Stefani began wearing a bindi in the mid-1990s after attending several family gatherings for Tony Kanal, who is of Indian heritage. During No Doubt’s breakthrough, Stefani wore the forehead decoration in several of the band’s music videos and briefly popularized the accessory in 1997.
First attracting attention in the 1995 music video for “Just a Girl”, Stefani is known for her midriff and frequently wears shirts that expose it. Stefani’s makeup design generally includes light face powder, bright red lipstick, and arched eyebrows; she wrote about the subject in a song titled “Magic’s in the Makeup” for No Doubt’s Return of Saturn, asking “If the magic’s in the makeup/Then who am I?”.
Stefani is a natural brunette, though her hair has not been its natural color since she was in ninth grade. Since late 1994, she has had usually platinum blond hair. Stefani discussed this in the song “Platinum Blonde Life” on Rock Steady and played original blond bombshell Jean Harlow in the 2004 biopic The Aviator.
Despite appearing mostly with blonde hair, she also dyed her hair blue in 1998 and pink in 2001 when she appeared on the cover of Return of Saturn with pink hair.
In 2006, Stefani modified her image, inspired by that of Michelle Pfeiffer’s character Elvira Hancock in the 1983 film Scarface. The reinvented image included a symbol consisting of two back-to-back ‘G’s, which appears on a diamond-encrusted key she wears on a necklace and which became a motif in the promotion of The Sweet Escape. Stefani raised concerns in January 2007 about her rapid weight loss following her pregnancy.
She later stated that she had been on a diet since the sixth grade to fit in size 4 clothing, commenting, “It’s an ongoing battle and it’s a nightmare. But I like clothes too much, and I always wanted to wear the outfits I would make.” A wax figure of Stefani was unveiled at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas at The Venetian on September 22, 2010.
The release of Stefani’s first solo album brought attention to her entourage of four Harajuku Girls, who appear in outfits influenced by Gothic Lolita fashion and are named for the area around the Harajuku Station of Tokyo, Japan. Stefani’s clothing also took influence from Japanese fashion, in a style described as a combination between Christian Dior and Japan.
The dancers are featured in her music videos, press coverage, and on the album cover for Love. Angel. Music. Baby., with a song named for and dedicated to them on the album. They were also featured in, and the namesake for, Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers Tour.
Forbes magazine reported Stefani’s earnings in 2008, calculating that she earned $27 million between June 2007 to June 2008 for her tour, fashion line and commercials, making her the world’s 10th highest paid music personality at the time.
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