Thursday, March 31, 2011

Iconic Love Letter: Rufus Wainwright

Throughout my life, I've been around musicians. My mom is a huge beyond amazing music buff, while my father himself is a musician. Both the Uncle's on my mom side played in bars, and I met all of their friends when taken to such occasions as a little one. Of course, I wasn't the coolest kid in the bunch back then, though I did sport a neat glitter coat from time to time in those days. One of the musical families that's always been in my own family in a real life basis has been The Wainwrights. Living only a few short minutes from the majority of their homes, various members of the Wainwright family have come in and out of my life. The one that sticks the most prominently to myself is Sloan, Aunt to our iconic subject today!

Sloan went to high school with my mom's side of the family and has been a part of their lives ever since. Because of that I was introduced to all of the Wainwright's music. One day though, something changed drastically for me. Aside from the careless tune I'd hear at the tender single digit ages, one song brought something in me that made me connect very deeply to one particular Wainwright. I'm sure all of you have heard Rufus's cover of Across The Universe, which changed my musical appreciation forever. Today on Iconic Love Letter, you will be introduced to Rufus Wainwright.

Rufus Wainwright, Son of Loudon Wainwright III, was born July 22nd. He grew up in a strange combination of suburban live style with some riches to be had. One of the first big breaks of his was at age 12, starring in a small film called "Tommy Tricker and The Stamp Traveler" (link here) in which he wrote one of his first songs "I'm-a Runnin"(This would lead him to be skilled at writing songs for other films later in the future). Even then you could tell he was incredibly complex and different from most kids his age. He slowly would become one of the most talented singers and songwriters of his generation. But wait... why is he being talked about as an icon on a Lolita Fashion blog?

Well, if you can imagine, Rufus is one of the most lolita appropriate songwriters. Though sometimes sad, his lyrics are filled with whimsical stories of fashion, quests of love, and most of his early lyrics relate to fairy tales. The best? He even wrote an opera - which takes much skill! Ready to learn my favorite things about this icon of mine and soon to be one of yours? Lets go!

It's easy to say that I first fell in love with Rufus because of his relationship to music. He makes some of the most beautiful melodies I've ever heard in my life, along with the most beautiful lyrics. But even beyond that, Rufus is someone to study, as well as to study his icons. One of my favorite albums of Rufus's isn't even his own music. Rufus in 2006 decided to re-create a famous Judy Garland concert, which resulted in the Live album "Rufus! Rufus! Rufus!". He sings circles around these classic tunes, especially my favorite shown in this clip. But for those new to Rufus, here is a small list of my three favorite albums and the best tracks on them for your listening pleasure.
  • Rufus Wainwright (self titled album) - "Foolish Love"
  • Want One - "I Don't Know What It Is"
  • Release The Stars - "Going To A Town"
All of these songs have very deep and emotional meanings, but absolutely beautiful to listen to. "Foolish Love" though has some of the best images out of all his songs.

"I will take my coffee black
Never snack
Hang with the wolves who are sheepish
Flow through the veins of town
Always frown
Me and my mistress, the princess
Oh, all for the sake of a foolish love"

He has so many more songs that speak volumes in their meaning, much of which are based on person experiences. "Dinner at Eight" being the best example, about his depressing relationship with his father. Though for me, my favorite lyric comes from "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk (Reprise)"

"still there's not a show on my back
holes or a friendly intervention
i'm just a little bit heiress, a little bit irish
a little bit tower of pisa whenever i see you
so please be kind if i'm a mess
cigarettes and chocolate milk"

Rufus always continues to inspire me lyrically and musically. He even puts elements of other famous tunes that you know and makes them have a modern dance oriented twist. My favorite example is "In Between My Legs" where he takes the famous "Phantom of the Opera" theme and gives it a bit of flavor and epic build up in the song itself. Speaking of Opera's what about his own? It's called "Prima Dona", which works so well for Rufus. I myself have not seen the show, but if you're interested you can find the details out here.

Rufus is known for more then just being an incredible singer, but also a man of amazing dress. If one was to take the elements of Elton John and mix them with the class of Carry Grant, you'd get basically the form at which Rufus is in terms of style. Rufus will sometimes come out in a special colored suit or on occasion will come dressed as Judy Garland a-la "Come On Get Happy" era. Either way, Rufus is both dressed up and casual, but either way looks polished to a T on every occasion. For that he should be given complete respect.

Rufus is known for doing lots of things amazing behind the scenes as well as on stage. Like mentioned, he has an incredible musical family that every time during Holiday season put together a special group concert in New York and England. Rufus has does a lot of charity concerts, mostly for Gay Rights organizations and AIDs funds. He also does a lot of local work for New York foundations and does local community shows to support them. Rufus has also be involved with numerous interesting relationships, including his friendship with designer Marc Jacobs. He's also friends with tons of celebrities, but in my opinion always looks better then all of them put together. But the best of all is his marriage to his partner Jörn Weisbrodt and his daughter Katherine.

I love Rufus more then I ever thought I would back so many years ago. He's incredible in what he does and in turn does it better then anyone else that attempts to duplicate his style. Though I'm not sure if I met Rufus back in my childhood, I like to image that the people that told me I did were right. I would have like to have thought I'd encounter such a magical and fantastic person such as Rufus. He's one of the those people that only comes once in a while and when he does you cherish him forever.

Interested in learning more about Rufus? Check out his website here. LVF will be celebrating Rufus all month long by having his music as the Tunes of the Month. I encourage you to check out all his albums and see if he is playing a show near you sometime, it's a treat to see and also Rufus has a sense of humor like no other. Enjoy Rufus and embrace his fabulous into your Lolita life!


  1. When I saw this in my Google Reader, I just about died. I have loved Rufus Wainwright since as long as I can remember. There's always a song to fit my mood (or to change it), no matter how I'm feeling. Thank you for writing this, to introduce his talent to more people (most everyone I know only knows of one song he's performed, "Hallelujah" from the first Shrek movie. It's disheartening).

  2. Thanks for the amazing comment Kelly! Made my heart smile big time :)

  3. My favorite Wainright song is "Another Believer". It sounds like the kind of song where someone has lost a lot of hope but they're still trying to stay up beat. It's a good tune.

  4. I LOVE Rufus! I've been madly in love with that man since I was, like, 12. Foolish Love is one of my favorites by him!