It’s a big spring for Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, the honest and engaging frontwoman for the band that champions California’s beach and babes vibe. The band just picked up the “Best Video” MTV Woodie award last week for the Drew Barrymore-directed “Our Deal”; their follow up album to their immensely popular first album, Crazy For You, comes out in May; and Urban Outfitters will be releasing Bethany’s first fashion line “Bethany Cosentino for Urban Renewal” in conjunction with the album release. The lead singer and principle songwriter is nothing if not frank, and we got a charming dose of it this week upon her return from SxSW.
We dare you to be anything less than enamored with the former The Fader fashion intern; Cosentino created a modern classic with her first album, bolstered by bold-faced lyrics like “I wish he was my boyfriend. I’d love him till the very end, but instead he is just a friend” or the simple heartache of “I wish you would tell me how you really feel. I wish you would tell me. But you never tell me cause that’s not our deal.” The band’s sound has set an aesthetic expectation as well: sun-soaked, laidback, beachy. And despite the brand’s penchant for adorable kittens—one covers the first album and Cosetino sings about wishing her cat could speak—the singer’s first designs for Urban are very mature. Like her stage attire, there is lots of black and white mixed into an all neutral palette. While she admits she knows nothing about draping or fashion drawing, she knows her way, to some extent, around a sewing machine and was incredibly hands-on with the line. She noted there was a lot of compromising when it came to her original designs to stay on budget for consumers and fittingly, the clothes are made of vintage fabrics, a match for the band’s retro sound.
As Cosentino’s increasingly involved with and embraced by the fashion industry (even outside of her designs for Urban Outfitters) dreams of future projects are not unheard of. Working with shoe designer Rachel Comey, for instance, came to mind when we posed the question of dream collaborations. But any such projects will have to wait as she heads out on tour to support her much-awaited forthcoming album. Determined not to succumb to the pressure of a follow-up album, or worse, a sophomore slump, Bethany called on musician friends for advice but ultimately enjoyed the process of creating The Only Place, out May 15, with her writing partner and bandmate Bobb Bruno. Like her designs, the new material is a little moodier, but, she points out, the idea of lazy, beachside days and sundresses on sun-kissed skin is still there.
The narrative of her decampment to New York and then retreat back to California was well-trodden territory when Best Coast broke, and when asked if there is anywhere else she dreams of living Bethany simply responds: “Honestly, California’s it for me. It’s why I sing ‘Why would you live anywhere else? We’ve got the ocean, got the babes, got the sun; we’ve got the waves. This is the only place for me.’ Though if I make it big someday, so to speak, I’d love to have an apartment in New York, too.”
So will we see Bethany donning some warm weather items from her line on the band’s upcoming tour this summer? “I’ve asked some friends if it’s ridiculous to wear your own designs on stage, but that’s what designers do, right?” As she also noted elsewhere, “If you opened my suitcase when I’m on tour, any of these pieces would be in it.”