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WWD Collections issue 04/13/2009

Fall runway played like one of those TV compilations of Eighties and Nineties hits mixed with quirky live performances ranging from cool jazz to classical bombast.

The New York sound track reflected personal preferences: Alexander Wang showed his love of Eighties hits — as did other designers — like “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. Tory Burch chose a mix of Estelle, Mos Def, Black Lips, INXS and The Rolling Stones. Composer Igor Stravinsky’s “Suite No. 2” and Sebastien Tellier’s version of “Clair de Lune” lullabied Erin Fetherston’s guests. And Y-3 kept it simple with a collection of Carole King tunes. The live performances also seemed close to designers’ hearts. Donna Karan chose jazz pianist Eric Lewis to accompany her collection, while Isaac Mizrahi had The Bad Plus jazz band perform original music written for the show. Zac Posen enlisted piano virtuosos The 5 Browns to perform their classical repertoire, and at Diesel, Dutch DJ-producer Joost Van Bellen orchestrated a four-piece band that performed songs such as Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” along with background sound bites from movies The Shining and Casablanca.

This story first appeared in the April 13, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Stepping into the tents in London felt like a Nineties flashback. Christopher Kane played the sound track from 1994’s cult film Natural Born Killers, while Hole’s “Celebrity Skin” blared at Noir/Bllack Noir. And at Erdem, kooky French quartet Oh La La stole the show, as did Londoner W Brown at Ashish.

Milan runways continued with the Eighties theme, too, either quoting, referencing, remixing or covering songs from that go-go era. This translated into suggestive lyrics at Gucci and Versace, a Tina Turner medley at Giorgio Armani and Grace Jones tracks at Blumarine. But not every designer was feeling reflective. Luisa Beccaria and Etro chose tunes by Duffy, Adele and M.I.A., while Dolce & Gabbana played U2’s latest single, “Get on Your Boots.”

The mood varied in Paris. Chanel had a sense of romance playing Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby” while John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier struck a playful note with the outlandish version of “Roxanne” from the film Moulin Rouge. Karl Lagerfeld went for the peculiar live act by electronica group Metronomy, and Alber Elbaz requested tribal rhythms from Paris-based DJ Ariel Weizman to accompany his Lanvin collection. And at Gareth Pugh, sampled sections of the The Shining popped up again, this time by artist Matthew Stone to go along with his composed track for Pugh’s fashion movie.

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