Designer and Project Runway finalist Rami Kashou believes fashion wouldn’t be nearly as influential without music. He chose a wide range of songs representing everything from his Arabic heritage to the perfect racy runway track. He also shows a flare for the dramatic and spotlights a Lebanese legend whose stunning voice steals the show. Known for his dramatic red carpet gowns, Rami has draped the silhouettes of celebrities and trendsetters such as Penelope Cruz, Dita Von Teese, Heidi Klum, Jennifer Lopez and more.
For more: http://www.ramikashou.com
1. Henry Mancini - Lujon
2. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
3. Goldfrapp - Strict Machine
4. Fairuz - Kamata Mariyam
5. Budda Bar comp - Samo Zaen - Tonight
Jeremy Sole: Hi. This is Jeremy Sole from KCRW and I'm here with designer and Project Runway finalist Rami Kashou.
Rami Kashou: Hi. How are you?
Jeremy Sole: We're going to talk about the music that has inspired him over the years. Rami, out of such a diverse group of songs, I'm seeing one common thread between them all, and they're such emotional songs, so it makes me think that you probably have some of these in the background when you are working. Can you explain, like, how much of a part does music play in your process?
Rami Kashou: Absolutely. I mean, you know, each song to me conveys a different emotion. It's all very soulful, whether they're singing or not, but it's all sort of like a musical experience that kind of tells a story through sound. And just listening to different music, like Henry Mancini for example, I remember I was preparing for a fashion show and that was the song that opened a fashion show that I did back in 2001 actually, and that song was so theatrical and dramatic that it was just a perfect opening for a show. I remember even the audience kind of was moved by the music to the point where they kind of got into that moment and were oohing and ahhing for the music and the clothes and everything.
I think music and fashion and all of these things are very important elements and I think, if there wasn't music, I don't think fashion would be as maybe influential because there's a strong marriage between the two, at least in my world, so …
Song: "The Big Lebowski" by Henry Mancini
Jeremy Sole: That was Henry Mancini with "The Big Lebowski." Let's go into the Amy Winehouse tune. This song right here, obviously she's been a big deal this year, she's been a big deal for a while, she also has such theatrically emotional songs. Can you expound on this tune?
Rami Kashou: I just think "Back to Black" is such a dark, sad and beautiful song at the same time and I think there's this really beautiful balance of that sort of 50’s sound and then sort of this modern twist to it and her voice just kind of melds the two periods together so beautifully.
Song: Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black
Rami Kashou: I love the words in that song and love the emotion and I love -- you just-- I instantly connected with the song and, for example, I listened to that CD at work all the time. And I just put it on repeat and it just goes over and over again and I don't get sick of it because it's, each sound is so original in its own way and it kind of draws from different periods and I just think she has that one-of-a-kind type of voice that does not often come around.
Jeremy Sole: So this is Jeremy Sole, here with Rami Kashou, amazing designer, Project Runway finalist, and so much more. Rami, share another song with us and what it means to you.
Rami Kashou: Goldfrapp. This one to me, it’s obviously a completely different mood, and we all go through different -- there are many different personalities in us that sort of come out and this to me is a very sexy, racy, attitude type of song and I just easily see there is an edge to it. And I think if I were to, let's say, design something around the song it would be very strong, bitchy, kind of confident women that are just strutting down the runway. (laughing)
Jeremy Sole: There is definitively a strut to that song.
Rami Kashou: Yeah, there is definitively a strut, but then there's this really sort of like-- her sound just like flies through almost in between the hard music and it kind of softens it up, so there's this really beautiful melody, in the notes of her voice, and this can easily inspire me to create collection around this song. And sometimes from just sound you can visualize images, or I can, and sort of start creating characters based on moments in the song and based on a feeling and a mood and this definitely, I think it has a very specific feeling.
SONG: Goldfrapp’s Strict Machine
Jeremy Sole: We just listened to "Strict Machine" from Goldfrapp. Okay, so let's get into another song with you if we can. This one right here - well, let's have you tell us about it.
Rami Kashou: Fairuz is a legend from Lebanon and she is known worldwide and I think the title for her voice is that she has the golden sound or like the golden bird or something like that, but I just love her sound, I love the mood of this song and it's such a sad and depressing song (laughs). But it's so beautiful. I mean, she's talking about a story from the bible when Jesus was nailed onto the cross and the words pretty much describe when his mother Mary was walking towards him and trying to comfort him. So it's obviously conveying this really strong sort of mood of sadness but yet her voice is just so beautiful and breathtaking to me.
SONG: Fairuz’s Kamata Mariyam
Jeremy Sole: All right, so, Rami, let's move on to the next tune. What else, and what role did this song play in your personal experience?
Rami Kashou: Well there is, of course…I love Buddha Bar, and the name of the song is "Tonight" by artist Samo Zaen and I love the sound of him.
And you know, being Arabic myself -- the guy is signing in Arabic -- and I love the way they were able to kind of twist it around and give you like a Western sound to it, or more of a global sound to it. I love when a song that's strictly traditional can be transformed into a completely new sound that other people can relate to or connect to, even if you don't understand the language, you don't have to. I think music is just a way we can all connect together, whether we do understand the language or not. But I love the, sort of the longing in his voice and I love -- like this song makes me think of that perfect summer night around 7 or 8 o'clock and there's this really nice breeze and it's just somewhere in the background. I could be cooking or I could be sketching or I could be just laying around outside on the terrace, and it's the perfect kind of music to fill that space.
Song: "Tonight" by Samo Zaen
Jeremy Sole: Rami, thanks so much for joining us on KCRW.com today.
Rami Kashou: Thank you so much, it's truly an honor.
Jeremy Sole: The honor is mine!
[PLAYLIST GOES HERE]