Sounds of Marques’Almeida

The Prize-Winning Duo's Top Music Videos

There’s nothing that can connect quite as viscerally, with fashion fan and designer alike, as the emotional punch of a good song. Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida, who make up the 2015 LVMH Prize-winning duo Marques’Almeida, understand this intimately: they opened their recent Fall 15 runway show with Björk’s coruscating 90s hit “Army of Me.” Says Marques, “There’s an emotional connection there for the audience. Growing up, we didn’t really have fashion magazines or fashion TV. What we and our friends would do is watch MTV.”

The duo work in a generous, spontaneous way. Their Fall 15 campaign was shot by three of their favorite photographers and distributed not in glossy magazines, but through an email to their PR. It feels like a throwback to the more carefree times of the early 90s, when the likes of Corinne Day, Melanie Ward, David Sims, Venetia Scott, and Nigel Shafran would collaborate – often with no deadline or expectations of where their images would end up. “There’s a rawness, authenticity and honesty to those images. That’s what makes good fashion,” confirms Marques. “It feels so far away from what we’re seeing now, and we’re just not excited by what’s happening now.”

Growing up, we didn’t really have fashion magazines or fashion TV. What we and our friends would do is watch MTV.

—Marta Marques

Fittingly, this season’s collection was inspired by a photo Day took of the model Rosemary Ferguson lying on a beat-up sofa in metallic trousers: an image that neatly reflects Marques’Almeida’s unique aesthetic of lived-in, dishevelled elegance. Luxe materials like sheepskin and Swarovski crystals contrast the much-loved raw-edged denim that’s become a trademark. “Glamour doesn’t interest us,” states Marques. “We feel detached from that. It has never made sense for us to work with fantasy, we want things to be real. It’s about treating precious materials in an unprecious way.”

It has never made sense for us to work with fantasy, we want things to be real.

—Marta Marques

Such an offbeat approach may come from growing up in Portugal, far away from the traditional fashion metropolises. The pair met at Porto’s Centro de Formação Profissional da Indústria Têxtil before moving to London to pursue MA’s at Central Saint Martins. While both remember a Skunk Anansie concert as the first gig they went to (and the inspiration for their sellout Topshop collaboration), alterna-icons such as Patti Smith and PJ Harvey have also featured heavily in their inspirations and runway soundtracks. What these women represent, alongside an ever-growing cast of real life muses (Marques’ younger sister Sofia and the stylist Alice Goddard among them), is the “quietly defiant” spirit of the Marques’Almeida girl. Says Marques, “It’s an identity thing – similar to what we are doing with fashion, in that we are obsessed with the girl and her identity. To us, those women, their attitude is so strong, and using their music feels so connected to how we grew up.”

Here, the pair share an exclusive YouTube playlist of music videos that have particularly inspired them.

FIONA APPLE - FIRST TASTE

BJÖRK - BACHELORETTE

SKUNK ANANSIE - HEDONISM

SUGABABES - OVERLOAD

MASSIVE ATTACK - UNFINISHED SYMPATHY

MADONNA - RAY OF LIGHT

PJ HARVEY - C'MON BILLY