On Sunday 4th October during Paris Fashion Week, Balenciaga showed their Pre-Collection by way of a short film echoing the style of a music video. The music for this was composed by BFRND, and consisted of a cover version of Corey Hart's 1984 new wave classic “Sunglasses at Night”. The film was directed by award-winning film director Walter A. Stern, known for his iconic video for The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”.
BFRND has been the composer behind every Balenciaga show since fall 2017, where he began his career in the fashion world by collaborating with Andrew Eldritch, leader of The Sisters of Mercy. Every season is a major milestone for the 28-year-old composer. Whether orchestral ensembles or thumping industrial scores, tribal techno or 160 beats per minute hardcore, he translates Demna Gvasalia’s vision into sound. Born and raised in a small town of southern France, BFRND is a self-taught artist and a one-man band, now enjoying the peaceful countryside of Switzerland near the city of Zürich with his husband and two dogs. For the past two years, BFRND has also been working on his upcoming album “Afterlife”, a cinematic journey revealing all the facets of his personality.
Back in March, as COVID-19 began casting its shadow over Paris Fashion Week, Balenciaga’s runway show served as an eerily prescient reminder of the various catastrophes facing humankind. Models walked through a shallow pool of water lit to appear as an oil slick, while the auditorium appeared to sink helplessly into the mire. The music accompanying it consisted of an urgent, shuddering string quartet; a timeless sonic backdrop for a deeply timely collection. Six months later, and Demna Gvasalia’s outlook – one that can always be trusted as a barometer for where fashion is moving next – appears altogether more upbeat. His latest show featured an array of Demna's typically eclectic faces, pacing energetically through the Paris streets at night to the exhilarating beat of BFRND'S new track.
From his home deep in the countryside outside Zurich, BFRND spoke to RE-EDITION to explain the full story behind this unlikely choice – and the album recorded during lockdown that he’ll be releasing soon.
LIAM HESS: How has the lockdown period for you been while working in Switzerland?
BFRND: For me personally, it was great. It's been a good moment to refresh my mind, and I actually composed an entire album during the last lockdown. It was really a creative moment where I could be just alone with my thoughts and feel really connected to myself, you know? It was almost like a long meditation.
LIAM HESS: I wanted to ask you about the choice to cover Corey Hart's "Sunglasses at Night" – was there something specific in the lyrics or the mood of it that felt particularly appropriate for the collection, and this moment?
BFRND: After this whole COVID situation, we wanted to do something about fashion that felt positive, since the last show was really dramatic and so apocalyptic in a way. We wanted to go back to the essence of fashion. Also Demna, for the first time in a few seasons, was not working with a precise theme, there was no narrative, it was just about fashion. We were looking for something that represented that fashion spirit, and we thought, what's more fashion than wearing sunglasses at night? [laughs]