“It’s mis­takes that can make all the dif­fer­ence”


Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Joe Hildebrand -

“I didn’t re­ally know what I was do­ing and just ran back and forth across the stage”

When Kylie Minogue be­gan the process of track­ing down 25 years of cos­tumes and memorabilia fo for an ex­hi­bi­tion on her (lit­er­ally) glitte glit­ter­ing stage ca­reer, she had one cru­cia cru­cial call to make.

“There were a few items the parentals were mind­ing,” laughs Minogue. “I, too, do the same th thing as every­one else: ‘Mum, Dad, can you just hold onto a few things forfo me?’ It’s just lucky they weren’t turfedtu out from un­der their watch­ful eye.”

Kylie On StageS­tag is the singer’s lat­est col­lab­o­ra­tion withw her beloved home­town’s Ar Arts Cen­tre Melbourne. She’s pre­vi­ousl pre­vi­ously do­nated a swarm of out­fits to the v venue, go­ing all the way back to the over­allsove she wore as tomboy me­chanic Cha Char­lene on Neigh­bours.

This new – anda free – ex­hi­bi­tion rounds up outfi out­fits start­ing from her first-ever live per­for­mances on 1989’s Disco in Dream tour. Still aged just 21 and dis­missed by some as a soap star who fluked a singing ca­reer, Minogue found her­self play­ing to 38,000 fans in Tokyo, where her early hits “I Should Be So Lucky”, “The Loco-mo­tion”, “Got To Be Cer­tain” and “Hand On Your Heart” had made her a su­per­star.

“From mem­ory, I was overex­cited and didn’t re­ally know what I was do­ing. I just ran back and forth across the stage,” says Minogue of her de­but tour.

Disco in Dream also pre­miered what would be­come a Kylie fash­ion sta­ple: hot­pants. “Those ones were more like mi­cro shorts, not quite hot­pants, but they started it,” she ad­mits. “There were also quite a few bi­cy­cle pants be­ing worn around that time, too, I’m afraid.”

That first tour stands out for one other rea­son: Minogue of­fi­cially started dat­ing INXS’S Michael Hutchence at some point dur­ing the Asian leg.

“I had met Michael pre­vi­ously in Aus­tralia, but he was liv­ing in Hong Kong [at the time] and I met him again there. The tour went on to Ja­pan and he def­i­nitely came to visit me in Ja­pan.”

Fast-for­ward from Minogue’s very first tour to her most re­cent, 2015’s Kiss Me Once, and the singer per­formed a cover of INXS’S “Need You Tonight”. She re­mem­bers first hear­ing the song as a teenager. “I don’t think I re­ally knew what sexy was back then,” notes Minogue. “But that’s a sexy song.”

Be­fore the Kiss Me Once tour kicked off, the Minogue/hutchence ro­mance had been doc­u­mented in the hit TV mini-se­ries Never Tear Us Apart: The Un­told

Story Of INXS. Minogue said then it felt like Michael was her “ar­changel” dur­ing the tour – “I feel like he’s with me.”

Her “Need You Tonight” cos­tume was also de­lib­er­ately cho­sen to re­flect what Minogue used to wear when she was dat­ing the rock­star. “It was a black PVC trench coat and hat,” she says. “I loved that. It just made so much sense for the con­nec­tion to Michael. I lit­er­ally used to wear that ex­act same kind of thing, ex­cept it was leather, not PVC.”

By 1990, Minogue’s con­fi­dence had grown, something she’s par­tially at­trib­uted to Hutchence’s in­flu­ence. Be­fore her first Aus­tralian solo tour, she per­formed a secret club show billed as The Singing Bud­gies – re­claim­ing the de­ri­sive nick­name the me­dia had be­stowed on her. It would be the first time her suc­cess si­lenced those who saw her as an easy tar­get. Next year marks her 30th an­niver­sary in pop; longevity that hasn’t hap­pened by ac­ci­dent.

MINOGUE’S CA­REER AC­CEL­ER­ATED so quickly that by 1991 she was on her fourth al­bum in as many years and out­grow­ing her pro­duc­ers, Stock Aitken Water­man, who wanted to freeze­frame her in a safe, clean-cut im­age.

On 1991’s Let’s Get To It tour of the UK, Minogue wel­comed on­board her first ma­jor fash­ion de­signer – John Gal­liano. He dressed her in fish­nets, G-strings and corsets; the Bri­tish press said she was try­ing too hard and im­i­tat­ing Madonna at her most sexed-up.

“Of course those com­par­isons were made, and rightly so. Madonna was a big in­flu­ence on me,” says Minogue. “She helped cre­ate the tem­plate of what a pop show is, or what we came to know it as, by di­vid­ing it up into seg­ments. And if you’re go­ing to have any cos­tume changes, that’s in­evitable.

“I was find­ing my way. I don’t think we got it right in some ways, but if I look back over my ca­reer, some­times it’s the mis­takes that make all the dif­fer­ence. They al­low you to re­ally look at where you’re go­ing. I’m fond of all those things now. There was a time when I wasn’t.

“Now I look back at the pic­turesp of the fish­nets and G-strings I was wear­ing... Maybe the au­di­ence udi­ence mem­bers ab­so­lutely loved it, maybe be they were go­ing through the jour­ney with me of grow­ing up and dis­cov­er­ing your­self and your sex­u­al­ity and where youou fit in the world.”

As the ’90s s pro­gressed, Minogue started ex­per­i­ment­ing ri­ment­ing with the outer lim­its of be­ing ng a pop star, work­ing with every­one ne from uber-cool dance pro­duc­ers to in­die rocker Nick Cave.

Her 1998 Intimate nti­mate And Live tour ce­mented her r place as the one thing no­body had ever ver pre­dicted: a reg­u­lar, global tour­ingg act. Re­leased the year prior, her Im­pos­si­ble­pos­si­ble Princess al­bum had gar­nered a cred­i­bil­ity ed­i­bil­ity she’d never be­fore en­joyed. But more cred­i­bil­ity equalled fewer record sales.

The tour was cau­tiously placed in the­atres, ratherather than are­nas. Yet word-of-mouthth led to more dates be­ing added – she wound up play­ing seven nights in both Melbourne and Syd­ney, and tack­ing on a UK leg. All re­ceived rave re­views.

The pro­duc­tionc­tion was low-key and DIY: Minogue e and long­time friend and stylist Wil­liam Baker were hands-on back­stage ck­stage be­daz­zling the cos­tumes them­selves. em­selves. The tour’s camp, Ve­gas-style show­girl­how­girl – com­plete with corset and head­dress ead­dress – soon be­came a sig­na­ture Kylie look, but it was also one they stum­bled mbled across.

“I re­mem­ber­ber the ex­act mo­ment: the male dancer­scers had pink, fringed chaps and wings ings – we’d re­ally gone for it. I was singing in­g­ing [ABBA’S] “Danc­ing Queen”.een”. I did a lit­tle prance e across the stage and d the au­di­ence went nt wild.

“I don’t think I re­al­lyy knew what sexy was back then. But that [INXS’SXS’S “Need You Tonight”] iss a sexy song”

I thought, ‘What is happening?’ That def­i­nitely started something.”

Then came the “Spin­ning Around” hot­pants. Minogue couldn’t wear the same gold pair from the mu­sic video dur­ing her 2001 On A Night Like This tour – they were too frag­ile – but an­other pair of­fered solid back-up.

“That was peak hot­pant pe­riod,” says Minogue. “Hot­pants for days.”

After the robotic-themed Fever 2002 tour (fea­tur­ing a “Ky­borg” look by Dolce & Gab­bana), 2005’s Show­girl tour was Minogue’s long-over­due great­est hits cel­e­bra­tion.

Fol­low­ing a mas­sive UK and Euro­pean run, her planned Aus­tralian vic­tory lap was de­railed by her breast-can­cer di­ag­no­sis that May. Re­mark­ably, by Novem­ber 2006, Minogue was back on­stage in Syd­ney for the re­booted Show­girl: The Home­com­ing tour.

“I look at that now and I’m hon­estly taken aback,” she ad­mits. “It was so fast – months and months of those 18 months were in treat­ment.”

Minogue now re­veals her health is­sues meant she had to ad­just some of the Show­girl out­fits: “I was con­cerned about the weight of the corset and be­ing able to sup­port it. I was quite in­se­cure about my body, which had changed. For a few years after that I re­ally felt like I wasn’t in my own body – with the med­i­ca­tion I was on, there was this other layer.

“We had to make a num­ber of ad­just­ments,” she adds. “I had dif­fer­ent shoes to feel more sturdy... It was pretty soon to be back on­stage. But I think it was good for me.”

The singer’s gru­elling per­for­mances in­volved danc­ing and singing in corsets, as well as ul­tra-high heels and head­dresses that weighed sev­eral kilos.

“A proper corset, like the Show­girl tour one, is like a shoe,” she ex­plains. “It’s very stiff when you first put it on. By the end of the tour it was way more com­fort­able. The fact it made it quite hard to breathe didn’t seem to bother any­one ex­cept for me. But it was ab­so­lutely worth it. I felt grand in it.

“It took a while to learn how to walk in the blue Show­girl dress,” she con­tin­ues. “I had cuts on my arms from the stars that were stick­ing out on pieces of wire. You’re so lim­ited in what you can do. You can’t bend your head to find your way down the stairs.

“Whether it was the Show­girl cos­tume or the hot­pants, or the big sil­ver dress from the Aphrodite tour [in 2011] that was just gi­nor­mous, they all present their own chal­lenges of how you’re go­ing to move and how you’re go­ing to do the chore­og­ra­phy. There are times the cos­tume can do that [fig­ur­ing out] for me; other times I re­ally have to wres­tle with it to do what I need to do.

“But you’re not meant to know about that,” she adds, “that’s an in­ter­nal strug­gle.”

MINOGUE HAS SPENT much of 2016 hap­pily off the radar, en­joy­ing the com­pany of fi­ancé Joshua Sasse, 28. She gets “gooey” talk­ing about her future hus­band, whom she met last year when she was cast op­po­site him in the TV musical-com­edy se­ries Gala­vant. He pro­posed to Minogue last Christ­mas.

Just like the “secret Greek wed­ding” that was ru­moured but never hap­pened, re­ports of sum­mer nup­tials in Melbourne are also off the mark.

“I hate to let every­one down, but no,” she says. “Peo­ple’s en­thu­si­asm is lovely, we ap­pre­ci­ate that, but there are no wed­ding plans as yet. I’m just en­joy­ing feel­ing girly and be­ing en­gaged.”

Minogue will be in Queensland next month film­ing the movie Flammable Chil­dren. The com­edy, set in 1975, fea­tures her for­mer Neigh­bours co-star Guy Pearce and is writ­ten and di­rected by Stephan El­liott ( The Ad­ven­tures Of Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert).

“It’s Aussie-tas­tic,” laughs Minogue. And she is also plan­ning a sneaky visit to check out her own ex­hi­bi­tion when she’s back in Melbourne.

“I’ll prob­a­bly try to move things around the ex­hi­bi­tion,” she says. “And they’ll prob­a­bly tell me off: ‘Who’s that child play­ing with the cos­tumes?’” Kylie On Stage is at the Arts Cen­tre Melbourne, Septem­ber 21 to Jan­uary 22.

“There are no wed­ding plans as yet. I’m just en­joy­ing feel­ing girly and be­ing en­gaged”

SIREN CALL Cos­tumes have long played a role in Kylie Minogue’s three-decade ca­reer; (op­po­site) a stun­ning red en­sem­ble from the Kyliex2008 tour de­signed by Jean Paul Gaultier.

STEP BACK IN TIME (from top left) Minogue with Michael Hutchence in 1989; draw­ing com­par­isons to Madonna in 1991; the show­girl in 2006; in 2011’s Aphrodite tour (op­po­site, the same cos­tume in the ex­hi­bi­tion);

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