Barbican’s Disruption: A Fashion Performance on Saturday night provided a mesmeric concoction of fashion, music and dance, inspired by the current Barbican Art Gallery exhibition Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion and the diversity of East London.
The highlight of this event came in the form of an enchanting show from critically-acclaimed ensemble, The Irrepressibles. The group has previously been described as inhabiting the realm of ‘Chamber Pop’ and its songs, whilst probably too sophisticated for chart placing, most certainly have a lovely whiff of highly-stylised pop music about them. Witnessing The Irrepressibles’ melodious and intricate compositions (from their 2010 album, Mirror Mirror) brought to life in concert, the uninitiated would also have been pardoned for thinking they were watching an art installation.
Jamie McDermott and company were a perfect cherry on the top of the Barbican’s Disruption cake, bringing a fashion and dance edge to their music. McDermott (wearing a suit and a glittering Philip Treacy hat) at times had the physical stance of a sensitive Elvis Presley. Notably, albeit McDermott possessing an air of an immensely-watchable frontman, his bandmates proved equally as fascinating – not just because of their costumes, but also due to their musical virtuosity, not to mention their subtle and effective choreography that accompanied the music.
From the cinematically epic I’ll Maybe Let You (also the opening track of Mirror Mirror), The Irrepressibles swanned through their repertoire with a sonic loyalty to the respective studio versions. Some of the defining moments of the night came in the form of My Witness, Nuclear Skies and final encore, In This Shirt, although it has to be said that, at no point was the tingling of spines permitted to pause throughout this very special evening.
Finally, special mention should also go to support band, Gabby Young and Other Animals, who proved that life is much more civilised when the headline act you have come to watch also has a fantastic warm-up.
By Doron Davidson-Vidavski
Future Beauty: 30 years of Japanese Fashion continues at the Barbican Art Gallery until February 8.