — bowties, hats and all — at The Art of Elysium's Genesis "A Celebration of Emerging Artists" show on Sept. 5 at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.
Hat and Blouse: "The hat is from a vintage store in Echo Park, Luxe De Ville … The blouse is from the same place. I got them together. I like it because it's glam rock-ish."
Bracelet: "I've had it since I was ten."
Rings, various: "This is the wedding ring of my mom and dad. My dad died when I was 5 and my mom got [his wedding band] put together [with hers] as one ring. She was wearing it and she gave it to me when I left home when I was 16. I can't live without it."
Socks: "These are little schoolgirl socks. I find them on eBay. I buy them ten at a time. They stain so quickly with shoes."
Shoes: "They are from my favorite company, Mishka. They are from Buenos Aires."
Vintage leggings: "I like the mixture of texture and graphics. [They are] a mixture of velvet and tights material."
Shorts: "I got these at the Melrose Flea Market. I am obsessed with plaid — and plaid on plaid."
Jacket: "I got from a stylist at a shoot."
Shirt: "Alexander McQueen. They've been giving me clothes … I like the difference of whites. It's hiding my nipples, but the rest of it is see-through."
Bowtie: "A fan got this for me ages ago and sent a package of six bowties because I am obsessed with them."
Shoes: "Also Mishka."