At Minkoff, Janelle Monae _ and fabulous footwear
Sep. 07, 2013
NEW YORK (AP) — Rebecca Minkoff's spring preview at New York Fashion Week, left fashionistas gushing Friday not only over the creative casual clothes and the striking patterned gladiator heels, but also the entertainment: Live music from singer Janelle Monae.
Minkoff, a designer especially popular with younger women, has long used live music at her runway shows. This time, though, she partnered with American Express as part of their American Express Unstaged program, which pairs artists and makes their collaborations available through digital media.
The runway show with Monae was live streamed, as was another mini-concert afterward in a private room nearby in the Lincoln Center tents, where Monae performed songs from her new album, "The Electric Lady," to be released next week.
Both designer and singer sounded thrilled with the collaboration.
"I respect her eye for structure and detail," Monae said in a post-show interview of Minkoff's collection. "And oh my God, the shoes were incredible. I almost forgot the words to my song when I was looking at them on the runway."
She was referring to Minkoff's patterned, knee-high gladiator heels, popping with colors like red and pink, and also her ankle boots with multi-colored tassels. The creations also earned plaudits from another celebrity in attendance: Kelly Osbourne.
"Are those just the sickest things EVER?" exulted Osbourne in an interview, pointing to the tasseled ankle boots that Minkoff herself was sporting. "I'd love to wear them. My legs aren't skinny enough for the gladiators, but I could wear those."
Monae, her hair in its signature pompadour style, was dressed not in Minkoff's creations, but in her usual color palette of black and white — this time, a white top and riding pants, with black suspenders and black boots. Her band, four musicians and two backup singers, wore the same colors, with the singers in striped tops and white Minkoff shoes.
Minkoff said that when she was asked by American Express for a wish list of performers to work with on the show, Monae was her first choice. Added Monae: "She wanted to make sure that I could see her (clothing) line in me. And I could. Art inspires art."
And besides, Monae said: "She's a Sagittarius like me. So I love her even more."
For the spring collection, Minkoff said her design inspiration came from Latin America, particularly strong Latin women like Frida Kahlo and Bianca Jagger.
"I was looking at an old photo of Bianca and Mick Jagger and Lee Radziwill at Andy Warhol's home in Montauk," she said later. "And I became obsessed with Bianca Jagger. I'm interested in strong women with flair."
New for Minkoff this season is an emphasis on embroidery and intricate cutting, like laser-cut leather. "We've never done this much embellishment before," she said.
Associated Press Writer Jocelyn Noveck contributed to this report.