Flick through any of your current coffee table favourites, and you’ll quickly notice the heavy bond between today’s bands and brands. Models fashioned to look like rock stars, bands endorsing brands, musicians turned actors playing musicians posing in ads, it’s all almost incestuous. Below is the piece we ran in the Breakthrough issue’s Music Special with some of our favorite bands and brands pairings.
Music and fashion have always gone hand in hand but the relationship between these two worlds has been tightly reinforced these past years. Blame it on Hedi Slimane and his obsession with the British indie scene that emerged during the noughties or on the decline of the record industry, various partnerships and synergies are flourishing everywhere. Bands turn to fashion for lucrative deals and brands view these emerging artists as a new way of attracting young customers and revamping their image. Burberry suffered a serious brand image downfall in the nineties, but pulled itself back up thanks to Christopher Bailey’s arrival. Scoring top British names alongside hot new talent and heavily drawing from the nation’s promising musical scene for its advertising campaigns was an instant success and has become a trademark. The clip for their new perfume, aptly named The Beat, had Agyness Deyn dancing and jerking to “Got Ma Nuts From A Hippy” by the Fratellis. The Scottish band had managed pretty well so far, but performing in front of the fashion world’s crème de la crème in London at the 2007 launch of the new scent surely didn’t hurt in terms of exposure and popularity.
Aggy swinging to the Fratellis:
The Fratellis performing at The Beat’s release party in Koko, London:
A while later, a surprisingly similar looking version of Jon Fratelli, although younger and prettier, could be seen in The Beat for Men’s campaign. 20-year-old George Craig had been featured in Burberry’s previous and current ads, and is now the brand’s new it-boy. He’s walked the show in Milan, recorded a voiceover segment for the TV clip, even picked up the Menswear trophy on behalf of Burberry’s creative chief officer Christopher Bailey at the 2008 British Fashion Awards. Guess what… He’s got his own band, called One Night Only. Bailey found them online and apparently really liked George’s look. Their music is heavily featured on Burberry’s website and they performed at the Burberry day extravaganza held in New York last year. Whether in the music industry or modelling business, this simple kid from north Yorkshire is now worth solid gold. The band’s endorsement may be cringe-worthy (they are now practically a walking billboard for the brand) but it has offered them the kind of publicity their record label never could.
The Beat for Men, featuring Kristian Walker (Last Gang), Will Cameron (Blondelle), George Craig (One Night Only), Jonny Epstein (band manager), Alex Pettyfer (model and actor)
Sam Riley channeling Ian Curtis once more in Burberry’s Fall 08 campaign
Collaborations and the exploitation of the band’s image can take various other forms. Franz Ferdinand recently recorded an exclusive song for the latest campaign of Dior’s Lady Rouge bag, with vocals from current face Marion Cotillard, yet they do not appear in its promotional video clip. The Glaswegian band’s involvement with that particular French house is not that surprising considering its bond with Slimane, the former creative director of Dior Homme. He confessed Alex Kapranos figures amongst his favourite persons to dress, and for a while all of his models looked like clones of the Franz Ferdinand front man, channelling both the band and the brand’s angular, sharp and skinny aesthetics.
Marion Cotillard and Franz Ferdinand’s Eyes Of Mars track for Dior:
Hilfiger Denim teamed with hipster darlings The Virgins in an attempt to reinforce its New York street cred, shooting the band “playing” in front of the Brooklyn Bridge for last years Spring campaign. The same brand had Mark Ronson, then a young rising DJ in the Big Apple, posing in a recording studio for one of their ads a decade ago. He can now be seen playing his guitar and cuddling his chérie Joséphine de la Baume in black and white shots for the latest Zadig & Voltaire campaign. The Parisian brand has always positioned itself at the crossroads of fashion and music. Now it has launched it’s own music label, set to promote young artists. How long until the rest of the fashion land jumps on that bandwagon?
Mark Ronson, the current face of Zadig & Voltaire
Sean Lennon and his girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl for Zadig & Voltaire’s Fall 2009 campaign
In an Absolut world you’re with the band. Or how drinking Swedish vodka can provide the illusion of hanging out with Wolfmother
The Virgins for Hilfiger Denim: