WATCH: Kylie's New Interview with District MTV
Exclusive Interview | Kylie Minogue
Written by William Oliver
Kylie Minogue's career is one that spans a plethora of reincarnations, a host of style changes and a variety of sounds, all the while maintaining and developing her loyal fan-base. She has been a visionary at the helm of an ever moving ship, guiding it cleverly and consistently emerging with a new yet on-point, contemporary version of herself. The latest of these butterfly-esque reinventions sees her pared back and soulful for her latest album, 'The Abbey Road Sessions', which celebrates her 25 years as an iconic pop princess. Noting the integral use of style and fashion throughout her various evolutions, we caught up with Kylie in the studio to talk about the album, her love of fashion and how important it has been to her over the years.
WATCH & ENJOY:
WATCH & ENJOY:
Exclusive Interview | Kylie Minogue
District MTV: How do you feel today, looking back at the evolution of your style throughout your career?
Kylie Minogue: I think I've had a taste of almost every basic style there is and being a natural chameleon, that suits me really well. I love to have fun and my style depends on what's happening in fashion at the moment, what's happening in my life, what I have done and what I haven't done.
D: Was fashion something you were always interested in?
KM: Ever since I was a kid. My grandmother taught me how to sew and cut patterns. I would scramble down to the market every week and buy scraps and trimmings to make clothes. The evolution to working with the greatest designers of my time feels extraordinary. On a creative level, it's been a symbiotic relationship between fashion, music and art. We're all in it for the greater cause of creation and it's fun to be a part of that.
D: I think when your fans think of Kylie as an icon, they remember the gold hotpants, the white jumpsuit…
KM: What's number one on the list? Is it the gold hot pants?
D: My personal number one is the white jumpsuit, but I'm sure lot of fans will go for the gold hotpants…
KM: I think they're neck and neck.
DM: And then maybe Kylie the Show Girl, do you have a favourite?
KM: It's hard for me to chose a favourite because they are all different facets of my personality and my 'show persona'. It leads me to think there's actually a lot more than that as well. Some days I'm a proper hippy, some days I look like I belong on a motorbike. I'm really quite schizophrenic with fashion. But I have to say I like the story of the gold hotpants.
D: What's story of the gold hotpants?
KM: My girlfriend bought them for 50p at a market; I think it was North End Road-in Kensington London. They were living in my cupboard for a while; the first time they had a night out I was with my boyfriend of the time, photographer and director Stephane Sednaoui. We went to a Nerds, Tarts and Tourists party and guess which one I went as? After that they loitered in the back of the wardrobe until my stylist, William Baker, was having a snoop around for the Spinning Around video. He pulled out these tiny gleaming things and said "What about these?" I like their very humble beginnings and that they went on to be one of the most iconic things I've ever worn.
D: Is there an aspect of your style that isn't so well known, but that you personally really like?
KM: The first one that comes to mind is the Balenciaga dress from the 'Slow' video, it was absolutely a work of art. It was such a tight dress, I was lucky I could move my arms around but still preserve modesty. People love that video and that dress, but it's one very much for people in the know. It doesn't have the same status as the John Galliano Show Girl, the vintage hotpants or the Mrs Jones jumpsuit from Cant Get You Outta My Head. I'm not even mentioning Charlene's overalls! They're in their own arena!
D: You mentioned William Baker, your stylist and creative collaborator. How has your relationship with him developed?
KM: Willy and I have been on such a journey together. He first accosted me in a Vivienne Westwood store sixteen years ago. There I was, minding my own business, going for a shop in Vivienne Westwood, when he cornered me. We ended up going for a coffee, which is quite random, as I don't often go for coffee with strangers.
D: So that's how your work together began?
KM: Yep; in a shop. He can drive me crazy, he can drive everyone crazy, but he's a visionary and he's bold enough to make things happen. He started out styling me for photoshoots with Katerina Jebb. We would do them at my apartment, in the street or at her apartment in Paris. I'd do my hair and make up and we'd just muck around. The first time Willy styled me, we wouldn't let him come to the actual shoot.
D: Why not?
KM: He was an interesting new friend, but he wasn't in the circle of trust, so it's hilarious that it turned out to be such a great shoot; the photos have been used a lot. It was basically all Vivienne Westwood because I think he was dating some guy who worked there. After that we let him turn up to the shoots and, as time passed, I'm sure he started to get a little frustrated that he was creating a lot of what was in the frame, but wasn't actually taking the pictures. He took up photography and then we started working on my tours together. His growth has been from a theology student and fashion fiend, to really becoming one of 'The Guys' in the business at the moment.
D: Has he ever pushed you or suggested something that you really didn't like?
KM: All the time, but I think you need someone who's going to challenge you. I've felt way too exposed or trussed up in the past, half the outfits I can't breath in and some of them I have to be cut out of. I end up having a panic attack and want to get the damn thing off. The Julien Macdonald dress I wore for the MTV Awards, where I sang with Robbie Williams, was so racy. I had William and a choreographer, 2 gays, in the dressing room with me. They rugby tackled me out the door shouting, "you have to wear that!" They were right. It looked fantastic, but what it feels like to be in something, and how someone sees you wearing it, are two very different things. Sometimes though, I do rebel and just say no. I carry a weapon in my handbag for such occasions and I'm not afraid to use it; a single Christian Louboutin heel, thrown across the room.
D: What makes up Kylie's style today?
KM: I suppose if I had to give you a simple answer, it's on and off duty. I guarantee you, the second I get home and I'm no longer on duty, it's very basic; flip flops, cut off jeans and a t-shirt. I'm Australian and come from a very simple life, I need that side of me to get some time in.
KM: I have Uggs. You can still get Uggs made in simple little shops in Australia, they'll have sheepskin and different soles out the back and you have them made.
D: So what goes into an on duty look?
KM: God-knows-how-many-inch Louboutins, Show Girl costumes, headpieces that are bigger than me and dresses that weigh more than me. I love the drama and the fantasy of wearing those clothes. Fashion like that can't be underestimated, because when you arrive on stage, even before everyone's heard your song, that outfit is sending a direct message.
D: The new album, 'The Abbey Road Sessions', is very pared back. Does that reflect a change in you musically and stylistically?
KM: I think the elegance of this album is something that is timely, based on where I am in my career and in my life. I've been able to do it confidently, I don't think I could of delivered the songs that way 10 or 15 years ago and it be believable. Talking about fashion and how it relates to music, there's a certain look that works with this type of album and then when I do the next pop album, it's going to be another thing again. I must say though, I'm grateful that my audience, my fans, like to see me try different things and express myself in different ways, it's very liberating.