Every Gay Reference We Could Find In Troye Sivan’s Wonderful ‘Bloom’ Music Video
The video is jam-packed with more references to queer icons and artists than you can count - so we've done it for you.
It’s currently Pride month in the US, and to celebrate, Troye Sivan has served up a stunning music video for ‘Bloom’ that’s jam-packed with more references to queer icons and artists than you can count. So many, in fact, that we’ve done it for you.
When ‘Bloom’ came out last month, Sivan quickly confirmed the song was a “bop about bottoming“, and the song was celebrated for being a tender depiction of gay male sex — something we still characterise as carnal, á la Brokeback Mountain.
It’s suitable that the video — directed by frequent Vogue contributor Bardia Zeinali and styled by Kyle Luu — is a pantheon of queer art, fashion and history, seeing Sivan dance and command attention in the poses and looks that have previously been a source of strength and expression for the LGBTIQ community.
So many looks — our favourite has to be the blue feathery Valentino hat by Phillip Treacy, who also designed Frances McDormand’s scene-stealing headpiece at the Met Gala.
Comparisons aplenty are floating online, as fans compare the video’s vibrant colours to a Monet painting, and call Sivan a lovechild of Prince, Sinead O’Connor and David Bowie. But here’s what — and who — we’ve found within the video.
Sivan’s leather-floral S&M look at the video’s end is an unmistakable nod to Australian designer and performance artist Leigh Bowery, whose overdrawn lips, over-exaggerated silhouettes and colourful balaclavas were a precursor to New York’s avant-garde club kid scene of the ’90s.
In fact, you can see Bowery wearing something very, very similar to Sivan in a ’90s tv appearance on the UK’s iconic The Clothing Show.
Robert Mapplethorpe’s influence is far-and-wide, so it makes sense there’d be several references to the American photographer.
Much like the extended metaphor of ‘Bloom’, Mapplethorpe intertwined the eroticism of the male body with flowers, believing them to be one and the same — he was as famous for his portraits of the gay S&M community of 1970s New York as he was for his still life portraits of orchids.
Suitably, ‘Bloom’ features its version of both, the disembodied close-ups of arms and backs resembling Mapplethorpe’s own tendency to isolate hands, feet and some more NSFW body parts.
Considering how fashion conscious this music video is, it makes sense that Sivan would pay homage to Madonna’s iconic ‘Vogue’ music video, which features dancers from New York’s underground ballroom scene. Rather than go the black-and-white route, Sivan’s mopped one of Madonna’s looks and donned a pin-striped suit.
The baroque-pop aesthetic of ‘Bloom’ has its share of forefathers, but it’s clearest that the entire clip is indebted to the visuals surrounding No Shape, Perfume Genius’ spectacular album from last year.
The painted backdrop, the ethereal flowers, the red pants and singlet combo (and even some of Sivan’s jolting dance moves) are all Mike Hadreas hallmarks. You can spot them all in Perfume Genius’ music video for ‘Slip Away’.
Since Sivan hasn’t gone the full Culture Club, his beret and eye shadow read as an amalgamation of both Boy George and George Michael in ‘Do You Really Want To Hurt Me’ and ‘Monkey’. There’s also a touch of mime in there too, which, as we all know, is undoubtably the gayest art form in the world.
Jared Richards is a Staff Writer for Junkee, and the co-host of Sleepless In Sydney on FBi Radio. Follow him on Twitter.