Aretha Franklin

Perfume Genius On His 'Very Naughty' Album Artwork for 'No Shape'

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After featuring his headshot on his 2014 album Too Bright, Perfume Genius mastermind Mike Hadreas decided on a more mysterious angle for No Shape, out today (May 5).

When putting together a mood board for fashion photographers Inez and Vinoodh, the indie songwriter included a photo of Queen Elizabeth II as a teenager and the album art to Patti Smith’s Horses. Hadreas also found inspiration in Googling words like “ancient” and “witch.” “I wanted the art to be supernatural, but not horror, necessarily,” he explains.

With the help of stylist Mel Ottenberg (who recently designed Rihanna's Met Gala look), Hadreas stood in a white shirt and leather pants with one of the legs split open -- an accident Hadreas found “very naughty” and decided to leave in. The contrast between the genderless outfit and the piercing text -- intended to look like glossy nail polish -- captures the album’s scope. “The songs are warm, but the lyrics are more dissonant,” he says. “There’s a bubbling discomfort, so I wanted the art to be that way.”

This article originally appeared in the May 13 issue of Billboard.