Sounds Like Ralph Lauren

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This morning Mr. Mickey and I hit the Ralph Lauren show – a strong, refined, classically American-chic presentation. Black silk gowns that moved like liquid, precise tweed separates, airy lace and tulle embroidered gowns… it was all a vision of elegance. But how did the clothing sound? How do you even go about pairing music with the masterful designs of Ralph Lauren? We thought the cool, slightly-distant tunes befitted the show and we wanted to know how it’s done. Kevin Fleming orchestrates the audio for Ralph Lauren’s fashion shows each season with Ralph’s film producer son, Andrew Lauren, and here Fleming breaks down the process:

How long have you been curating the music for Ralph Lauren’s shows?

A little over five years

How far in advance do you begin working on the music accompaniment? Do you see sketches or pieces of the collection ahead of time?

Ralph begins to share his inspiration for the collection as his creative process evolves. His inspirations come from subjects varying from film to a particular era, a historic figure or even just a mood or feeling. We get to see sketches and important pieces from the collection several weeks in advance.

Does Mr. Lauren provide you with guidelines to fit the mood for his collection?

Ralph Lauren is passionate about every detail, and music plays a significant part in conveying his vision. We work the entire week before the show in a music room connected to the design studio. This allows us to share ideas with him as he is putting the final touches on the collection. The process is a collaborative one – we present our musical interpretations, but, in the end, Mr. Lauren always knows what works best to achieve his vision for the collection.

What kind of music do you think works best for Ralph Lauren’s designs? Why?

We are not limited to a particular genre or era. It’s the feeling that the music evokes that compliments a narrative Mr. Lauren creates. For Fall 2009, we selected tracks that were eclectic and romantic. Each collection brings a new journey, and we try to create a modern twist to classic themes.

You opened Ralph Lauren’s 40th Anniversary show with The Pierces’ song “Boring,” a cheeky diss to the culture of fashion. Give us some insight on that choice…

Ralph Lauren’s connection to that particular song was in its irony, and we hoped people would get it. Mr. Lauren is never afraid to take a risk.

Below is the play list from the Fall 2009 show, courtesy of Kevin and Andrew:

“Pilots (Kevin Fleming remix)” by Goldfrapp

“Life Thru The Same Lenz” by A Girl Called Eddy

“Hide Me (Deadly Avenger Remix)” by Dido

“Stormy Weather Remix” by Ralph Myerz Featuring Christine Sandtorv and Pee Wee

“A Man and a Woman” by U2