“I get money, I get paper I get girls, all different flavours/ I buy Gucci, I buy Prada / I spend dollar after dollar.” So famously brags R&B artist Drake on the chorus of his chart topping single ‘I Get Paper,’ one of many examples in pop music where luxury labels are associated with the high life. Beyond the lyrics is a much deeper relationship between music and fashion that has evolved over time into something quite special. Read on for our roundup of the latest band and brand collaborations.
MUSIC AS A MUSE
Many musicians use style to define their public image, their sometimes-extravagant commissions allowing fashion designers a long-term creative outlet separate from their respective maisons. Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic cone bra was for instance immortalized in Madonna’s 1990 Blond Ambition Tour and 22 years later he is still a creative influence when it comes to pop’s reigning queen.
Madonna wears Jean Paul Gaultier while performing 'Vogue'
A 3D variation of the cone bra in black patent leather is a key performance piece in her latest MDNA world tour. Madonna pairs it with a white shirt, suspenders and trousers to get into character as an old-school gangster type. A slew of other top designers who also contributed one-of-a-kind costumes to the show include Alexander Wang, Jeremy Scott for Adidas and long-time collaborators Dolce & Gabbana who themselves can count an impressive fraction of the music industry as loyal devotees, from Lenny Kravitz to Kylie Minogue.
Lady Gaga’s ever-evolving style choices are also a prime example of music and fashion’s combined effect. The product of her own fantastic imagination, Gaga’s alliances with the likes of Giorgio Armani are frequent topics of discussion. “Collaborating with Lady Gaga is always an exciting experience for me,” says Armani, “I admire the way she uses fashion as a scenic element and as a means to build a character."
Giorgio Armani sketches of Lady Gaga's new concert outfits
The two recently teamed up to realize an otherworldly series of bodices for her Born This Way Ball, an Electro-Metal Pop-Opera concert series. One costume comes accessorized with gloves ending in mirrored nails, robotic thigh-high boots and a matching headpiece, while another features transparent Plexiglas, black crystals and a headpiece made to look like a keyboard with violins and an electric guitar jutting out from her shoulders. "Creating stage costumes for her is a stimulating and creative exercise," affirms Armani.
The Del Rey bag from Mulberry
The British house of Mulberry is also a great patron when it comes to new music. Their parties are often the hot ticket of the season, especially their annual BBQ and pool party at Coachella music festival in California. This year’s party featured a midnight acoustic set by rock group Kasabian. Mulberry Creative Director Emma Hill even found her current muse via the airwaves in the form of Lana Del Rey, dedicating the new Del Rey handbag to the American songstress.
Certain progressive fashion houses are going one step further and searching beyond the Billboard charts for their musical inspirations. Burberry Acoustic has been instrumental (pun intended) in introducing new UK acts to global audiences. “We decided to organize ongoing acoustic sessions from some of the finest talent coming out of the UK and bring them to the global Burberry audience,” explains Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey. The new fall/winter campaign puts Burberry Acoustic talent Roo Panes front-and-centre, thus promoting both its ready-to-wear collection alongside its musical pursuits.
Burberry Acoustic group Wolf Gang
Also on the bandwagon is Hugo Boss whose Hugo Tracks project spotlights the electronic music scene. The Hugo Lifestyle Blog publishes fresh tracks, videos, backstories and exclusive reports on their partner artists. The selected acts this year are Siberian DJ/singer Nina Kraviz and Danish musician Kasper Bjørke. As official Hugo Tracks artists, Nina and Kasper share their preferred outfits for clubbing, spinning and travelling online from the new Hugo fall/winter collection.
SETTING THE TONE
Ever head into a boutique and hear a song that suits the atmosphere just right? It’s no coincidence as more and more brands are creating dedicated-ambient tracks to set the mood in their stores. Along with its fine Italian suits, menswear brand Pal Zileri also sells its own compilation CD called ‘The Sound of Elegance’ which blends its take on charm with smooth music.
So the next time you’re out shopping your favourite brands, lend your ear to what’s coming through the speakers, chances are there’s a story to it.
Madonna's MDNA Tour
Lana Del Rey: Mulberry's latest handbag muse
Fashion at the Coachella Music Festival