Attitude and elegance are paramount to Escort’s lead singer Adeline Michèle. They’re qualities the sassy singer displays onstage in her performances, but also in the way she presents herself: For the Parisian-born frontwoman sexy is not about tight and short. With the helping hand of stylist Irini Arakas, owner of PROVA, their MO has become the crazier the idea, the more appealing it is. Having modeled in the past, Adeline’s not afraid to push the limits with her style choices, selecting colorful, edgy pieces that make each Escort performance more unforgettable.
Meanwhile Escort’s music is a modern take on disco-funk, exemplified best by their most recent single “If You Say So”—a party-starting homage to the glitz of Studio 54. On the flipside is a house-infused version of St. Vincent’s “Actor Out Of Work,” a song that started life as a live favorite and was such a success that they translated it into this gorgeous, recorded cover.
We asked Adeline to flip through her old photo albums and talk us through snaps from her modeling days, her live outfits, plus a classic tbt to when her brother helped her dress like Mariah Carey.
Adeline Michèle: In this photo, I was four years old, back when I was a tomboy. Initially I was a gymnast and used to climb, jump around, and sing, but I was a tomboy. My older brother, he turned me into a diva: he was always dressing me up. He taught me how to “runway”—I was literally his Barbie. I went from the tomboy to the model. Like I was saying before, this was a sheet or leftover fabric. My brother and I would spend our afternoons always putting shows on together. He made the dress for me and we used to do pretend photo shoots. That was one of them. We did my hair, and obviously we didn’t have a lot of makeup. We did them on the balcony.
My brother and I were both huge fans of Mariah Carey. In this photo shoot we tried to emulate Mariah Carey’s “Daydream.” [Laughs]
This photo was from my modeling days, which is definitely something different than what I do onstage as a singer. I learned a lot from modeling. From the previous picture for instance, the pose is a bit runway-inspired. I had to throw a little bit of the modeling days in there since it really made me who I am also. I modeled for a while—maybe five to seven years.
This is one of the first outfits we put together when I started working with my stylist. That was two summers ago. It was really the beginning of something. I really thought I was onto something with regards to my style. This outfit itself was a big game-changer for me. With my band Escort, we’ve been performing for a while, but it really took me a while to really stand out on stage. Discovering print-on-print was definitely something that defines me a lot. This was one of the first really, really good ones we came up with—it was the beginning of a lot of really good things.
This photo was taken at the Montreal Jazz Festival where we were headlining. We played in front of 100,000 people. It was one of the biggest shows I’ve ever played. It was definitely a huge moment for me in my life and for my band. It was my biggest show ever.
I threw this one in to show you a little bit about my personality. I love dressing up, and this was a Halloween show I did with Escort at Webster Hall.
I really love contrasts and I love to break things down and re-invent them. I like contrast and the effect of the unexpected.
I love wearing wigs and hair accessories. I love the idea of being a chameleon. That just fits one of those moments where I just wanted to go all the way. My good friend painted the wig for me and decided to make it two colors. This outfit was for a show in France, actually the Trans Musicales Festival, which is one of the biggest festivals in Europe. That was a very important moment.
Escort Tour Dates
2/27: Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater - DJ set
2/28: Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre - DJ set
Ilana Kaplan is a writer based in Brooklyn and she's on Twitter.