Fashion Week in New York City is full of inspiration, music and celebrities. Designer Nanette Lepore brought the best of all worlds together when she invited John Forte to perform live during her Spring 2011 fashion show. Lepore sent models — lots of gorgeous Black ones, too — down the catwalk in soft colorful dresses, jumpers and gowns. Forte (complete with a jazz combo) played the guitar and sang his soulful original score. Kristin Chenoweth, Stanley Tucci and Natasha Bedingfield looked, listened and loved the experience. It was a glamorous and soothing moment during the hectic fashion week schedule. After the show, we went back stage to get Forte’s reaction to being a part of this chic, sexy and cool collaboration. ESSENCE.com: What was it like to perform for a fashion show? JOHN FORTE: It was bittersweet because I’m able to contribute music, but I’m kind of missing the whole experience of being at the fashion show, and I love attending the Nanette Lepore fashion show. Yes, the outfits are amazing and beautiful, but the women are also beautiful and I’m sitting here looking at my cues and we’re scoring this thing live as we go along. But it was great. ESSENCE.com: How did you hook up with Nanette? FORTE: Socially. People that work with her introduced me to Nanette and we hit it off and I was invited to a few shows. And the next thing you know we strike up another conversation, where she asked if I was interested in contributing music. And I said, ‘I could do that, but I’d love to do something on top of that.’ And the idea was to score original music inspired by her line. She said to me right then and there, ‘but we’re not done, we’re in the sketch phase and we’re picking out colors.’ And I said, ‘That’s exactly where I want to be. I want to work with you guys as regularly as possible. Give you some music and maybe inspire the creative process.’ And here we are at Lincoln Center for the first time. ESSENCE.com: So, you were inspired by the clothes and by the colors, the fabrics…. FORTE: And the person as well. Nanette is an amazing designer and she’s very influential, and she is a great person. She is good people and that always makes my job as a composer, singer, songwriter that much easier.
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