For the collection, the musician worked closely with Hedi Slimane himself to create the track "Byron Is Dead," which comes as no surprise as the designer has always embraced music like no other.
Throughout his career, not just at CELINE but at Saint Laurent as well, Slimane has been embracing musicians (and non-traditional celebrities) by featuring them as part of his shows and campaigns, both as models as well as through the soundtracks. His vision covers both the visual as well as the full experience.
In a 2020 interview with Vogue, Slimane told the magazine that, “The soundtrack and cast are what define the styling, its degree of credibility, its authenticity. What you hear and what you see are all part of one thing, one world as a whole.”
Leah Hennessey was a perfect choice, as her unique sound and vision merged perfectly with Slimane's, and together, the two created a show that not only featured plenty of excellent looks, but truly let us into CELINE's universe.
Additionally, Slimane also shot Leah, much like he shoots the label's other campaign stars, and she's the perfect match for CELINE's effortlessly cool ethos.
We had the chance to get some insight from Leah about creating the soundtrack, as well as her work. Her track "Byron Is Dead" will be available on May 10th, but you can pre-save it now.
What has your relationship with CELINE looked like? Where did it start? Supposedly they heard my song "We Will Not Be Lovers" on a playlist or a blog, I haven't been able to track down the little bird who must have whispered in their ear, I'd love to say thank you.
I had this rough sketch for the song "Byron is Dead," which is part of my ongoing obsession with the romantic poet Lord Byron. It's a kind of possession, the obsession and the song, and whenever Byron gets in the mix strange things start to happen. I knew this would be another one of those spooky Byron things and that they would like that particular song. Lo and behold, Byron brought me to Paris.
How have you used music to communicate the collection? What did the process look like? I didn't see much of the collection until I was finished with the music but I think it's a perfect mix.
I love the billowing Byronic cloaks and the juxtaposition of the aggressively casual denim with the 18th-century environment and aristocratic detachment. I'm making this show right now called "Byron & Shelley: Illuminati Detectives" and it's all about putting the eerie paranoia of the early 19th century into an anachronistic science-fiction context. I can't get enough of that, so I was really delighted to see the video for the CELINE show making those bold cuts between the Hotel de la Marine and the ultra-modern architecture. I also loved seeing the nod to the classic 1800s riding boot.
It was thrilling to get to work on the song with Hedi because he obviously cares about music so much, and understands music as a full vibrational visual intellectual experience. We kind of de-rocked the song a bit, took down some of the intensity, kept the vibe more consistent throughout, and made it more hypnotic, which really works for the theme. Also getting to dork out about Bowie with Hedi was a rare treat, and made me trust his ears even more.
What's the biggest difference between creating music for a fashion show vs. for a performance? For this recording, I wanted to feel like a specter, rather than a fully embodied person, and kind of narrate the glamour as it passed me by. I tend to get very big and visceral and it was fun to hang back on this and keep the focus on the language. My producer (E.J. O'Hara) and I really approached it as a dance track rather than a fashion show song, but walking is one of my favorite dance moves. Walking. On. The. Beat.