Javier Peral

...with Fashion Weeks, Autumn/Winter 2013 drawing to a close, we wrap up our 'Beyond The Catwalk' series with the man behind the music sets for some of the most talked about fashion shows: DJ, music stylist and producer Javier Peral.

by Kasia Gorniak
Javier Peral is a DJ, music stylist and producer, who has been crafting playlists for fashion shows for the last 15 years. With clients including Chloe, Vivienne Westwood and Yves Saint Laurent, Javier remains modest about his role. Despite the endless hours of work and consideration that go into creating the right track for the show, he insists that the music is secondary; 'Fashion comes first.' Perhaps it is this level of admiration and appreciation for the craft of clothes-making and designing that results in Javier being so successful at what he does. He has the ability to add definition or accentuate the theme of a collection through the right tune, setting the right mood and energy in the audience. The art of translating the elements of a collection into music becomes a creative collaboration that begins with the designer's mood board; for Javier this initial meeting is the most important piece of the puzzle – a puzzle that is finally completed when the lights go dim and the first look is revealed. Read on to find out more about the man behind the sounds of this season, and listen to his tracks.

Explain what your job is about, and how it changes during fashion weeks?
I am a DJ, music stylist and producer. During Fashion Week, I work endless hours creating soundtracks for shows.

When traveling from New York to Milan, via London, and finally Paris, how and what do you pack?
I never pack lightly, though it’s always variations of the same items in the same colours: black, navy, grey and white. My favorite label is Comme des Garçons, you don’t need to fold their pieces too carefully and regardless, they always look great.

Fashion weeks are perceived as glamorous and fun; do they still excite you or is it simply work?
They have become more work and less fun. In my free time, I often prefer to have a good dinner with friends, rather than the obvious party.

Music and fashion, the usual partners in crime. Tell us how you really can change the perception in clothes with your music?
Music is not just a track to make models walk. It is a very precise tool that helps to shape a collection and to illustrate it. Music tells a story, twisting the clothes and presenting them in ways your eyes might not otherwise perceive.

Do show-music trends exist? We recall seasons when the same songs were played at multiple shows?
Show music can be very unpredictable; sometimes, weeks before shows, I am not sure which one is going to be “that song”. I don’t believe this happens because of show-music trends. It happens naturally; all of the DJ's might not know what the others are playing, until it gets overplayed.

Tell us more about the actual process of deciding what to play, what happens during the show and how much input does the designer bring on board?
The process is always the same. It starts with inspiration meetings and looking at mood boards, which for me is the most important piece of that puzzle. Creating playlists, deciding what to play and in which order. Then mixing. I don’t like to mix live; to me it is very important to have mix all of the elements prior to show time, so that it plays flawlessly at the actual event. Designers have a lot of input. Ultimately it is their show and it is based on a collaboration.

Has the digital age changed your work at all? Do you have access to more sound and music now, and what is your research approach?
Absolutely, access to music and research happens within seconds nowadays.

Tell us about the one time you recall, when you believe you changed fashion with music.
I believe my job is secondary to fashion. Fashion comes first.