Beauty And The Beat: Dragonette’s Martina Sorbara Talks Two-Toned Lips, Boycotting The Hair Salon, And Music That’s “A Little Bit More Beer And Sunshine”
For Dragonette’s frontwoman, Martina Sorbara, one of the hardest parts about being in a band isn’t the constant touring—it’s what happens when you stop. “You’re like, What is this place called ‘home’? Why is all this stuff everywhere? Every time I come home from tour I end up throwing out four bags of clothing,” she says with a smile stretched across her face. She pauses to laugh, and then adds, “I’m like, ‘Holy shit I have 80 pairs of shoes—get rid of them!” It’s no surprise that she’s amassed so much over the years: the Toronto-born, London-based electro-pop band has been a designer favorite since forming in 2005 (Jean Paul Gaultier, Diane von Furstenberg, and Fendi have all worked with Dragonette on various projects). While the band gears up for the September release of their third album, Bodyparts, with plenty of tour dates and a performance on Good Morning America airing this summer, Sorbara met with Style.com to talk about mastering a two-tone lip and getting messy rock star hair, no salon professional needed.—Rebecca Willa Davis
So, I see you’ve shaved the sides of your head! When did that happen?
The other day we had a show in Mexico City and I was really feeling like all my clothes were so drab and I had no idea what to wear, so instead of dressing up I just shaved these off. I was having a bit of mom hair issues because it was very bulky but curling under—like some First lady situation. So I when I got rid of [the sides] it fixed a lot of things.
You’ve had many different hair styles over the years, from bowl cuts to pompadours. Do you get bored quickly?
The thing is a have really good scissors and they’re in my bathroom, so sometimes I give myself four-day-long haircuts. I’m very detached from my hair; it’s not a special part of my body and I really don’t mind just taking scissors to it and fucking it up. So I’ll try something and I know it grows really fast and it’s really liberating to think, I don’t need to pay somebody $200 to decide what my hair looks like. Because every time I get my hair cut by somebody, I want to punch them in the face. It’s like, “You weren’t even listening to what I was saying, and I just paid you a whole bunch of money to do this mom hair!”
I think most women have had that moment in a salon where they’re on the verge of tears, so you’re not alone. With wavy hair, how do you fight frizz?
I used to do “Kinder surprise hair,” which is when you go to bed with your hair wet and you wake up with whatever the pillow gave you. It’s a good method. But now I just spray [Toni & Guy] Label M Sea Salt Spray when it’s damp and it makes your hair do what you want—if you want a beach look, or if you want to look like you don’t care.
Any other beauty staples?
I’m traveling with a Clarins moisturizer and facial wipes, which are a game changer, and then just some lipstick. The crappy thing with lipstick onstage—especially the way I sing—is it ends up getting on the mic and then spreading up my face onto my nose. It’s the price to pay for red lips. I just made up this new thing, which I’m sure has been in a magazine before, but it’s red Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture lipstick on my top lip and pink MAC lipstick on the bottom. I couldn’t decide which color to use so this is my new thing. It was invented this morning.
Love it! While you’ve gotten more adventurous with beauty, it seems like you’re not getting as crazy with your clothing.
One of the things is it actually became tiring. Also, I realized that it’s not actually perfectly representing who I am because I don’t wear those things when I go out for drinks with my friends. When we started the band we had fun dressing up and taking these chances, and then I actually started seeing other young bands performing and wearing all this crazy clothing and I remembered looking at them and thinking, I wish I could see who they are, because I can’t. Then I realized maybe I should apply that to myself a bit and make sure people see who I am. For Lady Gaga, I 100 percent believe that that is who she is; I understand the image and all of it, so way to go. But I don’t think that applies to everybody, and obviously I was never dressing like Lady Gaga, but it’s a tiny bit tiring. I’m not a stylist; I’m going to concentrate on the music and putting on a good show and making friends with this audience.
As your look has evolved, has Dragonette’s sound changed too?
Each album definitely has its own sound, but within the album they go all over the place. But I think our process has changed a lot and maybe that’s affected the outcome; the first two albums we wrote in a writing room and then we went to a big study and recorded a bunch of instruments. But this album is literally all in our little bedroom. There are very few actual acoustic instruments on it but for some reason the songs have a very acoustic feeling to them. I think we were consciously trying to bring a different kind of life into the dance world where we sit; [it's] a little bit less of strobe-y laser nightlife and a little bit more beer and sunshine.
Photo: Kristin Vicari