Beauty + The Beat: The Groove Is In The Style Of Lady Miss Kier

Groups like Deee-Lite were like catnip for someone as curious, impressionable, and as bored as I was growing up in middle-class suburbia. Back in the early '90s, they enthralled me simply because BRIGHT COLORS! BRIGHT PATTERNS! BRIGHT HAPPY MUSIC! I was already praying at the Church of Lisa Frank, attracted to the shiny n' glittered baubles, bangles and beads in stores like Claire's, and had adopted the color palette of bright tangerine, turquoise and purple into my wardrobe --- Deee-Lite was just the natural course of attraction.

The 3 E's in Deee-Lite meant "Enjoy!-Enjoy!-Enjoy!" and you bet your tush I enjoyed the mess outta of them. Their whole club-chic psychedelic aesthetic allowed me to sit on the sidelines of the 1990s club kid culture, hands under chin, and be mesmerized by something I was too young to even think of engaging in, and far too sheltered to be chic for. I wasn't into the whole grunge era at the dawn of the '90s as I was too busy New Jill swingin' and attempting to do my best Mariah in my hairbrush to pay it any mind. I do remember Euro-dance and House music was taking over and there were a lot of 'here-today-gone-tomorrow' novelty groups that record companies were trying to invest in, but a lot of them found their hits in the slush pile by the end of the decade. While Deee-Lite got lumped into that pile I don't like to call them "one hit wonders". Technically they weren't, they ruled the dance charts with a string of #1's in the early '90s, but their biggest hit --- "Groove In The Heart" --- was their lone mainstream smash (hitting #4), and well, people and VH1 are such sticklers for that Hot 100 chart so the 'one-hit wonder' label stuck.

Oh, "Groove Is In Heart"! Or rather, "Grooooooveee isssss innn thee heeeearrrttt" --- that's the proper way to introduce that song, is it not?

It's pretty impressive that this song is celebrating 25 years of shelf life this year, when it doesn't sound a day over five. The genius is in it's make-up, as it managed to sound like pop, soul, hip-hop, and psychedelic funk all in one cool hodge-podge, and yet it didn't sound convoluted or contrived. It's just right as goes Goldilocks's diva reply. Even cramming in guest spots from Maceo Parker, Bootsy Collins, and Q-Tip didn't drive the song into distraction as it took all these genres and generations and had them seamlessly harmonize together. Just brilliant pop song crafting. Plus no other song in the history of music makes glorious use of the slide whistle as this song does.

But that is Deee-Lite for you, they were so chameleonic with their sound, even socially aware at times (what other band came out with a catchy song urging you to vote?), proving that pop styling isn't just all flash and flair, that there is some substance, actual sane thought behind it. "Groove Is In The Heart" is also just the tip of great dance anthems from the trio, as their other hit, the euphoric glory of "Good Beat" and their last batch of albums, 1992's Infinity Within and 1994's Dewdrops In The Garden, both of which boast reams of aural gems that expand on their "holographic techno-soul" (seriously, you need to correct your life and listen to "Apple Juice Kissing", "Picnic In The Summertime", and "Love Is Everything").

Also (and finally getting to the point of this post...) Deee-Lite won all the awards in my book, because they had Lady Miss Kier as a frontwoman.

Lady Miss Kier was pre-Spice Girls and pre-Gwen Stefani for me. She was so bright and bouncy, uninhibited to show off that girly vibe. The more daisy prints, the more false eyelashes, the more pout of freshly glossed lips meant the better. An underrated goddess of style she was and I was smitten.

Hailing from Youngstown, Ohio, Lady Miss Kier was born Kierin Magenta Kirby --- and with a name like that she was already destined for fabulousness.

After high school, she moved to the Big Apple to study fashion design at NYC's FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), and she began to sell vintage clothes to those she caroused around town with as a side gig. She met future bandmates Russian DJ Dimitry Brill and Japanese DJ, Towa Tei through these sells, and when it was discovered that Miss Kier had a voice on her, the formation of Deee-Lite was underway. Christening herself 'Lady Miss Kier', she gathered co-writing credits and took to enhancing the band's outrageous style, vocally and visually. She became the band's focal point, prancing around like a human kaleidoscope in shiny catsuits, funky platforms, chunky cocktail rings, icing her look off with her fiery red and flipped to the gawds bouncing bob.

The '90s brought back that mod/psychedelic 1960s style in gobs, and from The Nanny's Fran Fine to Betty Boo and boomerang back to Parker Posey's dewey-decimal dimwitted Party Girl, it was the look for all those who liked to color outside the proverbial lines and revel in the nostalgia of those de-groovy days. Still the grooviest and mod-est of them all was Lady Miss Kier who wore the style as if she had created it herself --- she just owned the hell out of it. She also boasted a daring make-up look, while far from the contouring plasticity of today's Instagrammed visages, Lady Miss Kier painted her lids and lips with vivid colors, keeping her eyebrows thin and pointed and her fake eyelashes lush and long.

Oh, and how can I forget how Lady Miss Kier loved, loved, loved her some Pucci patterns, so much so that she even made this deee-gorgeous video where she tosses out several looks, all while hypnotically pulling you in with her alluring vox on the remix of Deee-Lite's "What Is Love?":

Though I could never get away with wearing an all-over Lady Miss Kier look, little bits of her influence crop up on me to this day. My love for bold patterns, over-sized color-rimmed shades, colorful scarves, bright make-up, and rainbow-ed resin and flower cocktail rings still endures and is no question ode to the grooviest of '90s ladies. So whenever I'm feeling a little more adventurous with my style choices and hear a 'good beat', I'll majestically flip the ends of my hair up, and wear my favorite stacked wedges --- knowing that Lady Miss Kier is spiritually guiding me to own every ounce of it.

Though I never got to be that club kid I always wanted to be (I was always more Mary than Rhoda...), I still pretty much want to grow up and be Lady Miss Kier, and well, there is still time especially since Miss Kier is proof that age ain't nuthin' but a number, and fun fashion choices don't cease once you reach the 30 mark, as she is still after all these years true to herself and just as uninhibited in her wardrobe and life choices as she was way back when. How do I know this? All of Lady Miss Kier's fabulous current life is chronicled on her social media pages, like Facebook and Tumblr, oh, and Twitter too! So if you need a rejuvenation on your style or need a new diva crush (or just revive an old one, like I), then those are your new portals for inspiration.

May the groove be forever in your hearts, deee-lovelies!

+ Photo sources via Lady Miss Kier's Facebook + Tumblr
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