Fashion roared back to life this season—musically speaking, that is.

With few live performances for the spring 2010 runways, designers in all the fashion capitals returned to using musicians to set the mood for fall. At his William Rast show in New York, Justin Timberlake promoted Memphis progressive hip-hop/rock-soul band Free Sol (which happens to be signed to his Tennman Records label). The band performed over tracks by The Dead Weather, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Tom Waits, adding a live feel and a depth of sound. Vena Cava enlisted pop-rock California cuties The Like, who performed songs from their upcoming album, while Cynthia Rowley hired one of her favorite bands, Preacher and the Knife, to perform at her Gotham Hall show. Brooklyn duo Soft Circle complemented Tess Giberson’s collection with guitars and synthesized sounds. Elisa Palomino’s soundtrack merged classical music from the turn of the 20th century with Chinese jazz from the Twenties via three vocalists: Brett Umlauf, Amber Youell-Fingleton and Shien Lee. At Alice + Olivia, glam-rapper Mickey Avalon worked it between two Champagne-pouring dancers.

Isaac Mizrahi chose jazz band The Bad Plus for a third straight season, and Zac Posen invited Israeli hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari to perform.

London also got a dose of live music courtesy of Courtney Love’s impromptu performance at Alice Temperley’s party at Selfridges.


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