BFFF In The Know - Ear For Fashion - Ruth Hogben: A Retrospective In Music


By Lynden Campbell 

 Head of Synchronisation for the Domino Recording and Publishing Companies Limited – licensing music to fashion film - and guest contributor to the BFFF blog

In a conversation with a Domino Publishing songwriter and fashion model - Rosie Lowe (Wolf Tone/Polydor) – I was curious to know if she had any specific fashion film directors 

she was most excited about. Rosie responded without hesitation – Ruth Hogben. Here is my interpretation of some of Ruth’s approaches to music in the past decade. 


LADY GAGA MONSTER BALL TOUR (2009) dir Nick Knight w/ Ruth Hogben

For someone that set out to be a fashion photographer, Ruth Hogben, has an acute understanding of connecting visuals to rhythm and sound.

This connection cannot be reviewed without acknowledging her pioneering work with renowned fashion photographer and SHOWstudio founder Nick Knight. In 2008, SHOWstudio and Swarovski partnered on Fashion DJs: a three-day music and fashion event held at Abbey Road Studios attended by Gareth Pugh, Stephen Jones, Jefferson Hack and Bella Freud. Ruth edited 37 hours of footage backed with ‘Devil’s Crayon’ by Wild Beasts (Domino).

Setting out their agenda for this event, SHOWstudio state on their website: “fashion has defined the appearance and character of every important moment in musical history. And in turn, fashion continues to draw on that heady heritage for inspiration season after season.”

Together, Ruth and Nick went on to create unique visualisations for Lady Gaga’s 2009 Monster Ball tour. They created the film that opened the show and set the tone for Alexander McQueen's last complete catwalk collection - Spring/Summer 2010 'Plato's Atlantis'. The same year Ruth directed ‘Lost in the World’ for Kanye West.


Fantasia’ dir Nick Knight and Ruth Hogben (2008)

sense of playfulness in editing to music. Ruth was also the editor of Nick Knight film HATSTAND - see BFFF In the Know ‘Ear For Fashion #2“I was dancing while I was editing - just having a real party! This film was great fun to do.” Ruth Hogben

Another playful extreme of editing images to percussive rhythm is for the absurdly soundtracked, ‘working girl’ themed ’Cinq à Sept‘ created by Ruth for Love Magazine covering Giles Deacon's 'Feral Lace' 2011 collection for Emanuel Ungaro. No music credit but it sounds like it’s by some kind of Martin Denny exotica meets Jamie Hince guitar.

One of life’s great pleasures is to discover music through film. There’s sadly no song credit given on the film ‘Fantasia’, but this is the supremely catchy ‘Rumba Negra’ (1946) written and performed by Anselmo Sacasas and his orchestra, with Ruben Gonzalez on vocals.

A boisterous, retrospective film showing colourful creations by Alexander McQueen, Comme des Garçons, Gareth Pugh, Hussein Chalayan and John Galliano - colours and textures evocative of a Cuban cabaret. It’s an extraordinary track and whilst the film is cinematically naïve, it is edited beautifully with the song and fits with Ruth’s 



odds with a sultry, smooth soundtrack: 'Make Up Your Mind' by Delta Maid and Ed Harcourt, 2008 which adds a quality finish to the work – making it less alienating, more engaging, more playful and perhaps less disturbing. It ends with a piano flourish and the lyric ‘Shake up that ghost that kills your time’. I like the tiny clang of the acoustic guitar.

The end of 2008 turn of 2009 fashion film begins to shrug off documenting a photo shoot and leans towards a more surreal combination of performance and choreography. In this film, what begins as a photo-shoot develops into faceless nudes cavorting in a spotlight with a suggestive out-come. It is quirkily edited by Ruth Hogben at


Gareth Pugh Autumn/Winter 2009 dir. Ruth Hogben

Autumn/Winter 2008 Insensate film by SHOWstudio drew together London based fashion designer Gareth Pugh, Ruth Hogben and artist/music collaborator Matthew Stone Lynden Campbell 2016

Together the three creators worked on Pugh’s Autumn/Winter 2009 Matthew seems to absorb Ruth’s interest in rhythm and there’s the breathless beat akin to Darren Berry’s Hatstand soundtrack. The collaboration sparked the beginning of a much talked about series of audio/visual performances including Gareth’s first make-up range for M.A.C. Spring/Summer 2012 [link: 

Drawing from industrial electronica and sound design, Matthew drives the pulse of Ruth’s interest in rhythm and there’s the breathless beat akin to Darren Berry’s Hatstand soundtrack. As trend-setting media has moved towards more experiential, unique ways of creating a buzz, Pugh, Hogben and Stone lead the way in presenting immersive, multi-media collections. Ruth Hogben branched into ballet performance with a film for Manchester International Festival’s “Tree of Codes” sound-tracked by Jamie xx and linked to Selfridges Strength (2015) featured previously on BFFF Ear for Fashion .


Gareth Pugh A/W 2015 at the V&A Dir. Ruth Hogben

Marking a return to London Fashion Week, Gareth Pugh A/W 2015 at the V&A, saint and dragon combine forces for an extraordinary St George’s film accompaniment piece akin to work by Bill Viola, soundtracked by Lukid and sound effects by Matthew Stone (featuring chants of his home-town football club).

Lukid (Luke Blair) is a spellbinding, electronic artist with releases on Ghostly, Glum, Werkdiscs (Ninjatune) and Mute sub-label Liberation Technologies – his honest twitter feed is alluring in itself modestly sending you to a link about his work with Hogben


It’s not a recent connection, she adopts Lukid to help showcase Autumn/Winter 2009 collections with an abstract a/v study of texture and saturated colour.

Lukid soundtracks Gareth Pugh's Autumn/Winter 2010 ‘Joie De Vivre’ – an impactful film for the clothes but perhaps with less narrative and theatre than A/W 2015 and a charming film documenting Nick Knight's shoot for the September 2010 issue of Vanity Fair with Lady Gaga wearing Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci, Armani Privé and Alexander McQueen.