Purple Magazine
— The Essence of Fashion Issue #41 S/S 2024


T-shirt Balenciaga Top, jeans, and boots Balenciaga, with underwear Supreme and beanie Simpsons




self-portraits by BFRND


In most cases, runway soundtracks simply accompany the show. But the talented musician and producer BFRND is dramatically changing this dynamic. His brilliant soundtracks for Balenciaga are an intrinsic part of its fashion shows, resulting in an unparalleled immersive experience. 


BFRND — I’m from the south of France, a small Catalan town near the Spanish border. 

OLIVIER ZAHM — Are you pro-Catalan autonomy?

BFRND — Not really, because it’s the Spanish Catalan who hold the money of Spain, so if they became independent, it would drown the whole country. You can be proud of what you are and still belong to a country. 

OLIVIER ZAHM — Spain is a beautiful country for music. Have you been influenced by this?

BFRND — I love flamenco music because I’m very touched by how dramatic it is and how beautiful the melodies and voices are. And also, the woman is in charge: they applaud the woman and serve her. And that’s beautiful. What also touches me in those sounds is the Arabic part of it because there’s a huge Arabic influence in Spanish music — at least in flamenco. I love that.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Absolutely. That’s beautiful. So, behind your drastic black uniform, you are a romantic. [Laughs] 

BFRND — Yeah. I mean, that’s also the biggest misconception of goth and metal people. They look aggressive, but most of them are the softest people when you actually talk to them, and they are all very romantic. I’ve always loved contrasts, so I do love that I look kind of aggressive but I’m really not. I look goth, but my favorite type of furniture is Rococo. I love that a guy like me has a Marie Antoinette kind of aesthetic. I find that extremely interesting.

OLIVIER ZAHM — What do you like about Rococo?

BFRND — There is a beauty to it. And I hate anything that’s modern or minimalist in architecture or furniture. I’m really not into that. I love Rococo when it’s shabby and a bit destroyed because then it becomes even more beautiful. I love destroyed furniture as much as I love destroyed clothes. It’s the same type of beauty. Imperfection for me is perfect, actually.

ALEPH MOLINARI — Do you think music and musicians with very distinct styles shape the aesthetic of fashion?

BFRND — Yeah. Obviously, every decade has had music and fashion that were related to each other. You had the punks and the goths, rock, pop, and hip-hop. Every time there is a big music influence, fashion follows. I don’t think one is above the other. I think they both advance at the same time, inspiring each other. When you dress up, you get in the mood. Every time I make music, I have to put on my make-up and put together a look because making music in my pajamas is not very inspiring. I need to put myself in a mood. Even in my studio, I need to feel like I’m in a movie. 

OLIVIER ZAHM — Speaking with you, I realize that you don’t isolate music from fashion or from your own look or from furniture. It’s all interconnected. So, you have to be the character of your music in a way.

BFRND — Yes. I need to be in my own fantasy in a way. I’m very visual, and I have this condition called synesthesia, meaning that if you show me a color, clothes, or anything visual, it makes me feel and imagine sound. And also the other way around — when I do sound, I have a whole movie in my head. Every melody I put in my music has a story that is like an imaginary movie. 

OLIVIER ZAHM — How do you compose for fashion shows?

BFRND — Composing for fashion shows is even easier because there is the show venue, the decor, and the looks. And not just the looks — you also have the models wearing the looks. And Balenciaga models are not just models. They’re characters. They’re real people who don’t usually walk fashion shows. So, I am also inspired by their own characters. What’s the story of this character in the main story? 

OLIVIER ZAHM — So, it’s a bit like composing an opera?

BFRND — Yeah. I often compare it to either a movie or a theater play because it has all of those elements. It happens in front of an audience. And it’s even more special to me because if you like a play or an opera, you can go back to it another time. But a fashion show will happen only once. It’s a very unique experience. And that’s also why the music has to be understood directly without any explanation. It has to be self-explanatory for it to trigger your feelings.

OLIVIER ZAHM — I’ve been to many, many fashion shows for more than 30 years, and I will always remember your music with Isabelle Huppert from the spring-summer 2024 Balenciaga show. It was remarkable — you did incredible work. And I don’t remember a lot of music from shows. I do remember the music from Martin Margiela’s show in a circus — the models were wearing pink, and they had their faces covered, and he had found tapes of the Italian singer Mina.

BFRND — Oh, yeah. He found the tapes in the trash, right?

OLIVIER ZAHM — Exactly. And Mina’s voice was distorted because the tape had this distortion. It was repetitive and dramatic but also beautiful, romantic, and dark.

BFRND — It’s funny because I asked Demna once, “Apart from my music, what’s your favorite fashion show soundtrack?” And he told me about that one because he discovered Mina at Margiela’s show, and after that, he became a huge fan of her. So, that’s Demna’s favorite, apart from my music.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Can you speak about your creative process for the last show, with Isabelle Huppert? Just to explain to people how many layers there are because it’s a complex process. 

BFRND — It actually started with the recording of Isabelle’s voice. When she recorded that, there was no music, and she had no idea what the music would be. Actually, she had no idea about the music until the show. I didn’t tell her the beats per minute or anything, and she recorded perfectly on the beat of my music without knowing it.
I didn’t adapt the music to her voice. I just put the recording on the track, and it was perfect. 

OLIVIER ZAHM — Like a coincidence?

BFRND — She didn’t know what the music was, so it was all about how she interpreted whatever direction I gave her. And it was perfect. I am really amazed by Isabelle because you give her directions, she listens carefully, and the first take is perfect. She’s really an amazing actress.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You worked with an orchestra, and it’s a really original creation — not something that you remixed or reused.

BFRND — Actually, everything I do for Balenciaga is always 100% original, unless I’m asked to do a cover, which isn’t often. The idea for Balenciaga was to work around the idea of baroque music to go with Isabelle Huppert’s voice. We worked with a smaller orchestra because that’s what was used in the Baroque era. We opened the show with a fugue played by the orchestra, and then for the second part, we put on a track by Michelle Gurevich. For the last part, we created something totally experimental called zone interdite — a “restricted area” that had to be protected, like two persons loving each other. At the closing of the show, I wore a wedding dress made of seven vintage dresses. Demna wanted me to wear it because it was a very personal collection
for him.

OLIVIER ZAHM — So, you slowly introduced classic music, which then morphed into techno. 

BFRND — Yeah, the idea was to experiment with that. I recorded the contrabass and the piano myself — this creepy piano melody on a hundred-year-old piano. For me, it’s unbelievable to be able to play this kind of instrument. But for classical musicians, it’s almost blasphemy to do this kind of stuff. [Laughs] And that’s exactly what I love.

OLIVIER ZAHM — So, you have fun. You enjoy the process from beginning to end.

BFRND — Yeah. I mean, who wouldn’t? Once Demna gives me the direction, and once he’s happy with the beginning of each part, I have carte blanche. It’s really amazing to be given the chance to express myself through his work.

OLIVIER ZAHM — So, you don’t establish a hierarchy. For a musician, fashion and music can evolve and coexist and stimulate each other.

BFRND — Yeah, for sure. Music is a part of me. I have to make music every day of my life, even if I don’t use it. It’s almost like therapy. And I see fashion the same way. It’s also therapy. I dress the way I feel inside. So, if I’m angry one day, you’ll see it in my look. I’ll have a pretty aggressive look. It’s a form of expression, and for me, music, fashion, or any kind of art is that. It reflects who you are inside. 

OLIVIER ZAHM — What I like about your collaboration with Balenciaga is that it’s a true artistic collaboration. It’s not using music as a decorative part of the show. Music is not instrumentalized to create a mood; it’s part of the fashion show, a real creative element. I think it was Jean-Luc Godard who said that music in a film should never reproduce the feeling — it should contradict the feeling.

BFRND — I agree. Anytime I speak with a movie director, I always have this fantasy because it’s my dream to do movies. I dream about a very happy scene, maybe with a girl who’s very happy, and put fucking stressful music in the background. All of a sudden, you twist the story upside down, and you are like, “Oh, my God, what’s happening? She’s happy, but I’m stressed.” You can create a parallel story, and that’s really what I love doing.

OLIVIER ZAHM — I’m sure you’ll do music for a movie one day.

BFRND — I hope so. I’m ready to abandon my whole career to do only movies [laughs] — horror movies.

OLIVIER ZAHM — I’m always impressed by music that expands a film and is really part of the narrative. You can close your eyes, and you’re still in the movie.

ALEPH MOLINARI — I feel that music today has taken a turn where genres from the ’90s are being reinterpreted, and everything is merging together, everything is valid. Has this influenced your music?

BFRND — Yes. What I used to love about stuff like MTV, for example, was that in one afternoon you could see Eminem, Marilyn Manson, Britney Spears, and a rock band. It’s this melting pot and variety that I don’t really see anymore, maybe because some music genres have taken over.

ALEPH MOLINARI — Yes, and because of the algorithms that decide taste and drive people’s choices in music.

BFRND — Totally. It’s like TikTok music and what performs on social media. And it’s usually not good music. But also, throughout the history of music, bands would do only one type of music and base their whole career around that one genre. But it works for them, and they’re happy like that, so good for them. For me, it’s the definition of hell. I don’t think that genres define me. It’s the way I approach and interpret a genre that is my signature. I am my signature. You know what I mean? Because I think whatever type of music I do, you’ll recognize that it’s me. I could
be doing classic hip-hop, pop, techno, whatever. You’ll know it’s BFRND.

ALEPH MOLINARI — You are not inspired by a specific musical style?

BFRND — I listen to so many types of music, and I enjoy every bit of it. I’d need to listen to 20 different artists in one playlist to be able to hear everything I like. And I’m like, “Why is no one doing that much variety?” So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m now working on my first album, and every song is really a different genre. There is almost no repetition, and I love that. I think you get to know me better because if you go through all of these genres in one album, then you understand what I mean by signature. 

OLIVIER ZAHM — What does fashion mean to you?

BFRND — I see fashion as role playing. It’s like with music genres — I’d also be unhappy wearing one uniform all year long. I think it’s important to have fun in fashion, to express yourself and not just please others. The biggest sickness of the world is to be a people pleaser and to let your ego drive you to become the next Kardashian. And that makes you not be yourself, bending over to become someone famous.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You can quickly become a puppet of yourself.

BFRND — Not even of yourself anymore. Sometimes the more goth I go when I publish a photo, I lose like a hundred followers, and that makes me happy, actually. I’m happy when I lose followers. I’m like, “Oh, now we are together. We let the motherfuckers out.” 


[Table of contents]

The Essence of Fashion Issue #41 S/S 2024

Table of contents

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