It’s not surprising that Heidi Klum and Gwen Stefani have crossed paths over the years. Both got their big breaks in the ‘90s and skyrocketed to fame—as Victoria’s Secret’s most-beloved Angel and No Doubt’s badass frontwoman, respectively.
But what you might not know is that the stars are longtime friends who actually have a lot more in common than meets the eye. Both are working moms to a growing brood (Klum has four kids, Stefani has three). Both have recently pivoted in their careers to become judges on reality shows (America’s Got Talent, The Voice). And both have seamlessly translated their style-icon status straight into the fashion biz, becoming designers and creative directors for their own brands (Heidi Klum Intimates, Heidi Klum Swim, L.A.M.B., Gx by Gwen Stefani, among others).
Makes sense, then, that the two pals have also inspired each other’s looks over the years. In fact, when we asked Klum who her ultimate style crush was she was quick to name Stefani. “Women inspire women, and Gwen has definitely done that for me,” Klum tells InStyle. “Her style is iconic because she has done every kind of look, from street to Harajuku to glam. And no matter what she is wearing, she always finds a way to mix Hollywood with rock and roll.”
So for our August issue, we connected Klum and Stefani to talk all things fashion. On the agenda? Vintage shopping, dressing for your mood, and why it’s always better to ignore the fashion critics. Listen in on their chat below.
Heidi Klum: Gwen, we’ve known each other a long time—way before all the kids’ birthday parties—and you’ve always inspired me because you’re unique. When someone says a “Gwen Stefani” look, everyone knows what that means.
Gwen Stefani: Aw! Well, you make anything look good.
HK: I’ve been on the “Don’t” pages a lot. You never have.
GS: Oh, I have so many times. But back in the day, when they started doing Fashion Police, I thought it was actually cool if you made it on there. It meant that you were taking a risk.
HK: You’re gutsier than I am. And I’m pretty gutsy.
GS: Fashion is about expressing yourself. No rules. If I like something, I don’t really care if someone else doesn’t.
HK: Agreed. So, how would you describe your style right now?
GS: More feminine than ever before. It’s probably because I’m super in love and have a really manly man [Blake Shelton]. I enjoy letting that part of me come out now because when I was in No Doubt, I never thought of myself as sexy. Even in my 30s, I was a tomboy. I hardly ever carried a purse.
HK: You always had a little of that Hollywood glam, no?
GS: I’ve spent a lot of time watching old movies on Turner Classic [laughs]. Then when I got out of high school, there was this rockabilly–meets–’50s-pinup girl moment happening in Orange County. It was very cartoonish. I’d go to thrift stores to try to find pieces that no one else would have.
HK: I did that too. Vintage is best when you want something great that doesn’t cost a lot. I admire your commitment to style. Even when you’re running to the store, you look cool.
GS: I like to get ready to go out more than I like to actually go out. Even if no one sees me, I get up every day and put on makeup and an outfit that suits my mood.
HK: Your red lips are iconic. When you don’t wear a lip, I think, “Is that Gwen?” I’m the opposite: When I’m off, I’m in jeans and sunglasses, with my hair in a bun.
GS: It’s harder with kids, but I can get ready fast. That came from years of living on a tour bus with only guys.
HK: I bet. What’s your closet like? Mine is a cluster of colors, patterns, and things I can’t get rid of. So many pairs of ripped jeans.
GS: My closet is the same. I’m a sucker for anything army green.
HK: I heard you’re going to do a residency in Las Vegas, right? I’ll come!
GS: I’m excited. The show, Just A Girl, will follow the songs of my life through different periods of love, heartache, everything. I’ve been working with my stylists Rob [Zangardi] and Mariel [Haenn] on some amazing costumes.
HK: Oh, I love that. It’s like when you were on The Voice, we’d all watch to see what you were wearing.
GS: It’s the same for you on America’s Got Talent. You have a supermodel body and can wear things that most people can only dream of.
HK: Like you have a hard time fitting into things … come on now!
GS: I just had some brownies [laughs]. My motivation for fitness is always clothes.
HK: What’s your favorite thing that you’ve ever worn?
GS: The red Yanina Couture dress I had on when Blake and I stepped out for the first time [below]. That was a magical night, and I loved the flowers. You?
HK: People probably recognize me most in lingerie with wings on my back. That might be my favorite too. I feel quite comfortable not having a whole lot on. Then you don’t have to worry about stepping on your dress.
GS: Ha! I wish I could feel like that.
HK: I loved your Harajuku looks a lot.
GS: My dad used to travel to Japan every year for work and bring home magical treasures. When I finally got to go, I couldn’t believe the fashion. I needed to share that with the world.
HK: And that was around when you started your clothing line, right?
GS: Yeah, and I got to experience your world of fashion shows and casting models. I loved it.
HK: Well, I love your designs, especially your snow gear with Burton.
GS: Thanks! It was fun to make because they said yes to all of my ideas.
HK: Whenever I wear it on the mountain, people stop me and ask where it’s from. I just say, “Oh, this is Gwen Stefani’s.”
For more stories like this, pick up the August issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download now.