Five Musicians Setting the Tone at Fashion Week - Rolling Stone
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Five Musicians Setting the Tone at Fashion Week

A peek at the artists who will be emulated on the runways

fashion week influencefashion week influence

Azealia Banks, Frank Ocean, Lana Del Rey

Andy Sheppard/Redferns via Getty Images, 2; C Flanigan/FilmMagic

The musicians that color the mood of Fashion Week change every season, but certain iconic names – Madonna, Mick Jagger, Debbie Harry, Patti Smith – tend to pop up as yearly references in major shows. Americans love a musical motif, and at its best, New York Fashion Week can feel like an eight-day long concert, theater and design experience in one. With an invigorating new crop of musicians that have captured the style world’s attention, Spring 2013 should be an eclectic experience for all. Here are five musicians we think will set the volume and mood this Fashion Week.

Lana Del Rey
This singer’s influence over the glamor set seems pretty obvious. Del Rey’s curated melodrama riveted the fashion world over a year ago, even before the music world erupted into polarizing hysteria over her authenticity as an “artiste.” The ongoing love affair between Del Rey and fashion continues to flourish, with her own Mulberry bag and campaigns with H&M and Jaguar already secured. That her songs will dominate the runways for Spring 2013 is more or less already a given, but don’t be surprised to see her style – Ophelia crowns, Sixties cat-eyed makeup, virginal white dresses and Priscilla Presley references – pop up in a show or two, as well.

Azealia Banks
The insurgent young rapper’s verbal ferocity and interest in early Nineties house and ball culture has already earned her a stand-alone niche in culture. Her sense of style is refreshingly removed from any current trends, owing more to the steely glam witnessed in Crystal Waters, Grace Jones and C & C Music Factory videos from two decades ago. Her latest clip for  “1991” aptly captures her allure – all power shoulder suits and purple lipstick. It may be the year she was born, but it also appears to be the year she’s obsessed with resurrecting. Expect entranced nightlife-loving designers, like her fan and collaborator Alexander Wang, to follow suit.

Thanks to her insatiable curiosity for aesthetic oddities and a great stylist in Laurel St. Romain, Miss Claire Boucher has evolved into an idol for the digital fashion set. In her latest video, “Genesis,” she sports Gothic Lolita pigtails, capes, sabers, fingerless gloves and enormous ponytails, accruing about ten different subcultural visuals into one Internet-addled fever dream. Her oneiric tunes evoke the kind of half-evaporated dream qualities designers love on their runways, and her refusal to commit to any particular trope makes her an ideal muse for New York Fashion Week’s young and restless. Expect many “elfin” or “ethereal” looks attributed to her influence.

Frank Ocean
With Channel Orange, Ocean has become a true star, and a subtle style presence in his own right. His look is all about gently resetting expectations: a cool color-blocking moment here, an elegantly piped dinner jacket with a tee there, the occasional Western tie. Menswear thrives on such gradual evolutions, so Ocean’s cues are all in the right place. Most of all, Ocean represents being your truest self, so fiercely individualist designers like Siki Im or Robert Geller should appreciate a new contemporary ideal to design for.

Florence Welch
With her fashion magazine covers, much-discussed collaborations with Gucci and Chanel and status as one of Anna Wintour’s chosen ones, Florence Welch represents a relatable update on Kate Bush’s ghostly, tower-voiced maiden prototype. Her ruby-hued halo of hair, six -foot-tall stature and icy complexion make almost any garment look commanding, a quality in a muse designers die for. But Welch’s flair for Stevie Nicks-level drama – sweeping fabrics, columns of dark velvet, Art Deco gowns – is why people truly gravitate to her style, and in part why celestial evening gowns have come back into vogue for Fall 2012. Expect emerald hues, navy silks and purples to find their way into eveningwear for Spring.


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