Meet Héloïse Letissier – The Singer Who Only Wears Suits To Subvert Gender Expectations

She says she feels like a man in the morning but a girl in the evening.

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by Pandora Sykes |
Published on

In a time when on stage sexualisation and popstar nudity is at its controversial apex, French singer Héloïse Letissier - aka Christine and the Queens - could not have come along at a more prescient time. The 26-year-old singer from Nantes in France only wears suits on stage, to resist any sexualisation that may be projected on to her.

Now a popular singer in France - in part due to her refreshing attitudes towards gender - it all started when she moved to London in 2010, when she befriended the eponymous 'singing drag queens'. 'They convinced me to attempt singing,' Héloïse explained to _The Observe_r yesterday. 'They were my Queens... they had incredible freedom and they showed me there is no need to check yourself because of other people.' Gender fluidity not only influenced Héloïse; it is woven into the fabric of her music. 'I feel like a man in the morning but a girl in the evening' says the suit-wearing singer of her fluctuating gender.

Her suits are not made to emphasise androgyny over femininty, but rather to perpetuate a gender netural persona. Héloïse - who bears tattoos on her hands which read 'One of us' and 'We accept you', taken from Tod Browning's 1932 film, Freaks - sees not only herself as gender-less, but others, too. 'When I fall in love it is with a personality and not a gender,' she furthers.

You only need to look at the pop culture topography - and readhonest accounts about the music industry from young female artists - right now to wonder why Héloïse has crafted herself such a mercurial image. 'As a young woman I wanted to create a character who was outside the classic codes of seduction because I did not feel at ease with them.' She's quick to dismiss many stage comparisons, too. When French newspaper Le Monde compared her to the 80s Canadian-French pop star Mylène Farmer, Héloïse batted back ' No, she is sex. Me, I'm not very sexualised.'

Unsurprisingly, the singer cites David Bowie and most notably his gender-less alter-ego of 1972, Ziggy Stardust, as an icon. You can watch the video for her new single, Saint Claude and appreciate her equally fluid Michael Jackson-esque dance moves here. It can't be long before Héloïse and her kickass brocade two-pieces take the UK by its lapels and shake the music scene right up - just as she has done with cool ease, in her native France.

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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