Will Young: ‘If I were to do this concert now, I’d probably wear a skirt’

The singer on the beauty of wearing white and anything that pushes the boundaries of gender norms

I wore this Burberry shirt and Alexander McQueen suit for the Concert for Diana memorial, 10 years after her death. It was a big event and I wanted to make it as brilliant as possible, right down to my white shoes. People might think you should go for a big splash of colour to stand out when lots of acts are performing on one stage, but white is the best and simplest option.

‘My stylist had been bidding on eBay until the last minute for the ring I wore’
‘My stylist had been bidding on eBay until the last minute for the ring I wore.’ Photograph: Jon Furniss/WireImage

I would not often advocate wearing all white; if you’re going to a party or something then just forget it. It is also very unforgiving. I couldn’t eat anything once I had the suit on, and I had to walk around with tissue paper tucked into my collar to make sure I didn’t get makeup on it. I was performing a song called Switched On, as well as Leave Right Now, but [the concert organisers] tried to pull all the dancers at the last minute. I had the eight girls backstage, all in their outfits, so I was like, “No way – I’m not turning round and saying we’re not using them any more.” I said I just wouldn’t perform. That, twinned with the tissue paper stuffed in my collar, was quite a look.

My hair, which I’d had darkened slightly, had a little quiff to it. My stylist had been bidding on eBay until the last minute for the ring I wore. The guy who she bought it from was in Germany and he messaged her the following week to ask if I had been wearing it for the concert. He was really pleased to see that it had found a good home.

I would wear something quite different if I were to do this concert now – probably some sort of skirt or very wide culottes. Nowadays I love wearing Japanese designers. I also like Craig Green, JW Anderson and anything that slightly pushes the boundaries of gender norms. After that performance, I found a white Victorian crumpled skirt with lots of layers, which I love, and now I wear it all the time. I think men can look amazing in skirts – everyone says men look great in kilts but they are the same thing! Why is a man in a skirt “in drag” while a man in a kilt is considered very masculine? It’s only down to the fact that people have a problem with the label.

Will Young’s album Lexicon is released on 14 June 2019.

Contributor

As told to Leah Harper

The GuardianTramp

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