Reb Fountain takes us inside her wardrobe on stage
Reb Fountain is gearing up to shoot her indelible new album, Iris, across Aotearoa.
If you’ve seen Reb Fountain perform live, you’ll know it’s not an experience you’ll soon forget. With a gender-defying voice that manages to be both sensitive and assertive and her sultry, soulful artistry on stage, Fountain’s stage performance is utterly mesmerizing.
Born in San Francisco, Fountain has been playing guitar since she was in the single digits. The Fountain family emigrated from California to the idyllic port of Lyttelton, and so the singer-songwriter grew up on the streets that also shaped some of our country’s finest contemporary alternative folk artists, such as Aldous Harding.
Her time in the UK and in her native North America, where she studied at a jazz school, further enriched the deep and varied influences that continue to manifest in Fountain’s transcendent musical style.
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In 2021 Fountain received wide acclaim for her self-titled album which won the Taite Music Prize and was nominated for five New Zealand Music Awards, the same year she was shortlisted for the Silver Scroll Award for her song Don’t You Know Who I am.
She followed this critical success by releasing her next album Iris, an honest collection of songs written during confinement.
The pandemic influence continued after the album’s release, forcing the cancellation of the 2021 tour, but next week Reb and his band will finally hit the road.
They will tour the album to eight locations on the motu, including a headlining performance at Auckland City Hall as part of Elemental Nights 2022, before heading overseas in October to open for fellow Lyttelton alum, Marlon Williams, on his UK and European tour.
Like his musical and vocal leanings, Fountain’s approach to clothing is effortless, dramatic and unique.
I wear a lot of black. It helps me feel like myself. Whenever possible, I like to wear vintage/pre-loved clothes or designer pieces whose clothes are ethically produced. I’m not into fast fashion.
I don’t like to be defined by gendered clothing styles. I like comfort and clothes in which I can move or create interesting shapes.
I like my clothes to show off but not eclipse; complete but not carry. I want to feel like they’re an extension of who I am rather than for show; effortless and dramatic, serious or playful – whatever I feel like.
Clothes allow me to enter into myself on stage. It motivates me and helps me get lost in the moment. Is it costume or fashion? I don’t know if there’s a difference – we all dress up all the time; costume allows us to transcend ourselves and transcend societal norms, but in many ways fashion does too.
I love the idea of reducing the binary and embracing ‘play’ and ‘exploration’ when we dress; for any occasion. I wore a custom Zambezi dress on stage at Womadelaide, Australia in March. She danced so well on stage and made beautiful shapes.
When I’m not playing I like clothes that look like pajamas; loose, comfortable, unbreakable and good for dog walks.
I was a big fan of Cyndi Lauper and Madonna and was particularly inspired by the huge lace bow on top of her teased hair… loved this look. That, and the spiral perm.
The oldest thing in my wardrobe is my 1940s german trench coat for women with puff sleeves. It has a fishtail stocking and a neck scarf, and it’s a dream.
My dad’s “cowboy” suede roller skates are very sentimental to me. There’s nothing like riding in style. These vintage classics are lined with sheepskin for comfort, faster than lightning, and just the kind of heirloom your kids can grow into.
My aunt Renée gave me a huge black wool and cotton blend scarf that I wear everywhere, especially in winter. It doubles as a cozy blanket, an eye cover when touring, and an impromptu mask.
REB WISH LIST
– Custom handmade cowboy boots by Flora Knight, a Kiwi shoemaker and fiddler now based in Guthrie, Oklahoma, USA.
– An Antarctic Merino and Possum helmet beanie by Harry Were.
– Emma Lewisham Skin Reset Serum, $148.
– Classic Mahsa Gentleman Shirt, $395 (on sale)
– Any luggage from the Gucci HA HA HA collection by Harry Styles and Alessandro Michele.