Cal McIntyre


The Last Dinner Party’s Big Feelings — & Bigger Gowns

The most stylish rock band right now is inspired by Chloë Sevigny and opera costumes — but don’t try to put them in a box.

In the music video for their art-pop hit “Nothing Matters,” The Last Dinner Party delivers a crash course on style. After opening with their take on Victorian funeral garb, they jump to jewel-toned Renaissance fare, and then crisp lace tops and babydoll dresses of the Virgin Suicides variety. It’s decadent sartorial whiplash, but that’s what’s made the London-based rock act one of the most stylish bands around right now.

The five 20-somethings of The Last Dinner Party — made up of lead singer Abigail Morris, Lizzie Mayland, Emily Roberts, Georgia Davies, and Aurora Nishevci — met in 2020 while attending different universities in London. Morris, Mayland, and Davis, who were all housemates at King’s College, had already started a band when a mutual friend introduced them to Nishevci and Roberts, who says she remembers being drawn to Morris’ “unique-sounding” early demos. Then, they spent the year perfecting the group’s creative concept: an outsize, baroque-pop vision for what a rock band could look like.

The Last Dinner Party at Glastonbury 2023.Jim Dyson/Redferns/Getty Images

The allure of The Last Dinner Party is intertwined with the band’s coquette-meets-Renaissance-faire style, which has become one of its hallmarks. At their live shows, the five members sway onstage in frilly, cascading gowns, billowing blouses, lace-trimmed corsets, and flower crowns. But that’s only one part of The Last Dinner Party aesthetic: “Sometimes we wear gowns, and that's part of the theatricality,” Morris says. “But we [also] want to experiment with fashion.”

Citing influences ranging from Chloë Sevigny and David Bowie, to Meryl Streep and the costume departments of London’s National Theater and Royal Opera House, the members describe their style as “maximalist and magpie-like.” But it doesn’t always manifest as a ballgown, Morris says. They’ve also worn belt-size mini skirts or massive platforms, and will play with different expressions of gender and time periods — like pairing a sequin butterfly top with a baseball cap. “We don't do things to please an imagined crowd or critic, and I think that's what's appealing [to our fans],” Morris says. “We're being very sincere about our tastes.”

Since their earliest shows in 2021 and 2022, where they dressed in simple lacy pinafores and aprons, their getups have only grown more elaborate thanks to the roster of young designers from the U.K. and Ireland now dressing the band. They’ve sported billowing frocks from Sophie Spratley’s Rabbit, bow-adorned corsets from Fennuala Belle, and ruffled loungewear from Kitten by Kate. And their fanbase is paying attention: Recently, Morris donned a custom jacket from designer Rosie Evans for the band’s opening slot on Hozier’s European tour and prompted a huge spike in sales after she posted a photo of it. “It’s such a cool thing to hear because it's great to be able to help our friends,” she says.

“We don't do things to please an imagined crowd or critic, and I think that's what's appealing [to our fans].”

And they’re involving their audience, too, by setting playful (but unenforced) dress codes, like “Brothers Grimm” or “Folk Horror” at their live shows. That way, everyone can participate in reveling in the big feelings The Last Dinner Party is known for — their debut album, Prelude to Ecstasy, teems with euphoria, explosive joy, ecstatic pain, and grief — that’s reflected in their big, expressive wardrobe. “I tend to write lyrics that are very visual, cinematic and rich,” Morris says. “[The fashion and music] go hand in hand.”

The Last Dinner Party’s ‘Prelude to Ecstasy’ is out now.