City Pulse

By Gillian Weeks

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It’s hardly ever pleasant when you express yourself in song. Most of the time your musical odes come out sounding a lot more kvetchy and constipated than you intended, and your bewildered audience is left searching for meaning, not to mention a melody. When it comes to self-expression, it’s best to use your words, or failing that, bumper stickers.

You might wonder, then, why we’ve chosen to irritate you with a musical interpretation of 2007’s fashion trends. The difference is that we’re letting other people – people with record contracts and voice coaches – do all the performing. That’s not to say the BN staff doesn’t have talent (you should hear Lauren Baccus beat-box). It’s just that certain people, like, say, Andre 3000, have more of it.

That said, here are the hottest trends you’ll see in 2007 (according to the analysts at The Style Council) with the appropriate soundtrack. This should come of use if you’re an aural learner. Or, you know, blind.

Click here to listen to and download the songs.

Ornament

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been dying for an excuse to wear more damask. No? Well, you’d better warm up to embroidery, ’cause the French court is calling and you’re wanted in the parlor. This year expect to see heavy ruffles and plenty of embellishments. Go ahead and eat cake – that Rococo fleur de lis will distract from your waistline.

What better to sum up this style than a string quartet? However, this being 2007 rather than 1737, we’re tossing the Bach and cuing the rock. The Section Quartet specializes in string arrangements of modern classics, including Detroit Rock City, Sunshine of Your Love, and London Calling. Their version of “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs has the right amount of classical virtuosity and rock n’ roll grittiness. After all, you might be wearing brocade, but walking in Jimmy Choos.

Battledress

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Is couture going political? Before your head down to the Army surplus store to pick out a flack jacket, pay some mind to the details. This is not the ironic peacenik look, but rather a reflection on battles of yore. Try adorning your jackets with gold braids, oversized buttons, and synched-in waistlines. It might lead you to reflect that the Army was far chicer before they realized the benefits of camouflage.

You can always look to hip-hop for something to march to. Outkast’s latest opus, Idlewilde, employed its very own drumline in “Morris Brown.” The song itself is named after the historically black college, which is famous for its high-energy marching band. Outkast’s song uses the rhythm to great effect; it only takes one chorus to get you standing at attention.

Portrait of a Lady

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If you’re looking to regain some ladylike virtue, here’s your chance. Embrace the 1950s starlet-on-the Riviera look and expect a boost in class. This style relies on the red, white, and navy nautical theme as well as all-over florals. Belt it at the waist and don a starry-eyed, implacable expression and you’re set for the good life.

The obvious choice for musical accompaniment comes from the original beach bunny herself. Marilyn Monroe’s rendition of “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” won’t do a lot to inspire feminine purity, but it will help you dress the part. You’ve heard her wrench the steaminess out of “happy birthday”; imagine what she does with “my name is Lolita.” And all in an era before booty-shorts.

Midnight Masquerade

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In an unprecedented move, designers have heralded the arrival of black as the color of 2007. I know, it’s thrown us all for a loop – who would have thought such a universally flattering and slimming hue would ever rise above the bargain bin? Now that nothing is taboo, I expect we’ll see designers pushing the envelope in every way. What’s next – formal shorts? Absurd.

Indeed, the look for this year is dark and mysterious. Give your black garb a silver lining with subtle metallics, ornate lace, and sumptuous velvet. Be ready to travel unseen by night.

You can rely on Bjork for a properly ethereal sound. Though no one would suspect the Icelandic sprite of being night prowler (though she has been known to pounce on some paparazzi), her song “Hunter” makes you hope you locked the windows and doors. Still, she probably wouldn’t get too far dressed in a swan. Let’s hope she doesn’t pick up on this crazy “black” trend.

Originally published January 2007
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