Art & Photography / AnOther Thing I Wanted to Tell You

Michaelangelo L'Acqua on fashion show soundtracks

Michaelangelo L'Acqua, global music director for W Hotels worldwide, tells AnOther about working with fashion royalty from Gucci and YSL...

Diane von Furstenberg in Bali, c. 1981
Diane von Furstenberg in Bali, c. 1981 Photography by S. Karin Epstein

“It was a very serendipitous moment in my life. It was 1999, a friend of mine was working for Cynthia Rowley, their music person quit and I got a phone call: “Hey do you want to do a fashion show?” I had no idea what a fashion show was. They were explaining to me and I said, “whatever, how much?” They said “$500.” I went, “Okay, I’m doing it.” So I did the Cythia Rowley show. At the time, in the late nineties, there weren’t a lot of people with production skills, able to manipulate a programme and then mix, remix, etc. Now, it’s completely oversaturated. Everybody is trying to do it, but at that time there was only a handful of people. Apparently the show made some noise and five days later I got a call from a production company asking if I would like to audition for an unknown client. I had to remix Marlene Dietrich; they gave me five days and I did it in one day. After that they said, “the client wants to meet you in Paris." I’d never been to Paris. I remember driving down the George V and they said, “you’re going to meet Tom Ford.” I had no clue who he was. I turned to my business partner and asked, “how is he related to Ford Motors and why are they doing a fashion show?” The producer didn’t find that funny at all. I think it was my saving grace though because he was a god at that time in the industry, still is. The rest is history: I went back to Milan 2 weeks later and produced my first Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent shows. For Gucci I remixed The Magnolia soundtrack, featuring Amy Mann. From there it was like boom.”

“Diane Von Furstenberg are always fun shows because they are full of empowering women; she is the muse of fashion"

Michaelangelo L'Acqua went on to produce eight seasons of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent menswear and womenswear shows, helping to define the brands musically. L’Acqua subsequently produced the fashion backtrack for a wealth of designers, including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors and Diane Von Furstenberg: “DvF are always fun shows because they are full of empowering women,” L’Acqua explains, “she is the muse of fashion.” After the death of her mother in 1980, Von Furstenberg escaped the pace of Manhattan to temporarily relocate to Bali with her two children. She returned inspired and renewed and the benefits of her trip have been consistently recognised within her collections. Her perfume Volcan d’Armour was directly inspired by the trip and she decorated her Fifth Avenue offices with Balinese artifacts including a banana tree and and a flock of geese. L’Acqua has also spent much of his time in Bali this summer as a mentor for the W Hotel DJ Lab programme, which features rising DJ talents including Posso and Dogus Cabakcor.

Michaelangelo L'Acqua spoke to AnOther at the new W hotel in Bali.

Text by Mhairi Graham