WTXL — Florida A&M University's Marching "100" landed in Paris on June 19 after being selected to perform at the 2022 Louis Vuitton Men's Paris Fashion Show.
Louis Vuitton offered the marching band an all expenses-trip for 35 students and 10 staff members to perform at the Men's Fashion Show, which takes place on Thursday, June 23 at 2 p.m. CEST at the Louvre museum. Their performance is set to last for 30 minutes.
According to music director at Louis Vuitton Men's, Benji B, this year's creative vision for the show called for a marching band.
"In all the work we've done on shows here, authenticity is really at the center of everything we’re interested in. We don’t reference things or emulate things. We go to the top, and that’s why we came to you,” said Benji B, a well known DJ in Britain and BBC Radio presenter.
Reportedly, a marching band performing in the men's fashion show had previously been discussed between Benji B and Louis Vuitton Creative Director Virgil Abloh, who worked closely with one another on the Louis Vuitton Men's Fashion Show since 2018. African American designer Virgil Abloh, 41, passed away back in Nov. 2021.
Benji stated that his research of marching band culture directed him to the Marching "100" specifically as he was already aware of the band's heritage and history.
“It’s watching homemade videos and iPhone footage of the Mighty Rattler Intro and the Snake Walk,” Benji B said. “I have a great deal of respect for the incredible culture and heritage of this art form. What they do is at the very top. It may feel exciting to be in Paris to do this project, but it’s just as exciting to us, and it’s just as much of an honor to have what they do on the runway.”
After arriving in Paris on Sunday morning, the band began rehearsals in a studio and practiced routines on a runway.
Director of Bands Shelby Chipman anticipates a memorable performance in Paris.
“The opportunity to perform in this EPIC moment in Paris, France during the Louis Vuitton Fashion Show is truly another major accomplishment and adds to our strong legacy of excellence. It speaks to the amazing talent we have in the Incomparable Marching “100,”’ said Chipman, who performed during the 1989 French Bastille Day parade with the band. “I’m so proud of the tremendous work they have put into this show in a short time. I can’t wait for the world to witness this explosive and extraordinary production. Much love to Louis Vuitton and their artistic director Benji B. and the entire team. You are officially honorary FAMU Rattlers for Life.”