Richard Hell and the Voidoids - "Blank Generation"
Heard at: Anna Sui spring '13
If the invite didn't give away Anna Sui's inspiration for spring (her name featured an oversize anarchy symbol), the music at the designer's show made it obvious: punk's not dead. Specifically, '70s New York punk is not dead, with icons like Patti Smith ("Horses") and Television ("Little Johnny Jewel") soundtracking the walks of Karlie Kloss and Lindsey Wixson (both with faux-Manic Panic'd hair). Now I may not be a child of that era but it has long been my musical fascination, culminating in my college thesis, and if ever there were a track that defined the snotty, too-smart-for-their-own-good sound of New York's art punks, it was Richard Hell and the Voidoids' "Blank Generation." The poet-rocker may not have intended for his song to be used to sell sequined plaid baby doll dresses and studded leather jackets, but having rock-photographer Bob Gruen in attendance gave Anna Sui some serious punk cred. REBECCA WILLA DAVIS
Radiohead - "High & Dry"
Heard at: Elizabeth & James spring '13
The setting for the Elizabeth & James presentation was a bright, serene room in downtown New York; there weren't rows and rows of chairs, or glossy runways; instead, just a paint-peeled concrete floor and a few wooden benches hosting me, a handful of editors, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. And as the low-key presentation began, model after model slowly walking out from backstage wearing distressed linen robes, washed silk dresses, and simple leather sandals, it seemed obvious that the only band who could properly add complexity without overwhelming the clothing would be Radiohead. For all their years as a band, the Brits are still cultural influencers (Thom Yorke DJ'd the Rag & Bone spring '13 show), and it became clear why. Beautiful and thoughtful--two words to describe both the collection and the song. RWDMS MR - "Hurricane"
Heard at: BCBG Max Azria spring '13
If you're showing at Lincoln Center, the space requires a pretty big sound to set off the crowd. If a designer chooses the right track, it can even trick the crowd into being amped about an unworthy collection. BCBG identified the perfect track, played it at the beginning and during the finale and the collection stood up to it. Listen to the song and tell me that it's not as catchy as Fun's big hit "We Are Young." But it's almost better because the lyrics are more similar to a page out of every girl's diary—you know, that page about what's really in the inner workings of our minds a lot of the time: That guy that you're really into, but your afraid he'll split? That page. Whether you've been there or not it's one of those female empowering-type songs (but a way cooler one) that makes you want to belt out the lyrics and maybe even cry a little bit and then play the song at least five more times. All of that gets intensified by the heavy bass and the strong, but feminine voice of the lead. We don't know what the female lead looks like because the band has kept their identity a secret, or what she wears for that matter, but it's possible that she'd lean towards harnessed BCBG dresses in demure lengths and muted tones. She's obviously dark like that. It's also worth noting that this album cover has made it to my top ten: A lipstick tube inside a miniature coffin. That same aesthetic went along with the ethereal, but vampy theme of the show. RAY SIEGEL
Grimes - "Oblivion"
Heard at: Theyskens' Theory
I'm not sure if Grimes was the inspiration behind Olivier Theyskens' collection for Theory—but the last time I chilled with Claire Bouché of Grimes her hair was a shade of what we beauty insiders call Manic Panic Blue. A shade that was strikingly similar to the color of the wigs hand dyed by Odile Gilbert for Kérestase at the show. The stringy, wavy wigs looked like Kurt Cobain's mop and my own during the '90s (before I was a beauty insider I just used Kool Aid as hair dye). Grimes gives off that same grungy vibe (during an interview with her she told me she hadn't brushed her teeth yet). My favorite line of the song goes: "I need someone else to look into my eyes and tell me/Girl you know you gotta watch your health." How many models can't say they'd wish the same thing as Claire? Claire doesn't seem like the suit-wearing type, but you never know, as she rises to super stardom she may soon find herself needing a power suit. RS
Bloc Party - "Octopus"
Heard at: Diesel Black Gold
Considering Diesel Black Gold cited " '90s fashion imagery" and the "adrenalin-driven world of skateboarding" as the inspiration for their spring '13 collection, it seemed safe to assume the models would stomp down the runway to Nirvana- or something close to it. So it was definitely a surprise when the beginning beats of Bloc Party's "Octopus" came through the speakers. Released less than two-months ago, the track by the british-indie-band-that-could is a mix between a happy summer anthem and an edgy rock ballad, and ironically paired perfectly with the skater-meets-urban-sophisticate collection. But then again, what doesn't go with perfectly tiny, white leather mini-skirts? ALI HOFFMAN