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June 30, 2017

Book Notes - Jeffrey Costello & Robert Tagliapietra "The JCRT Plaid Library (2017 Edition)"

The JCRT Plaid Library (2017 Edition)

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Jeffrey Costello & Robert Tagliapietra are the designers behind JCRT, whose plaid shirts are often inspired by classic book and album covers.

Look for an interview on Monday with the designers by LD Beghtol.

In their own words, here is Jeffrey Costello & Robert Tagliapietra's Book Notes music playlist for their collection The JCRT Plaid Library (2017 Edition):

In the early stages of thinking through any collection we are usually listening to music. Before we launched our womenswear label, Costello Tagliapietra, we’d been making clothing and costumes for music and acting folk. We were lucky to have made clothes for Bjork, NIN, Bruce Springsteen, Fischerspooner, Madonna etc.—all of whom we were fans of. With Costello Tagliapietra, our inspirations for collections were always based on literature, music or art, and we loved the idea of composing a collection with colors derived from a painting, book or photograph with the thought that the history behind those colors, textures or shapes could speak through the work whether you knew the direct inspiration or not. The soundtracks we played while presenting each collection also became an important way to tell each season’s story, creating something the viewer could connect to emotionally through their ears, eyes and nose—we also filled the room with scents.

Now, in this new phase of our career as JCRT, we began the Mixtapes with an idea that we had years ago: What would a Smiths record look like as a plaid? We’d collected all of The Smiths singles over the years—their minimal covers staring at us from a pile, so nostalgic and still so beautiful! We thought Meat is Murder would make a perfect plaid and after showing it to our business partners we realized what an interesting idea this could be, and how connective it is. One of our partners was so excited. As a devout Smiths fan he could wear this shirt to meetings and still feel like he was adulting. This connectivity also showed itself through our first pop-up Mixtape shop, where we people could come by to “listen to plaid” and maybe buy a shirt based on their favorite album, then just hang out and talk music.

There is no bigger compliment to a designer than to know that something they create sparks conversations and thought. These plaids are as much a celebration of the art on the album covers as they are of what is inside. Tartans and plaids were created to define and represent clans and communities; we like the idea that JCRT continues this with plaids that speak to the things people love. Or at least what we have loved.

“Autumn Leaves” by Vince Guaraldi

Guaraldi is on for most of the holiday season, though it is his other work that I find us gravitating to much more. In our minds, evenings in the afterlife will be spent sitting by the fire enjoying a pipe and listening to Vince Guaraldi play his piano.

“Burnham Beeches” by Lush

During my junior year in high school, Robert’s bestie Christine and he took college art classes at SUNY Purchase and wanted to create a band because of Lush! Girls with guitars ruled our worlds. We’re happy to see this return to the voices and warm fuzz we love.

“Give It Your Choir” (featuring Bibio) by Mark Pritchard

We just really love this record. It is warm, layered and beautiful.

“Geranium” by Midnight Faces

We love driving records and this one does a great job making nostalgia taste new.

The final breakdown of blips and sax kept us working and looking forward to the weekends.

“Clock” by Plaid

Well, we had to. Plus it’s a gorgeous track—perfect to zone out to while working long hours in Photoshop designing... plaid.

“Autumnal Palette” by Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place

Loved Pinback and love this. We were excited to find it and played it a bunch in the studio.

“When Doves Cry” by Prince

We were designing when Prince passed away, which put us in a bit of a Prince K-hole. This song is pop perfection: layered, strange and catchy as fuck.

“Silent Night” by William Basinski

Basinski is a go-to when we need to shut out the chaos and get work done.

“Mr. Blue Sky” by ELO

This is a song we sing a lot. We sang it to our dog who just passed—he was Mr Blue Sky—and now we can’t sing it so easily. Once this was such a happy song, but now we see the sad side of it much more clearly. Where did we go wrong?

“Carolyn’s Fingers” by Cocteau Twins

Despite this record’s always putting us in a beautiful narcotic-induced dream-like state, it’s definitely a go-to for slow days in the studio, patternmaking. Robert will always remember when a high school friend named Carolyn—who was fighting with another friend—was awarded a “Carolyn’s Fingers” dedication on the local radio station, WDRE, due to her recent activities with her boyfriend. Yes, even Cocteau Twins fans can be bullies.

“Show You the Way” by Thundercat

Anything with Michael McDonald’s voice makes us feel like it’s summertime, driving down the highway with the windows rolled down. This was a great pick-me-up during the last-minute crunch of creating all of the match-lines for all of the different sizes and plaids.

Jeffrey Costello & Robert Tagliapietra and The JCRT Plaid Library (2017 Edition) links:


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