Kind of Vibe Edition 6
This edition presents my wee reviews on the new albums from J-Hud and Emma Donovan, plus Bjork’s ‘Biophillia’ on the big screen! But firstly…
‘The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. From The Sidewalk to the Catwalk” National Gallery of Victoria
“Jean Paul Gaultier creates a world everyone wants to live in” Nathalie Bondil – Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
“To conform is to give in“- Jean Paul Gaultier
I was lucky enough in October to go to the exclusive media briefing of ‘The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. From The Sidewalk to the Catwalk” for a sneak preview of the couture and hear JPG himself chat about the exhibition.
Firstly we had croissants (of course), coffee and OJ’s in the great hall while our guest speakers introduced the work and gave us a brief history on the exhibition and its evolution since its launch at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2011. After a passionate speech from Nathalie Bondil the director of the MMFA and heartfelt speech from curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot Jean Paul entered stage right to thunderous applause.
JPG was electric! He told the media he loved the spaces at NGV and that he was thrilled the exhibition had arrived Melbourne. There was humour mixed with social commentary throughout his speech, referring to himself as a ‘dinosaur’ yet speaking about the future of fashion and its important role in humanism and social equality.
He stated ‘beautiful women speak’, and emphasised how important it was to him that the mannequins were ‘alive’. I didn’t really understand what he meant until I walked in to the exhibition and saw the mannequins speak and look at me! Faces are projected on to the mannequins and they talk, sing, and look around which is a little freaky until you acclimatise to the style. Once you adjust to the interactive feel of the exhibition, you see the couture come alive through the diverse looking models, which aligns with the humanist ideals of JPG’s work and his desire for equal social representation in the fashion industry.
The exhibition is split into a few different rooms- the boudoir which hosts JPG stunning corsetry (and Madonna’s cone bra), another exploring his punk era, then rooms containing pieces influenced by traditional prints and ethnic dress and more! Favourite pieces of mine include the gorgeous gold jumpsuit worn by Beyonce during the Fashion Rocks 2008 charity gig (when she did a duet with JT), the beautiful award ceremony frocks and the almost-mermaid sequin gowns.
This exhibition allows the public to see elite couture close up, normally reserved for royalty, famous artists and extremely wealthy people for the first time. It enables the public access to this exclusive world and is a cavern of inspiration and opportunity for dreaming.
I highly recommend heading down to NGV for a dose of fashion bliss. If you can head down on a Friday night to catch a live band play in the Great Hall even better. I had a ball DJ-ing in the hall during the Italian Masters series so looking forward to heading there for an off duty night soon! Check it out here.
See that jumpsuit in action:
Jennifer Hudson ‘J-Hud’
Serious contender for pop album of the year is Jennifer’s newbie titled “J-Hud” (very ‘street’ darlings). I’ve never been a J-Hud fan before so I didn’t except I would love this album so much but I am now completely converted! I thought she was brilliant in Dreamgirls and even liked her role in SATC 2 (loved that designer bag gift moment with SJP). I knew she had a set of pipes but didn’t have any of her albums.
The album has been described as J-Huds launch into disco and as a 70s revival album. Maybe that’s why I like it so much! There are definitely some disco and soul elements throughout the the record but to me in sounds more like a seventies-via the 90s throwback if you know what I mean! (there was a huge disco 70s influence going on in the 90s so that makes sense). Collaborating with Timabland, Iggy Azalaea and Pharrell, this album is full of catchy hooks and Houston-worthy vocal moments.
Favourite track “Just That kind of Girl”
I Can’t Describe
Emma Donovan and The Putbacks
This stunning collaboration sees Emma Donovan (The Black Arm Band, Stiff Gins) team up with Melbourne’s funk outfit The Putbacks to create this unique cross over record. This is a really special album and is truly a new-leaf moment in Australian soul. The album has a sweet soul sound to it with some 70’s disco-ballad flavours in parts, largely due to the vintage recording style and incredible musicianship and arrangements by The Putbacks. What sets the album apart from so many modern soul albums is Emma’s vocals. Her unique timbre (slightly low-layrnx sounding at times like Sarah Vaughn but more of an aspirated husky sob without the vibrato) and her delivery and phrasing are unique for the genre. The album has clear soul influences however Emma brings a real earthy quality to the tracks. You can hear her country roots influence at times but it works over the compositions. She unapologetically sings in her own style, she doesn’t sound like she is trying to be anyone or anything. She doesn’t sound like she is trying to be Aretha or Etta or even a ‘soul’ singer. She is simply telling her story and singing her songs with a soul influenced band. Her lyrics are poignant and authentic. She is a natural storyteller. The Putbacks play with respectful restraint for the song and the lyrics but when they get a moment to shine they really deliver. No crazy or unnecessary chops on this album, just beautiful soulful playing to support some honest storytelling. The unexpected collaboration of the year.
Favourite track: Dawn
Bjork – ‘Biophillia’
Oh my goodness! Bjork on the big screen. This stunning production is simply mesmerising on the big screen. I was fortunate enough to catch a screening at ACMI and loved hearing Bjork on their delightful sound system. Bjork is ageless, timeless and an incredible artist. I loved every aspect of this show. The staging in the round, the Icelandic choirs, specially built instruments, commentary by David Attenborough and clever interweaving animation on the screen behind. The concept truly works and the musicianship and arranging is sublime. Highly recommended.