Backbeat: Fashion's Night Out NYC: St. Vincent at Rag & Bone, Chairlift at Prada
Backbeat: Fashion's Night Out NYC: St. Vincent at Rag & Bone, Chairlift at Prada

vincent St. Vincent -- aka Annie Clark -- performs at Rag and Bone in New York City last night (Sept. 6) during Fashion Night Out. (Photo: Dan Rys)

Amidst the sartorial splendor of Thursday night's (Sept. 6) annual Fashion's Night Out celebration in New York City was live music of nearly every conceivable stripe. Playing at various retail and event spaces across town were such artists as Three Six Mafia at Supreme; Icona Pop and Maria Minerva at Urban Outfitters; Matchbox Twenty at Bloomingdales; We Were Promised Jetpacks at Rockefeller Center; Cyndi Lauper at Manolo Blahnik; Chairlift at Prada and St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, who gave a brief, intimate performance for a little over one hundred people at Rag and Bone in the West Village.

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The singer, whose new joint album with David Byrne, Love This Giant, comes out Sept. 11 on 4AD/Todo Mundo, set up with just an acoustic guitar and a microphone in front of a sea of jeans and sweaters, her face partially hidden behind her long curly hair as she ran through six songs for the assembled guests. And while much of the pre-show conversation was about whether or not the former Talking Heads frontman would show (he didn't), Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks made an appearance, standing head and shoulders -- literally -- above everyone else in the room, while Shore Fire's Carrie Tolles and Anthony D'Amato and Clark's day manager Marisa Brown from Lever and Beam were also there.

The collaboration with Byrne was borne out of a Housing Works event that the two attended in 2009, where Byrne approached Clark to record a song together, which blossomed into a larger project.

"it happened incrementally, we agreed to do a night of music for charity for housing works here in NYC, and we thought we'd probably do 4-6 songs and just do a small night of music, but then it ended up that we really enjoyed working together," said Clark. "It turned from 3 songs to 6 songs to 12 songs, and David said, oh why don't we release this? I was on board, and then it became, well if we release this, why don't we tour?"

The joint tour will kick off Sept. 15 in Minneapolis, with the duo playing the new record and about 4 or 5 of each of their own songs re-arranged to accommodate a horn section. "They'll be songs that you recognize, but they'll be performed in different ways, with both of them playing and singing on each others' songs," said Brown of the tour.

Everything looks and sounds better in Prada: Chairlift playing at (and wearing) Prada.

Meanwhile in SoHo, police barriers were erected to control the well-heeled-and-accessorized masses. Prince Street overflowed with more than one Lady Gaga wannabe, phalanxes of RuPaul descendants and more material girls and boys than you could shake a netted glove at. On Broadway near Houston, gawkers stood on the sidewalk before an American Eagle Outfitters display window watching DJ Vinny V spin dance tracks backed only by distressed denim. A few doors down at Victoria's Secret a line hugging the curb shot down the block waiting to see Brazilian angel Alessandra Ambrosio -- who recently posted her five favorite songs on the Modelina blog which included cuts by Gotye, Niki & the Dove and Lana Del Rey.

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A bit further down Broadway at Prada, Brooklyn duo Chairlift played a rousing set of dreamy synthpop before a packed house ingesting complimentary vitaminwater and caramel corn. Resplendent in head-to-toe garb from the Italian couture, singer/keyboardist Caroline Polachek sported a mesmerizing patterned top and pants to match her skunk-striped hair while Patrick Wimberly played bass in an understated earth-toned blazer. "We really wanted to play this show," Polachek said with all sincerity from the stage. This was borne out by the fact that the band, which is touring through November for their second full-length Something ( Columbia/Young Turks), had flown in for one night just for the Fashion's Night Out gig. Which makes sense when you consider Polachek in interviews has name-checked such designers as Proenza Schouler, Patrik Ervell, Nomia and the Lake & Stars.