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Glamour (UK)
October 2001

Shopping with Tori Amos

Lyrical activist extraordinaire Tori Amos takes Deborah Joseph on the ulitmate rick chick's shopping trip

Tori Amos is about to go on tour with her new album "Strange Little Girls" - a collection of cover versions of traditionally male songs by everyone from Eminem to The Boomtown Rats. It's traditional Tori - the rock chick extraordinaire, the earthy, extravagant woman who believes words are more powerful than a gangster's gun.

So you'd think she'd be far too busy in lyrical combat to spend time shopping in London's hottest fashion spots with me. Think again. The Tori Amos who shakes my hand is wearing sensible black, lightly pinstriped trousers, a sparkly Fake London top (note to fans who attended the Union Chapel Meet & Greet - this top is very similar to the orange and green one she was wearing) and is carrying a Prada bowling bag, with her trademark wild hair worn groomed and curled. Not a Birkenstock in sight! My first impression: she's tiny, calm and she doesn't blink very often.

Her Shopping Style

I expect a more ethereal/grunge look but Tori heads straight for the sparkly rail in Browns Focus on London's South Molton Street."I'm going for a military glamour look for my shows," she says. "Army colours, but still feminine and strong. I'm loving this look," she says as she pulls piles of clothes off the rails. Everything Tori does is extravagant and intense, whether she's shopping for a bracelet or hammering out the most memorable dance track of the last decade - "Professional Widow," mixed by Armand Van Helden. It's quite a surprise to see she's also intense about fun things like bracelet buying. "I don't see why I can't be an acitivist and be feminine," she responds to my surprise. "If you speak strongly about guns and violence and you've got kitten heels on, people don't know what to make of you. It's funny."

Favourite shops and designers

So where does she usually shop? "I love London. Selfridges is amazing. Apart from that I don't really care what the label is as long as they don't support things that I don't believe in, such as violence against women or guns," she reveals. I wonder aloud, which designer would ever admit to supporting guns and violence? She smiles. "I don't know, but I generally prefer to support young unknown designers who need to raise their profile." Like who? "At the moment I love IE Uniform," she says, picking up an army-green, sequinned skirt of theirs.

"I like Browns Focus because they have lots of these young designers, like Jared gold." She buys one of his pink, puff-sleeved jackets. "This PVC versus the RAF look isn't bad either," she laughs, as she emerges from the changing room in a black PVC skirt with a bustle by American Classics.

Fashion and sexuality

There are no 'Does my bum look big in this?' questions when shopping with Tori. She sees, she tries on, she buys. It's quick and simple. Does she ever dress to attract men? "No, because I'm married. There was a time when I wore short skirts and no underwear, flashing the whole of LA. Then I thought, 'Why am I doing this? They don't deserve to be flashed!' Now I try to keep some mystery. No cleavage or belly out."

"I thnk women dress for other women more than men anyway," she says. "Your clothes say so much about you to other people - they can attract people to you or turn them off completely. I want to make sure I'm attracting people to me for the right reasons."

Changing styles

Tori tells me her style has changed in the past couple of years - since she became a mum. "I'm happier to be more womanly and feminine in my style these days," she says. "Now I love clothes that are interesting but not too wacky. I absolutely love denim. When I'm at home in Cornwall you'll always find me in a pair of Earl jeans, Adidas and a cotton shirt."

Fake London

After a trip to the great new shop Concrete in Soho, we head to Fake London in Wapping Wall. As she walks in, she's introduced to the owner, who says a brief hello to her before continuing screaming at the top of her voice about some mistake on a shirt order. Tori loves Fake London because it's the kind of shop where they make you a cup of tea. She heads straight for a rail of dog-tooth check coats. Within 20 minutes, one has been ordered and she's swivelling round in a chocolate blouse and olive tank top with a cross on it. It's ladylike, demure and sexy - another face of the dynamic Tori Amos.

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