French luxury brand Kenzo tapped Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O for a short film soundtrack highlighting their vibrant SS18 collection. Iranian filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour, who made “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” and “The Bad Batch,” directed the short and worked on the story development with O.
“When I first brought [the project] to Ana Lily I had about 100 ideas, and she distilled them down to something that’s actually quite elegant and simple,” the singer told Vogue. The nine-minute film depicts a photographer (played by Alex Zhang Hungtai, formerly of Dirty Beaches) as he charts the wave of emotions that come from his unrequited feelings towards a muse, all while showcasing Kenzo’s vibrant new collection of clothes, of course.
O has a sneaky cameo in the film as Hungtai’s photo assistant, but her atmospheric and yearning song “Yo! My Saint!” is the real star of the short. Sung as a duet with British soul musician Michael Kiwanuka, it’s a winding rock track, chock full of romance and melodrama. “Yo! My Saint” is a sultry, slow-burning ballad full of yearning and heartache. Sonically inspired by Shin Jung Hyun, who O calls the “Korean psychedelic godfather of soul,” “Yo! My Saint” is a languid, meandering soundtrack informed by the muses’ distinct looks.
Kenzo’s creative directors were inspired by the late Japanese model Sayoko Yamaguchi and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, and the two icons influenced O’s craft of the song. “When I saw photos of Yamaguchi, they were striking and kind of operatic,” explains O. “As far as the style and the fashion [of Yamaguchi and Sakamoto] is concerned, I think it informed the high drama that I wanted to put into the music.”
“Yo! My Saint!” will be available as a limited edition 7” on January 22, available on both O’s website and at Kenzo stores.
Check out the film, as well as the song itself below.
Photo Credit: Marv Watson