music for imaginary shows is a bi-monthly challenge for creatives whose work has ties with the fashion industry: art directors, stylists, choreographers, runway photographers, fashion bloggers and journalists, set and light designers, hair and makeup artists, etc. based on their ideas and vision, star studded studios will produce a soundtrack for an imaginary show of a non-existent brand.
the idea was formed whilst working for real clients. “we’ve made a lot of great sound scores for shows, that sadly never saw the light of day,” says joost van bellen. “in fashion, things are constantly changing. often, when we produce a mix, the client decides halfway through to change everything: suddenly the running order, styling or even the entire concept gets a complete overhaul. then we have to trash our work and start all over again. so one day we started thinking: wouldn’t it be fun to produce music for a non-existent collection? a collection inspired by the music, instead of the other way around?
“people we knew began coming up with insane suggestions, and that’s when we started making music for imaginary shows. now with this challenge we’re inviting others to become involved and send us their input. every month, we’ll choose one: the person who inspires us the most. we’ll produce an original soundtrack for their imaginary show, the same way we would for a client. and then we’ll stream the results online for all to hear.
“music for imaginary shows is all about creativity, it’s a chance to work on a project where there are no commercial limitations or rules. everyone involved has complete artistic freedom. the show could be on mars, or in a supermarket; the models could be beautiful robots or monster truck drivers. it could last a minute, or 24 hours… anything goes. we can’t wait to see what people come up with!”
[DDET mix 2: march 2011 – avalanche (by ruud van der peijl)]
avalanche is the 50th show of gletcher, the now-defunct fashion label co-founded in 1986 by ruud van der peijl and hans van kooten. “we were hugely successful, with our designs selling throughout europe, the us and japan,” recalls van der peijl. “but due to the oil crisis several financial backers pulled out, and unfortunately we had to close shop in 1991.”
now, thanks to music for imaginary shows, gletcher has been resurrected just on time to present its autumn/winter 2012 collection during a special no-holds-barred anniversary show. avalanche takes place at the gstaad palace hotel in switzerland, which has been restored to its former glory especially for the occasion. guests, press and buyers are flown in from all over the world on gletcher’s own private concorde airliner, snowflake.
the collection is inspired by the elements sun, wind, rain and snow. the event also celebrates the launch of gletcher’s first perfume, avalanche. for this purpose the entire show is presented in odorama.
“in 2011, gletcher has become one of the world’s leading menswear labels, comparable to dolce & gabbana and dsquared2” muses van der peijl. “stylistically it’s reminiscent of yamamoto, coupled with a generous helping of dior, a teaspoonful of mugler and a dash of rick owens.”
the show is also a tribute to van der peijl’s design partner hans van kooten, who passed away in 2007. “i couldn’t do it without hans,” he says. “even now, i always feel like he’s looking over my shoulder, commenting on every little detail, while i stay focused on the big picture. in gletcher, we complemented each other perfectly.”
at the gstaad palace hotel, the atmosphere is vintage james bond with an avant-garde twist. it’s a slightly askew version of jet set in upscale ski resorts, filled with a growing sense of unease. guests sip chartreuse and violetta – a cocktail of vodka and violet flower liqueur – in a retro-space setting. the food is ‘caviar only’.
a state-of-the-art catwalk has been constructed in the dining hall, utilizing the latest technical innovations which can generate myriad special effects, including waterfalls, avalanches, blinding lights, heat, cold, and anything else imaginable. the catwalk itself resembles a glistening silver spacecraft.
the show kicks off with an amuse-gueule: obese women decked out as pony girls run across the stage, with young boys and geriatric dwarfs dressed as bellhops riding them, spurring them on with their whips.
then avalanche/lawine starts with its first act, a tidal wave emanating from the walls, reminiscent of duran duran’s ‘the reflex’ video, through which the young models emerge, soaking wet, clad in jockeys-meet-star-wars sportswear.
models include rising stars such as jacob coupe and clément chabernaud, supermodels marcus schenkenberg and andre van noord, and hip new androgynous gender-benders such as andrej pejić and valentijn de hingh. of course there are also several special guest celebrity models. these include barack obama, christian bale and the lovely justin bieber, to name but a few.
the next theme is wind protection: heavy wind machines begin to blow, as the models show djellaba-type robes, demis roussos-inspired garments and dresses for men.
wind protection is followed by snow, as actual snow begins to fall. based on over the top ski and winter gear, this part of the collection is dominated by an abundance of leather and (fake) fur.
next, a blinding light and sudden blast of heat leave the audience momentarily stunned, after which gletcher presents its chic evening wear.
“think: tuxedo meets ‘sissy’ meets lauren bacall,” says ruud van der peijl. “it’s the perfect mix of masculine and feminine, beautiful and futuristic, the ultimate display of gletcher’s superb craftsmanship.”
for the grand finale there are fireworks, followed by nothing less than an actual avalanche. the entire set is blanketed by a mass of snow, while the audience seating is raised by hydraulic lifts, so as not to be buried. finally, a trap door opens at the top of the venue, and a sleigh drawn by reindeer comes flying out, with the darlings of the fashion elite riding high: hans van kooten and ruud van der peijl. the end. but at the gstaad palace hotel, the real party has only just begun…
STAR STUDDED COMMENT ON MIXING AVALANCHE
avalanche is the highlight of our career. it’s a tremendous honor to be able to provide the soundtrack for the 50th show of legendary fashion label gletcher. this is what we kept thinking, as we went to work on a show that will never become a reality, but in our imagination has already played out hundreds of times.
the briefing by ruud van der peijl was clear: make it big, huge, over the top. larger than life. james bond meets the elements. science fiction with a sense of grandeur and a cutting edge.
ruud described every second of the show in great detail, from the intro to the waterfall, snow, sun, wind and grand finale. in turn, we took the new gletcher perfume, ‘avalanche/lawine’, and captured it in sound. smell the music.
music for imaginary shows | mix 2 | ruud van der peijl: avalanche | press presentation video
style, image and personality are three key elements in the work of stylist and photographer ruud van der peijl (1960, the hague, netherlands). dubbed ‘the king of style’ by his contemporaries, he first became known when he launched his fashion label gletcher together with fellow-student hans van kooten straight out of art academy. from 1986 to 1991 gletcher gained a steady following in europe, the us and japan, and van der peijl became a household name in the dutch fashion scene. he has appeared on television in the pop-culture series ‘i love the 70s’, ‘i love the 80s’ and ‘i love the 90s’, and as model coach during the first two seasons of ‘holland’s next top model’. in 2007 he was voted ‘dutch fashion icon homme’ by 30 dutch designers during the dutch fashion awards.
as a stylist, van der peijl has worked with countless commercial and artistic clients, including magazines, campaigns and shows. he was responsible for restyling the pop group vengaboys and the video for their comeback single ‘rocket to uranus’ (featuring perez hilton), and exhibited as part of the group show ‘scanning’ in 1996 at the renowned amsterdam stedelijk museum. he has also taught fashion design & styling at the gerrit rietveld academy in amsterdam and utrecht school of the arts. currently he styles fashion shows for designer bas kosters, and continues to work as a senior stylist for jeans brand g-star raw.
in 1997 van der peijl picked up the camera himself and embarked on a second career as a successful photographer. he is known for his portraits of celebrities and iconic characters, as well as his fashion photography. “i aim for a classic approach,” he says. “my images must be able to stand the test of time.”
2005 saw his first solo-exhibition, ‘rude portraits of state’, at the hague museum of photography, and an accompanying book. in 2009 his photographic series ‘world without women’ featured at amsterdam gallery ron mandos; a book is expected soon. he has also styled and photographed the forthcoming louis vuitton pre-fall 2011 menswear lookbook.
in his spare time, ruud van der peijl occasionally spins records at obscure underground parties (“pretty much any genre, except for salsa and r&b”) and has a bi-weekly online radio show at pinq radio (www.pinqradio.com). he lives and works in amsterdam.
for more information, see www.ruudvanderpeijl.com
[DDET mix 1: january 2011 – the land of make believe (by kees kreuter)]
the land of make believe is all about the hype, hot air and deception surrounding the world of fashion. “fashion’s dark side,” is how kees kreuter describes it. “i wanted to create the fastest show on earth – actually, only a finale. picture about 300 models, snaking up and down the runway, packed so close together that you can hardly see the clothing. the lighting is beautiful but terrible, and you can’t even get a proper look at the models themselves – many of whom are highly paid. backstage they immediately get back in line, theoretically the show could go on for hours and hours… but it’s a train wreck that crashes after just a few minutes.
“i’m intrigued by the hype surrounding the world of fashion and runway shows. all the after parties, drugs, sheer exhaustion, who’s seated where, next to which celebrity, blah blah blah. but also the comments by self-important editors and completely incomprehensible designers. everybody pretends to be so interested, but meanwhile they can’t wait to run off to the next show.”
kreuter found inspiration in stories of fallen icons, such as the tale of terry broome, an american model who was driven to drugs and ultimately murder, and gia, a top model who tragically died of aids. “everyone pretended to be heartbroken, but in all honesty the fashion world couldn’t care less,” says kreuter. “nobody likes to mention all its ugly little secrets. people have no idea of the exhausting preparations that go into producing a show and a collection, the blood, sweat and tears that are shed in tiny little back rooms, the mess and chaos backstage. once the model steps out onto that catwalk, all they see is the beauty, glitz and glamour. that is both wonderful and terrible. it really is the land of make believe.”
STAR STUDDED COMMENT ON MIXING THE LAND OF MAKE BELIEVE
the concept that kees presented us with, was perhaps the most controversial of our career. we had to ask ourselves if this would even be suitable for the very first edition of music for imaginary shows. but then we figured: hey, we’re just working for our client, business as usual – so don’t blame us. on that optimistic note we forged on full speed ahead with the soundtrack for the land of make believe.
our briefing was fantastic, and we instantly understood what kees wanted from us. production came at a time that is one of our busiest of the year; a time when we’re under enormous pressure from the industry. so it was good to put things into perspective and take some time out to reflect on the situation. that said, we do hope that the second edition of music for imaginary shows will be something light and elegant…
we started with a diabolical intro from an old rotterdam gabber track. then the fashion monster train sets off at a punishing pace, constantly repeating with no time for rest, totally exhausting. repetition and speed are important elements of this grueling mix.
as a base, we cut up “motorslug” by wiseblood, using just the instrumental bits and the line “skin and bones”. this repeats over and over, layered with additional rhythm tracks, samples of the themes from jaws and wonder woman, and a weird vocal and guitar segment from the track “you look good” by mutsumi.
We used the voices of models, designers and reporters that Kees spoke about, and added more samples, such as diana vreeland, the former editor-in-chief of american vogue, saying “fashion… fashion… there is always fashion.” we also used the voices of wilhelmina, jerry hall, gia, donatella versace, anna wintour, karl lagerfeld, john galliano and margaux hemmingway. sound effects include hyenas, strenuous panting and maniacal laughter.
the mix builds to a crescendo, a hellish apotheosis, and ends the only way it possibly can: in a big, chaotic crash.
music for imaginary shows | mix 1 | kees kreuter: the land of make believe | press presentation video
trained as a window dresser, kees kreuter has been involved in fashion and design his entire working life. in 1994 he was discovered by renzo rosso of diesel and moved to italy. there, kreuter was responsible for the global retail image of diesel, producing their interior designs and much anticipated window displays. he worked as a campaign designer for diesel style lab and their legendary denim campaigns in london, and later in paris and new york for both diesel and diesel black gold. as creative and art director he also designed themes for many of their shows.
currently a freelance art director, creative director and one-man think tank, he divides his time between antwerp, paris and new york. his independent projects include a line of surrealistic home décor called far beyond the valley of the ultradolls, as well as a trilogy of books, also under the name ultradolls: i will be a superstar, i am a superstar and i was a superstar.
kreuter describes his taste as fun, frivolous, retro-sexual, light-hearted with a dark edge, and a mix between trash and class. he finds inspiration in andy warhol, fiorucci, author and director kenneth anger (hollywood babylon), french filmmaker and comedic actor jacques tati, b-movies and film noir, tokyo, new york and paris, vintage magazines, advertising and packaging, and the optimistic futuristic vision of the 1950s.
for more information, see his blog: http://ultradolls.blogspot.com/