Vampire Weekend’s “Preppy Image” & Lilly Lovers Make a Heart

Hello-Hello, happy new week to everyone.

While we don’t own any Vampire Weekend music, we have gradually listened to more of their music over the years. (“More” is a relative term, we probably couldn’t name 5 songs.) And we have certainly written about the band’s image in this space before. The group has a new CD coming out tomorrow; in advance of that release there has been substantial coverage of the group, its image, music and many other things the last several weeks.

Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of the City

Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of the City

We thought it made sense to revisit the group’s ‘preppy image’ topic by sharing a bit from a story in the Irish Independent last week. First, a contemporary look from the music video for the new album’s first single, Ya’ Hey.

Vampire Weekend Facebook

Vampire Weekend Facebook

Now to that Independent story by writer Ed Power.

Of course, the question you really want to ask Ezra Koenig is: why are you so hated? Is it the fancy-pants Ivy League degree? The preppy good looks? The boat shoes?

He knows people, thousands of strangers, don’t like him, believe his band Vampire Weekend to be a bunch of jumped-up trustafarians who have coasted to the top of the charts on privilege, rich-kid charm and a well-thumbed collection of Paul Simon LPs. He okay with that. Lately, he can even chuckle at it.

Here’s a 2009 photo from the group’s Facebook page.

Vampire Weekend Facebook

Vampire Weekend Facebook

According to the story the preppy image seems to have been something cultivated for the band’s branding, the following is a quote from Mr. Koenig.

“The preppy image – we knew what we were doing,” he says. “I didn’t grow up in a preppy household. I never dressed that way.

As a refresher, here is an image from a 2008 Underground Top Ten piece.

Underground Top Ten

Underground Top Ten

And a 2007 photograph, this one via Stereogum.

Stereogum October, 2007

Stereogum October, 2007

But even looking at a March 2013 Fader cover story, it’s still a fairly prep look.

Vampire Weekend Facebook

Vampire Weekend Facebook

For those unfamiliar with the band’s backstory, they all attended Columbia. In the Independent article (and in many previous interviews) Mr. Koenig addresses this.

He appreciates why people would have a picture of him in their head as a privileged jerk, though. Going to Columbia, he encountered plenty just like that.

“I can give you a million reasons why I don’t fit the stereotype of the rich college kid,” he says.

“But, you know, I did go to those schools. It doesn’t surprise me that, in a deeply unequal society, things that are seen as a status symbol are going to anger people.

It’s safe to say I’m feeling rather moronic, I never presumed the wardrobe was more of an image-making maneuver than a reality. The following is from a story in Canada’s Globe and Mail last Friday:

But enough with the condescension; Vampire Weekend has received enough of that since the release of its self-titled début in 2008 (and again with 2010’s Contra). The indie-rocking New York quartet could not shake its preppy, advantaged reputation – sweater-wearers listening to Afro-pop and arguing about Oxford commas well into the Cape Cod night.

From a very limited scan of reviews it seems critical reaction to the new album is fairly positive. It seems rather unfortunate that so much time and energy during the group’s early years was spent on the group’s look as opposed to the band’s sound. It makes me wonder if VW had simply avoided stressing the prep styles, would the music have been what was discussed and commented on, as opposed to the clothes they were wearing?


We also wanted to share some bright and sunny pictures most Lilly lovers will enjoy. In honor of the late Lilly Pulitzer, the West Palm Beach Green Market hosted a fun event yesterday.


West Palm Beach Green Market

Banners were set up with some of Lilly’s more iconic sayings.

West Palm Beach Green Market Facebook

West Palm Beach Green Market Facebook

This is one of my favorite Lilly quotes.

West Palm Beach Facebook

West Palm Beach Green Market Facebook

The Market was filled with a whole lot of Lilly.

West Palm Beach Facebook

West Palm Beach Facebook

There were mothers and daughters (and some Dads, husbands, brothers) sporting their Lilly. Below, Vicki Angelini and her daughter, Mary, from a story in the Palm Beach Daily News.


Meghan McCarthy/Palm Beach Daily News

And here is the heart made by those in attendance.

City of West Palm Beach Facebook

City of West Palm Beach Facebook

On that chipper image we say g’bye until next time!



Filed under preppy

2 responses to “Vampire Weekend’s “Preppy Image” & Lilly Lovers Make a Heart

  1. I have loved VW since their first album. I love the music. My son, the biggest music snob around, kind of laughed at them at first, but now he is a fan – due in large part to their wonderful lyrics. For me, their music always puts me in a better mood. Sounds like summer to me.

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