The Best Fall 13 Runway Soundtracks

Exploring the symbiotic relationship between music and fashion

Fashion and music have long been inextricably linked, and Fall 13’s runway shows were a prime example of their symbiotic relationship. Both the men’s and women’s runway presentations in Paris were exceptionally soundtracked, transforming the aesthetics of the show and enhancing the beauty of the garments. Herewith, SSENSE explores the best Fall 13 show soundtracks from the runways of KENZO, Givenchy, Mugler, Lanvin, Rick Owens, Chloe, Saint Laurent and more.

Jamie XX for KENZO

Designers-of-the-moment Humberto Leon and Carol Lim commissioned producer Jamie XX to create the soundtrack for their Fall 13 menswear show presented at Pitti Uomo, where KENZO appeared as the event’s invited guests. Their collection, which was inspired by what is surely a familiar view for Lim and Leon – the view from an airplane window – was taken to new heights thanks to The XX producer’s dynamic mini-mix of hazy bass lines and cheeky vocals. Lim and Leon continue to lead the way when it comes to runway soundtracks, having famously worked with the likes of AIR and Nguzunguzu.

Antony & the Johnsons for Givenchy

Riccardo Tisci commissioned his good friend and the musical legend Antony Hegarty to perform his songs You Are My Sister, Cripple and the Starfish, and Hope There’s Someone during his Fall 13 presentation. Hegarty’s stunning vocals were accompanied by the iconic Heritage Orchestra, providing an emotive soundtrack that matched the dark, romantic aesthetic of Tisci’s sheer skirts, mixed prints and gypsy-like layered looks. The partnership marks the second collaboration between the two, who joined forces back in 2009 when Hegarty wore a custom Tisci-made jacket, silk dress, and matching trousers on his European tour.

M.I.A for KENZO

KENZO’s Fall 13 womenswear presentation enlisted hip-hop’s favourite bad girl, M.I.A. to score the show. M.I.A.’s energetic eight-minute Matangi Mix was a preview of her forthcoming album of the same name, weaving Hindi vocals and elements of hip-hop – the perfect match for Lim and Leon’s youthful silhouettes, saturated palette and assortment of wild prints and textures. India was the force behind both the collection and its soundtrack: M.I.A.’s mix was fueled by the spirituality that the Hindi goddess Matangi represents, while KENZO’s collection took inspiration from the colorful temples, streets, and style of the country.

Thom Yorke for rag & bone

Thom Yorke has once again teamed up with producer Nigel Godrich, this time to soundtrack rag & bone’s Fall 13 menswear show – his second collaborative effort with the New York-based label. Best known as the front man for Radiohead, Yorke’s solo work is fueled by the same avant-garde sound, which is likewise present in his mix for rag & bone. The untitled opening track of the show builds subtly and slowly, a reflection of designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville’s own coming-of-age in menswear design. Their first official menswear collection featured minimalist suiting, outerwear and knits in a reserved palette of cobalt, olive, tan, and grey.

Thee Oh Sees for Saint Laurent

In his now-infamous Fall 13 presentation for the newly rebranded Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane made waves in the industry when he sent a grunge-influenced, 90s-inspired collection down the runway. The show was scored by San Franciscan garage-rock band Thee Oh Sees, and the 22-minute soundtrack pulls in the same California-inspired references as the collection itself. Entitled Tidal Wave, the soundtrack is an extended version of the band’s 2009 song of the same name, recorded on the road in Australia and Asia. Fueled by guitar riffs and stark vocals, Tidal Wave was the ideal soundscape for Slimane’s relaxed flannels, leather miniskirts and baby doll dresses.

Roxanne Shanté and Mekon for Chloé

For Fall 13, Clare Waight Keller presented a tougher version of the Chloé girl, a distillation of the house’s French sensibility and the designer’s own English schoolgirl roots. Waight Keller’s collection showed a darker palette and strong, streamlined silhouettes. The show’s soundtrack featured two songs from female hip-hop pioneer Roxanne Shanté, opening with her 1989 single Live On Stage and transitioning into What’s Going On, her collaborative effort with British big beat performer, Mekon. Shanté’s attitude-filled vocals and the songs’ purposeful beats paired effortlessly with Waight Keller’s new Chloé girl.

G-Dragon for Mugler

In another bold move from French fashion house Mugler, Creative Director Nicola Formichetti teamed up with Korean musician G-Dragon for his Fall 13 runway show. Best known as the frontman for K-Pop band Big Bang, G-Dragon interpreted Formichetti’s futurist inspirations in a deep, percussive track entitled I Am Mugler, which he created exclusively for the menswear show.

Led Zeppelin for Balmain

Olivier Rousteing took embellishment to the extreme with his Fall 13 collection for Balmain. Incorporating high-shine lamés and intricate beading, Rousteing’s collection likewise focused on exaggerated silhouettes: nipped waists, rounded shoulders and wide hips were accentuated by an equally overstated soundtrack provided by Led Zeppelin. Opening with their 1976 song Achilles Last Stand, the blaring guitar and powerful drum sequence complemented Rousteing’s maximalist approach.

Grimes and Kode9 for Lanvin

For their collection of overproportioned separates for Fall 13, Lanvin’s Lucas Ossendrijver and Alber Elbaz kept their soundtrack slightly more minimalist. Opening with a track from Glasgow-native Kode9, they sent oversize suiting, loose-fit outerwear and wide-leg trousers down the runway to the tune of Love is the Drug, which features digitalized vocals from Chinese singer and MC, Cha Cha. The show closed with Grimes’ track Be A Body, a colorful, ethereal synthpop number: a nice analog to the collection’s rich palette and sheer fabrications.

Byetone for Rick Owens

Rick Owens dubbed his Fall 13 menswear collection “Plinth” – a nod to the strength and structure of his looks, which were grounded by heavy lug-soled sneaker boots. The collection featured his standard palette - tone-on-tone neutrals and avant-garde silhouettes – on oversize peacoats, obi-style belts and funnel necklines. The soundtrack featured German producer Byetone’s 2011 release Helix, a heavily distorted, buzzing experimental track that contrasted the collection’s minimalist aesthetic perfectly.

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