March 07, 2014 by Lisa DeSantis
The relationship between music and fashion is simply undeniable. With designers dressing some of the biggest music artists, and singers in return working designers’ names into their popular ballads, everyone can see the connection that exists between the industries. One of the biggest elements of designers’ fashion shows is the music that drives the models down the runway. Recently, it has become more apparent that certain designers collaborate strictly with particular artists. Interestingly enough, the pairings don’t always seem cohesive, but the mix of the clothing designs with differing music makes for a remarkable combination.
During New York Fashion Week, Diane von Furstenberg made the bold decision to have St. Vincent perform live during her fashion show, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of the DVF wrap dress. Usually, a disc jockey will play a mix of different artists’ music, but with a live music performance it is all up to the one act, and it adds a completely different dimension to the show. An amazing aspect of this new practice is that the musicians get more exposure than if their tracks were just played by a DJ. While there are apps such as Shazam that can identify a show’s soundtrack, having the musician present allows show goers to put a face to the name of the artist. Annie Clark, who plays under the stage name of St. Vincent, is a singer and guitar virtuoso with lavender hair who puts every ounce of her energy into her eclectic sound. Clark’s energy resonated with the crowd, and it became impossible to not be excited about the DVF looks being sent down the runway. An added bonus for St. Vincent was that her latest album was released Feb. 25 and the DVF show was Feb. 9.
Rebecca Minkoff is another designer who chose to feature live music at her runway show. Minkoff chose AlunaGeorge to perform, a British electronic music duo. Between Minkoff’s strong looks, models with dark lips and the pop beats coming from the music group, the crowd was thoroughly entertained. The experience was transformed from a simple runway show to a concert.
Fashion designers contribute a great amount to musicians’ overall looks. It adds credibility when an artist is seen wearing the latest styles and trends. Fans look to their favorite bands and solo artists for fashion inspiration, making the correlation between the two even clearer. Artists such as Madonna, Beyonce and Gwen Stefani have even gone on to create their own fashion labels. Fans of their music want to dress like them and when musicians have a label, it is a way of making this possible.
With artists such as Kanye West, Drake and Jay Z dropping the names of their favorite designers left and right, there is no denying that music and fashion go hand in hand. Young people sing along to these songs that they hear on the radio without even knowing they are reciting the names of high-end brands. In West’s 2008 song “Pinocchio Story,” he cites three designers in three lines: “There is no Gucci I can buy. There is no Louis Vuitton to put on. There is no YSL that they could sell.” Migos’ song “Versace,” featuring Drake, is named after the Italian fashion company. In similar fashion, no pun intended, Jay Z has a song titled “Tom Ford” with the notorious line, “I don’t pop molly, I rock Tom Ford.” Songs such as these introduce designer names to people who may not have been exposed to them otherwise, and who may eventually aspire to own something by the brands that are named.
The relationship between the two art forms is understandable based on the fact that both design and music are forms of expressive creativity. An appreciation for both makes for a well-rounded person who can recognize the vision of both kinds of artists and the process that they go through to share that vision with others. What music is to the ears, fashion is to the eyes.