Kenneth Cole set the perfect tone for New York Fashion Week Thursday night.
The designer partnered up with friend, musician and like-minded activist Jon Bon Jovi for an invite-only acoustic performance at the designer’s Soho store.
The night was designed to curate and showcase the musical talent of tomorrow.
“We live in a world of reality television, and that’s not giving back to anything,” said Bon Jovi, who was decked out in a black T-shirt and jeans, “timeless and classic attire,” as he put it.
To that end, the two introduced to the crowd of about 100, Philadelphia native Cole Redding, who played four songs from his forthcoming debut, a soul-pop album.
Country crooners Rodney Atkins and wife Rose Falcon also took the stage.
But it was the acoustic version of Bon Jovi’s mega hits — ranging from “Livin’ On A Prayer” to “Wanted: Dead or Alive” — that had the cozy crowd singing along on a cold night.
Cole and Bon Jovi have been friends for more than a decade, and have pooled philanthropic efforts before. In the fall of 2006 the two launched the R.S.V.P. to Help Initiative, which provided funds to homeless people. Cole designed a limited edition line of jackets based on Bon Jovi’s own stagewear and then sold them in Saks Fifth Avenue doors and in his own stores.
Bon Jovi told Footwear News last night that fashion and music can converge for a good cause.
“Fashion represents periods in our lives and in American pop culture,” he said. “Fashion speaks to who a person wants to be. Similarly, music narrates the times in which we live. You can write socially conscious songs or let’s have fun and dance songs.”
Added Cole: “Music resonates with people everywhere. It is arguably, and maybe one of the only, truly universal languages. Everybody can relate, music connects with people, and fashion in some ways does the same.”