By  on October 29, 2007

Live music upped the ante for runway production values this season.Fashion show or rock concert? This season, a handful of designers did away with prerecorded soundtracks and DJs and set their collections to live music, ranging from the soft and melodious to the loud and raucous. Oscar de la Renta, whose show took place inside a former church, booked The Polyphonic Spree, a 23-person symphonic rock collective that resembled a chorus of hipster angels. Dries Van Noten hired the Bamboo Orchestra to pound out traditional Indonesian rhythms, while Trovata had both bongo drums and former Jane’s Addiction lead singer Perry Farrell at the mic. Adding a more lyrical touch was French popstress Micky Green, who serenaded the audience at Vanessa Bruno (and then became a hot attraction offstage at Chanel as Karl Lagerfeld escorted her through the frenzy). Some bands transformed into models, such as Brit rockers Sister, who wore Luella Bartley’s geek-chic designs as they entertained on her catwalk. And then some designers transformed into bands. Rodnik’s Richard Ascott and Philip Colbert morphed into a rock group and played to a crowd of scenesters following their London presentation (the next stops on their tour: 10 Corso Como in Milan and Maxfield in Los Angeles, of course). Prince started singing before his bum even left his front-row perch at Matthew Williamson. He quietly crooned in his seat, then hopped up onstage, where a small band had been assembled; strapped on his guitar, and played “Chelsea Rodgers,” named after his eponymous muse—who also happens to be a friend of Williamson’s and was a model in the show. “The whole thing was so bizarre,” said Williamson. “It was only when Prince arrived at the tent that I started to calm down.” Those who missed the spectacle need not fret—the footage from the performance (which Prince did free of charge in honor of Williamson’s 10th year in business) will be used in the artist’s upcoming music video for the tune.

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