A few days ago, this blog brought you part 1 one of Roisin's interview with Clash magazine. Now get ready for the second part. There's also some more of those gorgeous pictures...
Keep it Loose – Part 2
A longstanding advocate of quirk, Murphy has often been lauded as a leftfield style icon. Modelling for Vivienne Westwood in 2005’s Fashion Rocks, her sartorial get-ups have been consistently glamorous and cutting-edge. For Overpowered’s album sleeves and video Murphy enlisted previous collaborator Scott King, former art director at i-D and Sleaze Nation. She leans forward excitedly when talk turns to art direction and costumes – a passion that now, with more money in tow, Murphy can fully explore. For Overpowered, the “tension between the off-stage and on-stage persona” was the visual narrative. “I love being a performer and I embrace it completely,” Murphy affirms. “I love the mythology of performance and the magic of it, but I would like to break down some of the myths of what happens when I walk off the stage and who I am, and show the juxtaposition between those two.”
So Roisin is shot on a busy suburban high street dressed in extravagant Viktor and Rolf ensemble, attached to a lighting rig blaring spotlights across her face, as she hold plastic shopping bags, “like I’ve just been to Iceland for me tea. There’s one where I’m in the pub and one where I’m in the cafe in a red knitted avant-garde costume.”
The need to prove she’s in touch with the “normal people” could seem a little condescending, but Roisin is hardly a princess. On the contrary, she’s down to earth, headstrong and roguish, with a fiery Irish streak that has had unsuspecting stylists shaking in their boots. As one poor sucker discovered upon suggesting an asymmetric hairdo for her video.
“I live as far away from all that asymmetric hair as you could possible get!” Murphy exclaims, still flabbergasted at the suggestion. “So I went into our library, pulled out 25 books of film stars and photography, and showed them exactly what I wanted. Has anyone else got any more references? No? Good, well let’s go with my idea then.”
A force to be reckoned with, but why mess with a good thing? Roisin has independently cultivated a aesthetic, recently finding inspiration in 30’s and 40’s styles and Katherine Hepburn – another fiery performer. Using clothes from a gamut of new and established designers, in her self-styled video for Overpowered she sported London designer du jour Gareth Pugh’s cyber extravagance.
“I don’t wear that stuff in a fashion way, I wear it like a performer,” Murphy insists. “I wear it a jaunty angle, thrown on with absolute irreverence and that’s they way it should be for me. It brings a bit of humanity and that’s what people relate to.”
Style queen she may be, maintaining a connection with her audience is Murphy’s main concern. But after twelve years in the business, having carved a reputation as an artist who breaks the mould, does Roisin Murphy still strive to push the boundaries?
“I’ve always tried to stretch myself. There’s an innate boredom within me, a consequence of that boredom is experimentalism. I’m bored most of the time, so I find challenges. The challenge on this one was not to be too experimental, because I am natural curious, but to work with new people and to retain a naivety through all the high production.”