Late last week, Blonde Redhead released a new video for “Dripping,” the highlight of their ninth album from earlier this year, Barragán. The clip was as effortlessly cool as anything the New York noise-pop band have put out in their 21-year career, but it also marked a first for the group: a collaboration with a fashion house.
Though they’ve been performed live at Fashion Week runway shows and remain one of indie rock’s best-dressed acts, Blonde Redhead had never properly paired with a label before British ready-to-wear brand AllSaints produced and premiered the red-light clip for “Dripping” last week. The fashion industry has become a more prominent benefactor — rather than a mere supporter — of music in recent years, even for bands that have remained on independent labels for the entirety of their careers, like Blonde Redhead (they’re currently signed to 4AD). Burberry, for example, launched a live sessions campaign for emerging British acts, while designer Hedi Slimane has commissioned original soundtracks from Daft Punk, Beck, and Phoenix for his runway shows with Dior and Saint Laurent. Maison Kitsuné, meanwhile, combined a fashion house with a record label from the get-go, enlisting recent signees to perform in their collections at rock shows that double as runway presentations.
The “Dripping” video looks less like a fashion ad and more like a dirty movie so tasteful, the well-behaved cast doesn’t take a damn thing off. But admittedly, it’s also more subtle than Blonde Redhead’s past clips, which have featured Miranda July facing herself in a pose-off and frontperson Kazu Makino riding horseback in black lace. How casual for a fashion ad, to only show the clothes in hazy, foggy shots where they’re rendered nearly anonymous.
It turns out that AllSaints approached the group about starring in their new Gene Doe-directed ad while Blonde Redhead toured Europe earlier this year. “I have never really followed fashion but have always appreciated good style, whether it came from poverty or wealth,” Blonde Redhead’s Amedeo Pace told Flavorwire last week, shortly after “Dripping” x AllSaints premiered. “I found it always very interesting, but always thought that it should come from personal limitations rather than from an abundance of resources.”
While on-trend, AllSaints has been called a “purveyor of a romantically pre-aged look” by the New York Times, its cheerlessness compared to Vivienne Westwood’s punk roots. Combat boots and neatly tailored jackets can only change so much, after all, but the approach appears to work, with the brand now available across Europe, America, and Canada.
“I have actually been wearing their shoes and pants while performing this whole tour,” Pace says. “They have an elegance and a style which suits me. I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable and utilitarian their clothing is. […] It’s always nice to have some sort of uniform to wear while performing. It could be a pair of shoes, a hat, or whatever, as long as it becomes part of a routine and helps you get into a zone.”