The Sound of Fashion

Music and fashion have always been tightly wound around each other.  Music inspires designers and carries the audience of fashion shows to the ethereal – or not- so-ethereal – places the designer would have them go, enhancing the atmosphere. Fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris have launched the careers of many musicians and brought their music to the ears of the cultured populace that follows fashion and beyond.  Each fashion week represents more than 300 runway shows, over 100,000 people and over $800 million for the economies of those cities.

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Fashion and Music Go Big 

 Festivals have been conceived and organized to combine fashion and music to explore themes from climate change and the effects on the natural world to gambling the night away, such as the Palm Springs Life Festival debuting this year in California.  There is always great vision in all such combinations.

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The 2015 Spring Fashion Week New York was inspired by many unusual musicians.  Punk queen Siouxie Sioux inspired lines by Chicago designers Creatures of the Wind.  Designer Mara Hoffman styled her models in Willie Nelson braids and Jeremy Scott went with a 80’s pop look inspired by Amy Winehouse and the B-52s. This year’s show estimates show over 125,000 in attendance.

New Hits

 Fashion takes music to the next level.  Classic dress lines can be paired with rap music or neon glow in dark tube clothing with classical sounds, and the right show can make a new artist.  American rapper Zebra Katz is best known for his single “Ima Read,”  Virtually unknown, he was asked by Rick Owens to use the song at the 2012 Paris Fashion Week.  A week later, it had 200,000 hits on YouTube. Katz still remains very involved with fashion and has been likened to Grace Jones with his eclectic outfits and sculpted features.

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The lists of songs ran the gamut as well from Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me” for the Derek Lam line to Starsweeper’s “Boneless-Workout Mix” and Azealia Banks’ “212” at Alexander Wang shows.  H&M publishes their in-store music playlists on a Spotify channel – and also organizes memorable parties. Some designers and brands crave the lulling croons of an old-timey singer and some prefer the bouncing base of electronica. Every designer is different in his/her music and theme, which is why they put together a team that becomes the creative force guiding their vision.

Fashion Embraces Casino… Music?

In the fall of 2015, Karl Lagerfeld took the Chanel fashion show gambling.  He built a bustling casino inside the Grand Palais.  Chanel-branded gaming tables filled the center stage while slot machines lined the venue’s walls.  Lagerfeld invited all of his celebrity muses to play, including Kristen Stewart and Julianne Moore, while the models encircled the room.  The price for a show of this caliber?  Well into six figures.

The music playlist was decadent as the soundtrack was put together by Michel Gaubert and featured such artists as Rouge Mecanique, the Eurythmics and even Barry White.

Models present creations by German designer Karl Lagerfeld as part of his Haute Couture Fall Winter 2015/2016 fashion show for French fashion house Chanel at the Grand Palais which is transformed into a casino in Paris, France, July 7, 2015. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe - RTX1JD32

Models present creations by German designer Karl Lagerfeld as part of his Haute Couture Fall Winter 2015/2016 fashion show for French fashion house Chanel at the Grand Palais which is transformed into a casino in Paris, France, July 7, 2015. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe – RTX1JD32

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 Of course, this isn’t the type of music you’d usually find in a real casino.  Most don’t really notice it, but behind the din of chiming slot machines and cheering tables, the quiet, lulling sound of Muzak or soothing classical music can be heard.  Perhaps that is why many professional poker players bring in their own playlists and wear headphones while they are playing: to concentrate, relax or get their adrenaline moving.  Some of the biggest names in professional poker, like Vanessa Selbst and Bryan Huang, even publish their playlists to inspire players new to the poker scene.

Funny enough, coming full circle, some professional poker players even design their own line of clothing. Fourteen time World Series of Pokers bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth has his own line called Poker Brat clothing. Beth Shak, an American pro poker player, has a shoe and handbag collection to rival Fergie. However, we find it unlikely either of these lines will be featured at any of the 2016 Fashion Weeks in Paris or New York to the music of Zebra Katz!

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Who’s the Real Star?

Some fashion shows announce their musicians alongside their models.  Victoria’s Secret announced that their 2015 show would feature musicians Selena Gomez, The Weeknd and Rihanna, which caused as much a stir as the lovely VS angels usually do.  The show had well over 2 million viewers worldwide.  Oftentimes, when the lights come up and the beat begins to play, a song is in perfect harmony with the fashion that hits the stage.  “Could You Be Loved” by Bob Marley was an obvious choice for Tommy Hilfiger’s Island Life attire at the 2016 New York Fashion Week.

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Other designers are more daring, such as rap singer Leikeli47 singing “F*&K Up the Summer” for Alexander Wang. In other cases, things are irrepressibly odd such as former Spice Girl gone famous designer, Victoria Beckham, choosing the interesting Norwegian duo of Lindstrom and Christabelle.

Music and fashion will always go hand in hand.  Musicians make the music. Designers devise the fashion. Music moves the models and fashion touches the world. And hand in hand, they can obviously achieve more. We just wish they’d embrace sustainable fashion as readily as they embrace music.

About The Author

Aleksandar Tomovic
Editor in Chief

French photographer (of Serbian Origins) lives and works in Los Angeles. Known for his celebrity fashion editorials and recognized around the world for his european esthetics and american efficiency.

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