The March 3, 2005 edition of The New York Times includes an article about Viktor and Rolf's fashion show that took place on March 2, 2005 in Paris, France and which included Tori playing at the piano. Click to read the article.
Thanks to Holly M. Riccio and Erin Doyle for telling me about the article. The best place to read it is online at nytimes.com, because you can also see their color photo of Tori performing at the fashion show. You can also read it below. For more details about this, check out this page on The Dent.
For Every Runway, the Beat of a Different Drummer
By GUY TREBAY
PARIS, March 2 - It beats all how Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, the Dutch designers who make up the team Viktor & Rolf, got the reputation for being what Time magazine called a "witty design duo." Gifted the designers undoubtedly are, as a retrospective of their work held here not long ago made plain. But witty? Retrospectives are for the old, and Viktor & Rolf think old, even when they are tap-dancing in white tuxedoes down the runway or bringing out a model with her head encased in a floral bag to introduce a new fragrance packaged in a grenade-shaped bottle and given the sprightly name of Flowerbomb. Hahahaha, as the gossip columnist Suzy used to say.
Naturally, given the Lawrence Welk tendencies of this duo, the live music for their show yesterday was provided by Tori Amos, the pop music klaxon.
Held in a space where what passes for experimental theater is usually staged, the production had as its centerpiece a black grand piano played by Ms. Amos, a stiff and stately piece of furniture herself. Her long hennaed hair was arranged in pre-Raphaelite crimps, and she wore quilted red trousers and a red satin blouse.
After greeting the audience with deep Kabuki bows, Ms. Amos took to the keyboard and began banging on it and keening as the English kewpie-doll mannequin Lily Cole appeared wearing quilted trousers and with satin pillows strapped behind her head like a weird Elizabethan ruff.
Was the image intended to recall a series of photographs created by the fashion photographer Inez van Lamsweerde, who in turn was referencing the late Victorian portraits of Julia Margaret Cameron? It seemed so. But the effect was straight out of "Six Feet Under." For the finale, the robotic Eastern European teenager Hana Soukupova came teetering onstage in what looked like the interior of a casket. "Is it a bed or a coffin?" one fashion editor muttered. She did not intend the remark as a joke.
Music mirrors fashion, which is one reason it is too bad that American viewers who want information about the European fashion shows must rely on online sites or reruns of "Full Frontal Fashion," where copyright restrictions have dictated the replacement of the real music from the shows with generic background dross that brings to mind soft-core porn.
If one wants to know what a designer is thinking, it really helps to know what he or she has programmed on the iPod. For Viktor & Rolf, rocking out may be a matter of dialing up Ms. Amos. For Karl Lagerfeld (Lagerfeld Gallery), the music of the moment is vintage Prince; mid-1990's rock is the proposed soundtrack for Friday's Chanel show.
For Rifat Ozbek's underrated show for Pollini in Milan, it was the D.J. Jon Gosling's remix of Sylvester. As anyone knows who happens to have read Joshua Gamson's fine new biography, "The Fabulous Sylvester," Sylvester was a disco singer from late-70's San Francisco whose soaring falsetto is every bit as galvanic now as it was when he first appeared on the scene.
Was Mr. Ozbek indulging nostalgia by using Sylvester as an aural backdrop? Some people prefer to think otherwise. Was he signifying the irresistible force of individuality? Why not?
It happens that the music scene right now is rich in eccentrics, people like the kooky neofolk singer Devendra Banhart, whose deliriously childlike crooning was used in fine counterpoint to a group of playful clothes at the Marni show in Milan, offset by the voice of Joni Mitchell, whose bracing alto and tough lyrics have never been other than adult.
It could be argued that marketplace demands on young designers have made them more than just adults; they have made them old. To this viewer, at least, Nicolas Ghesquiere, the mystifyingly cultish designer for Balenciaga, seems to have detoured badly on his trip down memory lane. Likewise, Olivier Theyskens, the painfully pretty young designer for the once fusty house of Rochas, is on some sort of permanent granny trip. At Mr. Theyskens's show Wednesday, held on a snowy evening in a tent near the Louvre, the hobbled woolen evening dresses gave evidence of both the designer's respect for the powdery past of the venerable house and of his apparent desire to break free of its restrictions. The music he played was by the groups Cathedral, Low and Harmonic 33, and it was full of delightfully canned postadolescent angst.
It was chosen by Mr. Theyskens in collaboration with Michel Gaubert, easily the most gifted of the many D.J.'s working the fashion circuit, and no child. Having played D.J. at the legendary Parisian disco the Palace in the 80's, Mr. Gaubert went on to work at the insider record shop Champs Disques, where he pitched his eclectic musical tastes to customers who happened to include a lot of fashion types like Karl Lagerfeld.
"At a certain point, they asked me to do something for them," Mr. Gaubert said on Wednesday as the crowd filed in from the cold at Rochas. The evolution of what he devised turned out to be crucial to the 15-minute script that is the average fashion show. "What the music really does is help communicate a point of view," said Mr. Gaubert, whose shows here include Balenciaga, Dries van Noten, Rochas and Chanel. Sometimes the music conveys perhaps more than the designer intends.
"The big problem everyone is facing is that there is too much press, too much information, too much product," he added. Creative people are not expected to invent stuff now so much as to make smart selections. "It's like being in charge of a music compilation," said Mr. Gaubert, whose latest compilation, for the store Colette, is sold out. "People don't know what to think or buy anymore. Everybody is more or less lost."