Alexander Wang greets the audience at the Mercedes-Benz fashion week February 9, 2013, in New York.

“Fashion: Backstage Pass with Alina Cho” debuts on Saturday, February 16, at 2:30 p.m. EST on CNN.

Story highlights

Music is an integral part of New York Fashion Week

One designer has commissioned a track for his show

Selections this year range from classical to more popular tunes

“A fashion show’s soundtrack is just as important as the venue, the seating and the production,” said Alexander Wang, the 29-year-old designer of his own label.

Wang, who is also the new creative director of European fashion house Balenciaga, said music is an integral part of how he is inspired. When he presented his edgy fall 2013 looks at the historic Cunard Building in Manhattan’s financial district, Wang juxtaposed the traditional space and its nostalgic feel with a soundtrack that he called “very industrial, very kind of Berlin underground.”

Music was so important to Marcus Wainwright and David Neville’s rag & bone label that they commissioned Radiohead front man Thom Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich to create a custom track for their show. Meanwhile, Carolina Herrera collaborated with composer and pianist Tom Hodge on an original score for her fashion show. Hodge, Herrera and producer Javier Peral worked with the London Contemporary Orchestra at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London last fall to create “Capriccio for Carolina,” a score inspired by Beethoven’s Kreutzer Violin Sonata.

When the lights dimmed at Michael Kors’ runway show, the music swelled and the models appeared on the catwalk in vivid orange, bright blue and taxicab yellow. But Kors, who compares fashion shows to Broadway productions, said it is the music that brings it all to life. “This show we are using a fabulous new singer named Willy Moon. It’s a little ’50s, a little ‘80s, a little modern.” The collection, which Kors calls “urban athleticism,” focused on movement and speed, and was enhanced by Moon’s soundtrack. Plus, Kors said the singer “is superstylish and fun and energetic and it kind of sets the mood.”

Rebecca Taylor agrees. She said music “gives the girls (models) great energy for walking and makes everyone watching feel like they are a part of something exciting.”

Here is a selection of songs played during New York Fashion Week:


“Elephant Island 2” - Sleeparchive

“Time Lapse Variation” - New Tango Orquesta

“Preparation for Attack” - Zero Dark Thirty

Diane von Furstenberg

“Love to Love You Baby” - Donna Summer

“Like An Eagle” – Dennis Parker

“No To Love” (Ewan Pearson’s Permissive Society Remix) - Jessie Ware

“Inspector Norse” - Todd Terje

“More More More” - Andrea True Connection

“I’m Every Woman” - Chaka Khan

Alexander Wang

“I Turn My Arm” - Gazelle Twin

“Real Love” - Cult Days

“Jesus Piece” – The Game

Carolina Herrera

“Capriccio for Carolina,” - Tom Hodge, Javier Peral and the London Contemporary Orchestra

Oscar de la Renta

“As Time Goes By” - Bryan Ferry

“I’m In The Mood For Love” – Bryan Ferry

“Polonaise” - Shigeru Umebayashi

Michael Kors

“I Wanna Be Your Man” - Willy Moon

“She Loves Me” - Willy Moon

“Yeah Yeah Yeah” - Willy Moon

rag & bone

Custom track by Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich

Rebecca Taylor

“After You” - Pulp (collaboration with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem)

“Fate Glory” - Montevideo

“Constant Conversations” - Passion Pit

“Work” - The 2 Bears

Thom Browne

“Stabat Mater Dolorosa” - Antonin Dvorak

“Storm” - Bjork

“Pearl” - Bjork

“Saint Matthew Passion” - J.S.Bach

Passion (Music for the Last Temptation of Christ) - Peter Gabriel - With This Love (Choir)

Victoria Beckham

“The Truth Is” - Chrysta Bell

“Swinging Upstream (Gab Demo 4)” - DJ Shadow

“Polish Poem” - Chrysta Bell

Jason Wu

“This Ladder is Ours” - The Joy Formidable

“Milk & Black Spiders” - Foals

“Here Comes the Rain Again” - Eurythmics

“Skyfall Remix” - Adele

“A Song For You” - Amy Winehouse

*This story is part of coverage from CNN National Correspondent Alina Cho, who returns with her latest installment of “Fashion: Backstage Pass from New York Fashion Week.”

This season, Cho sits down with supermodel Naomi Campbell to talk about her legendary career and new reality show “The Face,” take a tour of Coach President Reed Krakoff’s 18,000-square-foot Manhattan town house, spend the day with a top model, buyer and editor to see the craziness and frenetic pace of fashion week (it’s NOT all glitz and glamour) and talk one-on-one backstage with New York’s hottest designer, Alexander Wang, who at age 29 was just named creative director of storied European fashion house Balenciaga. The special will also include interviews with Sarah Jessica Parker, Drew Barrymore, Diane von Furstenberg and Michael Kors.