Music, Maestro!

Between the after-parties and the runway soundtracks, New York Fashion Week is almost as much about music as it is about fashion, and this season is no exception.

Pillow-lipped chanteuse Lana Del Rey‘s been in the news a lot lately. Sure, her SNL performance was panned, but she looks great in clothes, and for the fashion flock, that’s all the matters. Her angsty pop songs have been the de acto soundtrack throughout the early part of Fashion Week, most notably at Doo.Ri’s show, where a remixed version of Born to Die played throughout.

Another newcomer is Harlem’s Azealia Banks, a witty, NC-17 rapper whose playful lyrics and street chic style have earned her editorial shoots with A-list photographers for V, GQ, and ELLE magazines. Thierry Mugler designer Nicola Formichetti directed the video of her upcoming single, “Liquorice,” and Terry Richardson shot her for the next issue of T. Banks played a private party at Karl Lagerfeld’s home in Paris during the couture shows last month and her song was in heavy rotation at the Rebecca Taylor and Tracy Reese shows this week.

Old-school rappers Raekwon and Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan performed “Bring Da Ruckus” and “C.R.E.A.M.” at Made Fashion Week’s launch at Milk Studios Thursday night, while fellow Clan member Method Man watched from the sidelines on crutches.

Cabaret group The Citizens Band has serious fashion cred, from its members (model Karen Elson, it-girl Sarah Sophie Flicker and actresses Zoe Kravitz, Zooey Deschanel, and Rain Phoenix all sing for their supper) to its political-themed songs, to its look: Edwardian-slash-Weimar Republic-era finery. They performed to a packed house at Erickson Beamon’s presentation Thursday night – a perfect accompaniment to his vintage-inspired jewels and clothing.

Theophilus London, on the other hand, is a thoroughly modern musician – part rapper, part soul-pop/R&B. So it was no surprise to find him on the runway of au courant designer Rebecca Minkoff’s show, where he sang a live version of his hit, “I Stand Alone.”

On the more mellow tip, pianist Aku Orraca-Tetteh tickled the ivories at the Milk presentation of NAHM’s wallpaper print collection, while Erin Fetherston employed harpist Ashley Jackson when showcasing her ethereal-elegant frocks on Saturday night. And mention must be made of the many DJs who play both the shows and the after-parties, from the W Hotel Fashion Next shindig to Alexander Wang’s semi-annual blowouts.

Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.

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February 14, 2012