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Fashion roared back to life this season—musically speaking, that is.
This story first appeared in the April 12, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
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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In Milan, the ethereal voices of the pop-opera group Passionata performed stirring pieces during the Luisa Beccaria show, where the acoustics of the 18thcentury Braidense National Library were surprisingly good, despite the venue’s wall-to-wall books. On the female pop-concert front, American Diane Birch played at D&G’s headquarters, converted into a pop-up club for the night, and Pixie Lott performed after the Moschino Cheap and Chic show celebrating the opening of the Maison Moschino Hotel. C’N’C Costume National continued its “Milano Loves Fashion” event, opening its runway show with London party girl and aspiring singer Pixie Geldof and ending with a concert by electronic group Fischerspooner. And The Rodnik Band—the label that combines music, art and fashion—performed for the launch of its capsule collection at OVS Industry in the San Babila store window.
In Paris, live acts included French power-pop band Pony Pony Run Run at Paul & Joe, dark cabaretpop act Venus Gets Even at Martin Grant and electro-rock group LCD Soundsystem at Yves Saint Laurent. At Jean Paul Gaultier, Serbian musician/ visual artist Goran Vejvoda conceived and mixed a soundtrack and live musicians performed over it.
A few designers are always good for a movie soundtrack, like Purple Rain at Balmain; “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, done four ways at Marc Jacobs; And God Created Woman at Louis Vuitton, and Vertigo playing at Dries Van Noten in Paris and at Iceberg in Milan.
But if music on the runways is getting too predictable, there was the roar of motorcycles at Versace, stampeding hooves at Antonio Marras and the whir of a helicopter at Jil Sander.
—Tara Bonet-Black, Scarlett Kilcooley-O’Halloran, Rachel Mascetta, Katya Foreman and Sara Miller
WWD’s Top 10 Runway Music Picks
“Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers (Vera Wang)
“Psychic City (Voodoo City)” by Yacht (Adam)
“Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, covered by Karmina (Ralph Lauren)
“God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys (Wintle)
“You Can Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward (Roksanda Ilincic)
“Sour Times” by Portishead (Gucci)
“Your Song” by Elton John, covered by Ewan McGregor from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack (Dolce & Gabbana)
“I Would Die 4 U” by Prince (Balmain)
“They’re Not Waving” by Vyvienne Long (Christian Dior)
“Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson (Celine)