The Cultural Connection Between Music and Shoes

The Cultural Connection Between Music and Shoes

Hey friends and super fans, just some late evening thoughts here on shoes. Yes… You know I love my shoes! Well.. except when they get in my way on stage!

Some of you know I kick off my fabulous shoes on stage in order to be more free to dance and move off and on the stage and among you! It’s amazing how much people mention this to me, and the connection between what I do with my footwear and my music. I was once described as the “barefoot passionate redhead” on stage. Barefoot signifies so much to people…. from freedom, to poverty, to a sexy don’t care attitude… and it’s been included in my show description! As I prepare to start hitting stages again this April, I started thinking about the connection between culture and shoes, and how much more they are than a functional item we put on our feet, even beyond fashion.

Rolling Stone recently published its list of the top 25 most stylish musicians and in the article, the publication emphasized how the “look” of the music is as important as the sound. To entertain an audience, you need to look the part. This may be why the most famous musicians often set fashion trends and create viral moments that reshape our sartorial choices. Fashion in music tells us what’s culturally important, and sets the standard for everyone else. Most importantly, this long-standing connection transcends countries, age groups, and even decades. Gone is the idea that someone’s music, someone’s work, someone’s politics speak for themselves. Today, every choice we make indicates dictates much about people’s impression of us before we even play a note of music, or speak or whatever the case may be. Do we need to consciously move away from this? Can we? Those of you who know me well, know that I LOVE a beautiful pair of pumps, but I also love my music and my pumps should never dictate whether or not my music is deemed to be liked or not! Seems silly but we all do it!

Shoes signify identity and research tells us that owning certain shoes and brands allow people to cement their social identity and connect to larger cultural trends. I remember years ago, one of my favourite Australian actresses once did an interview where she took a stance on environmental issues as she was in a mining town… and then promptly ridiculed on the national news for wearing shoes which required materials that were mined!

Heading back to musical realms, during my degree at Sydney University, shoes and one’s fashion often indicated what instrument you studied. I hate to generalize, and yet I can! Opera singers were often dressed colourfully and stylishly while the string department often wore dark and boring colours, and never dared to stand our in fear of being ridiculed at Friday morning concert practice. Classical music lovers slip into more formal attire and dressy shoes as a sign of honouring tradition and status, much of the time unless you’re Nigel Kennedy and you can almost tell if someone listens to R’n’B or alternative rock from the type of sneakers they wear.

These days, shoes themselves now have passionate fan communities…. this blew me away- one of the most prominent online sneaker platforms I discovered is SoleSavy. As a mom, I wear sneakers a LOT… but I might not join a fan club for them! But this apparently happens! So they promote their sneaker community as fun, safe, and inclusive. Members can discuss their kicks, attend special events, and even help each other build their shoe collection. Sneaker communities can even help you figure out which sneakers your favourite musicians and celebrities are wearing. I wonder if there’s an online community for violinists that love Christian Louboutin? Or opera singers who love red lipstick! Any of you out there? This could be a new thing! Especially if restrictions don’t end soon, yikes! I’d much rather be drinking a lovely red wine and discussing it in person but perhaps this is a good alternative? I miss events like “Wine Women and Shoes”. Perhaps Sole Savy can come up with something like that.

Prince had a signature look on stage, and even his own line of shoes. I had no idea! This is pretty amazing, and these shoes are not to be missed…. check them out! His collection has an other-worldly feel, rich in colours, materials, and details created in collaboration with designers like Donatella Versace. Aside from showing how Prince challenged the status quo of fashion, the exhibit also extends the discussion on how people are naturally drawn to effusive expressions of beauty. And with all that’s going on in the world today, we should seize small doses of happiness wherever we can.

I must go off now and consider what shoes I might next wear on stage! Hoping to draw you all in with my music into effusive expressions of fabulous music!

See you out there…. Sophie XO

My On-Stage Style!

My On-Stage Style!

Imagine you’re about to do your first large performance. You’re practiced and ready to play. You feel confident on stage! What are you going to wear? Women ask themselves this question every day, let alone where it impacts your musical brand and your business.

So many questions to ask…Is this a recital situation where you’re going to wear all black? Or are you going to choose to show your personality and style? Sometimes as musicians, many of us will have an inbuilt sense of style that guides us. Some of us just need a stylist to interpret our personality and music into a style that we recognize as our own. Everyone has their path!

When I was studying for my degree, I heard all the time that it doesn’t matter what you wear, and despite the fact that I’m known for wearing flamboyant outfits and gowns, during my degree, it was nice not to wear heels, and to just focus on my playing. Even that can be taken too far though! I once wore flip flops and jeans and T shirt to an exam, and lost points for that. I guess I took the instructions that what you wear is not important, a little too far.

I have had situations where a I have been loaned beautiful items to wear, which is amazing, and I’m so grateful for those opportunities! Sometimes however, they just don’t work, for example, very long earrings that will hit the body of my violin… heels that are difficult to walk in let alone dance in… dresses that don’t suit my very curvy figure, or dresses that have such a long train in a material that doesn’t slide along the floor easily, so I know I’m going to get stuck somewhere if I move around the room.

So, when I am choosing wardrobe for my performances, I consider these important factors as a violinist:

  1. First of all, I need to LOVE IT! It has to reflect my style.
  2. I need freedom of movement of my arms and shoulders. If I really love it… can I get it altered to work for me?
  3. If I plan to interact with the audience and move during the show, I consider how I will deal with a long flowing dress or train, and try it on during a rehearsal to make sure it will work.
  4. If I’m traveling, how will the outfit fair with a long plane ride, and will I need dry cleaning/steaming on the other end? Will it be easily available in a timely fashion before the show etc…
  5. Is it suitable for the event/concert I will be playing?
  6. Does it work for my figure?
  7. Will it easily host my mobile sound equipment? i.e. my wireless transmitter and my in-ear monitors?

Personally I LOVE the colour red! I also love statement pieces, and just being who I am. I love wearing dresses that accentuate my movements on stage and add to the drama! I love pieces that become a part of my show and my trade mark, and it’s just so FUN! My years in theater and dance have definitely taught me that costuming is a large part of the show, and it really is. The way you interact with the audience, the way you tell your story with your instrument and the way that you dress all adds to the experience.

I have definitely had my style crisis moments, but in the end, it wasn’t really a style crisis! They were identity crisis moments after years of being told how I really should sound and what I really should look like. Years after being told I need to be more blonde, thinner/curvier, whatever it was….. I have learnt that how we present ourselves to the world as a huge impact on our careers, and in music, it is even more amplified in my opinion, and when we are sure of who we are as people, as musicians, that the choices become easier. For me, aside from the practical choices that need to be made when choosing a wardrobe that works for stage, discovering and knowing who I am, is the most important thing!

Sophie

xoxo

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Sophie’s stage wardrobe have included gowns, hair, jewellery and outfits by:
 
Louis Vuitton
Just Cavalli
Galliano
Toni & Guy Australia
Stephen Khalil
Rachael Gilbert
Cerrone Jewellery
28 Twelve by Sienna Miller
George Gross Australia
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Sophie on the cover of HERS Magazine wearing Canadian designer Chloe Angus.

Sophie on the red carpet at The Toronto International Film Festival 2012, wearing designer Sherri Hill

  Shear Luxury, Sophie wears Canadian brand UNTTLD

 

 

 

Photo Shoot in New York City

Photo Shoot in New York City

Right now, I’m in Brooklyn NY shooting new photos with Hannah Sider. Having a fun time running around NYC and Brooklyn!

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love this Gucci dress…

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One of my FAVE pieces from the shoot – by Vivienne Westwood. Oh and these shoes!!!

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Night on the town wearing some Hunt Amor jewelry…

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And…. TOP of the Empire State Building! New York- you are UNBELIEVABLE in a great way.

Sophie Dionysius Empire State Building

Dionysius and I had a blast! If you have any questions about wardrobe let me know! Send me an email! 

Sophie xox