While it's often disconcerting to be stirred by language that resists comprehension, the ambiguity of a song's words can often be its prime attraction. How many songs do you love, that you can sing along to on a regular basis, which contain great swathes of unintelligible phrases, songs where the vocals seem almost randomly to skirt across the surface of the tune?
Of course, the vogue for the past 15 years or so has been for deliberate obscuration, with producers, remixers and DJs taking great pride in weaving the most unlikely samples together (the Carpenters with Sonic Youth, for instance, or Radiohead with Michael Jackson). You hear a lot of this still at fashion shows, where the DJs like to experiment with their aural bouillabaisse.
Last week in Milan I heard everything from John Barry and the Rolling Stones to Bjork, Prince and Florence & the Machine, all mashed up, bootleg-style, curdled and frothy: Oasis folded into Depeche Mode folded into Led Zeppelin folded into "Rise from the Shadows" by the mighty Alberta Cross. A fashion show wouldn't be a fashion show without a bit of David Bowie, and this season the song I kept hearing was "Cat People", which in turn had been tweaked and bleeped so much it sounded as though it had been recorded last month.
Sometimes, the music at a show can swamp the whole experience. At one show in Milan many seasons ago, the producer had decided to play the famous calypso version of "Over the Rainbow", a track with limited appeal at the best of times. However this wasn't played as part of a sequence: it was the entire soundtrack. After about 20 minutes of this, some in the audience were biting their hands in order to try and stop themselves collapsing in fits of giggles. It was almost as though someone had put the song on a permanent loop and then left the building, in an effort to see just how much we could take. It made me wonder how long the audience would have stayed – although there are some people in the industry who are so sycophantic, I'm sure they would have still been on their seats an hour later, worried that any attempt at escape might offend the designer.
Me, I was way above the chimney tops.
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'Reuse content