Sponsored multi-sector cross-collaborations can easily veer into commercialized trainwreck territory. Recording artists working with fashion designers working with corporate marketing teams? That’s not just too many cooks in the kitchen–that’s too many cooks who all speak different languages in a kitchen designed by someone who’s never operated a stove. But sometimes, rarely, this synergy can create something truly special, as is the case with Charli XCX’s latest track “I’ll Never Know.”
Charli XCX, who indicatively cites Wednesday Addams as a style icon, lent her goth pop charm to accessories designer Fred Butler for the Red Bull Catwalk Studio project. With “I’ll Never Know,” she obliterates the assumption that catwalk soundtracking can’t stand alone as real music, creating a gem that will continue shining long after London Fashion Week packs up its tents and vanishes into the mist. So why does this collaboration work so well? According to Charli, both Fred Butler and she “speak in color and music, so we get each other perfectly.” If this sounds like voguish nonsense to you, check out the song and you’ll see precisely what she means.