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Mike Hadreas a.k.a. Perfume Genius. Photograph by Luke Gilford.

Musical Notes

Rising musician Perfume Genius, cast in "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" as an officer with a fondness for eyeliner, puts on a pretty face.

Though he has been around since 2008, composing achingly emotional piano ballads, Mike Hadreas, the Seattle-based musician with the fittingly captivating nom de star Perfume Genius, seemed to explode onto the world stage last fall with Too Bright, his bold and confident third album (“No family is safe when I sashay,” he sneers on the glam-rock single “Queen”), which made just about every critic’s best of 2014 list. “There’s a ton of stuff in my life I’m not proud of,” says Hadreas, a recovering drug addict. “This record isn’t one of them.” And with the album has come an androgynous-chic wardrobe to match. Inspired by mid-’70s David Bowie, Grace Jones, and Patti Smith, and facilitated by the stylist Sean Knight, Hadreas’s look consists of vintage suits, stilettos, slinky metallic tops, and sturdy leather harnesses. “I want to be provocative and exude power. But I also can’t help wanting to look pretty.” As such, he often sports lipstick, and is rarely seen without a bright red manicure. “I always have my nails done. That way, I can’t hide.”

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