Though seemingly at its most frenzied in New York, Fashion’s Night Out is a global phenomenon. Tonight, as excited fashion patrons flood the high streets of London, dramatic “noir pop” duo Alpines will take the stage at All Saints’ musically-charged fete on the nexus of Regent and Oxford Streets, an event destined to be among the evening’s most attended. Catherine Pockson and Bob Matthews’ dramatic, soulful sound – like that of their crepuscular friends, the xx, a dark sonic palette best enjoyed at night – has already captivated the U.K. pop community, while a supporting role on Florence and the Machine’s recent tour has elevated their status internationally. Their new EP, Early Hours, is out in October, while a full-length debut is expected in 2013.
Thanks in part to Pockson’s luminous, otherworldly appearance – tall, dark-haired, ivory-skinned, and often in clothes that resemble sculpture – the fashion world has also become smitten with Alpines, with many designers rushing to work with them in some capacity. Rolling Stone spoke with Pockson about their Fashion’s Night Out performance and upcoming campaign with All Saints, her own studied approach to art and design, and what Spring 2013 would look like if she controlled it.
What shows might you check out this Fashion Week? Are you performing at any other fashion related shows?
As far as we know, we are not playing at any another Fashion Week events, but it would be great to attend some of the catwalk shows. I would love to see my friend Fannie Schiavoni’s collection of jewelry and accessories – she is incredible. I also love Mary Katrantzou’s designs, and it has always been my dream to see a Vivienne Westwood show, as she has been my icon for years. We are in the studio finishing off our album at the moment, so that is taking priority above everything else, but hopefully we can take some time off.
Can you talk a little about your upcoming All Saints campaign?
We have been working with All Saints for the past couple of months, primarily on their first-ever TV advert, which airs in the next few weeks. We have been working on syncing our latest song, “Got Me Wrong,” into the advert. We also feature (very briefly) in the ad itself and will be part of the photographic campaign, which will be seen online and in the stores. It has been a really exciting process for us.
Is Alpines a band that concerns itself with fashion overall?
I would say we do concern ourselves with fashion, definitely. I think this is probably more my influence on the band than Bob’s! I studied fashion design and have always been interested in the different designers and movements across time. That said, Bob has a great sense of style, and we both like to make sure our look, onstage and off, in the videos and photo shoots, is strong and exciting. For me, artists such as Prince have always fascinated me, not only because I love their music but also because their presence is enhanced by the clothes they wear.
Have your connections to fashion influenced or evolved your look in unexpected ways?
Definitely! I evolve my look quite fast, purely because I love to experiment with different styles, and my love of fashion design and photography certainly influences that. It is never unexpected for me, though, because I am open-minded to change and adaptation.
What designers do you feel a special affinity for?
I feel a real affinity with Hannah Marshall, partly because she is a good friend of mine, too. I love how on the outside there is a severeness to her look and her designs, but once you peel away the initial layers you find a world of elegance and timeless beauty with her work. This mirrors what she is like as a person, too. For me the best designers are open-minded and open-hearted, and Hannah is both those things. I also love Georgia Hardinge’s designs – she is also a very exciting up-and-coming designer. I know this probably sounds really cliché, but Alexander McQueen is one designer whose designs I spend hours studying and falling in love with more and more. He [was] a true artist, maybe even a genius. I think I am too in awe of him to feel an affinity as such! But his work always has and always will mesmerize me.
Watch Alpines’ video for the new single “Chances”:
What factors predicate your style decisions for stage and photos? And for everyday wear?
This is a great question, because there is definitely a distinction between what I wear onstage and what I wear everyday. This is mainly because of the way in which I approach the two. For me, getting dressed to perform onstage is an honor, and I find it so exciting pushing boundaries and seeing how far I can experiment with textures and silhouettes. Factors that especially affect my outfits for the stage would be what time of day and what venue. I like to adapt accordingly. If I am playing a festival in the middle of the day, I like to experiment more with colors and flowing fabrics – Georgia Hardinge’s designs spring to mind here. If I am playing a club night, where the lights will be intense, I like to wear metallics and more fitted outfits.
For everyday wear, I am slightly more practical. If I am going to be in the studio for 15 hours, I have to be comfortable. But that doesn’t mean I’ll wear a tracksuit – it means I’ll go for a maxi dress and blazer, still keeping sharp lines, but in a more relaxed manner.
If you controlled the whims and tides of Fashion Week, what would we be seeing on the runways this week?
Oh, wow. The thought of controlling fashion week makes my head spin! I don’t think I could ever do such a thing, but I would love to have a day of seeing all my absolute favorite designers in, one after the other. That said, I love how you can come across someone you love that you may never have heard of before at fashion week. This was the case when I came across Mary Katrantzou’s collection last year. In a way it is a bit like a music festival – keep an open mind, and you never know what you might find.
What is one perfect/idealized item for your wardrobe you’re still searching for?
I would love a really full shaggy wool coat with loads of volume in the body and arms that is cut on the waist. I am also on the quest for a colored, maybe patterned suit. Florence Welch wears them so beautifully and has inspired me!
When can intrigued Americans expect a proper U.S. release and tour?
Soon, I hope! I would guess next year, once the album is out. Then we can plan a proper tour and travel all over the States.