Hearing British DJ/ producer Mark Ronson talk about music is like listening to a crackly Miles Davis for the first time. It’s quite refreshing really–especially in this drab music climate.
As a music writer, I’d like to say that my brain is tuned for music references…but I can’t. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of an eighth of the music acts that Ronson ever name drops in interviews– Giorgio Moroder, The Dap Kings, The xx, A Certain Ratio. No. It’s like rediscovering why you fell in love with that girl you got tired of looking at.
I need to step my ear hustle up.
The genius behind Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black will make you feel infantile no matter how long or hard you’ve been in digging the crates for good music. He’s just does it better, however he does it…or maybe it’s because he’s British. Somehow, they magically just end up with great shit over there. I don’t know.
Which brings me to Ronson’s style sense. Like music, the skinny tie aficionado almost flirts with insanity when it comes to what he puts on his body. GQ named him the most stylish man in the UK for God’s sake! The whole fuckin’ kingdom man!
High-end designers are starting to tap the musically-accomplished with a flair for fashion to partner for lines. Louis Vuitton already made Kanye West an official don with his own line of signature kicks. And now, Gucci slid an idea notepad to the stylish DJ-turned-rock star with famous siblings for a line a of boat shoes.
“The idea is that the people will buy the shoes at these Gucci pop-up shops in different cities, and they made it quite clear from the beginning that they had to be sneakers,” Ronson said in an interview with GQ. “Nobody’s going to buy a limited-edition brogue or whatever—it just doesn’t work like that. I used to be a serious sneaker addict, but I’ve moved on a little bit from those days. So I wanted to make something I would wear, and that people I know would wear. Something that’s a cross between a sneaker and a shoe; something you could wear with a suit or jeans”
And he talks about the design process.
“It was very important that it not look like Gucci brought me some shoe and I said, “Okay!” and threw my name on it,” he explained. “I was really diligent about every single aspect, down to the colors of the eyelets and the fabrics in the front and back. And it was important for me to take into account the seasons: What city is this particular shoe coming out in? And when is that pop-up shop scheduled for? The shoe somebody’s going to want to buy in New York in October is very different from what somebody’s going to buy in March. And it’s certainly different than what somebody’s going to want to buy in Miami in January.
The other thing is that it was really important to have some kind of exciting musical component, so I decided I wanted to make a brand-new record from scratch that you get on vinyl when you buy the shoe. I created the music with a fictional supergroup we put together called Chauffeur. The band is Sam Sparro, Theophilus London, and Tommy and Victor from the Dap Kings. It’s cool—the sound is very ’80s and luxurious. It’s like what you would imagine a Gucci record to sound like. There’s also kind of a play on Schoolly D’s song “Gucci Time:” Looking at my Gucci, it’s about that time. Maybe we’ll get Gucci Mane on the remix down the line.”