High fashion is a band that a broader audience of music listeners
don't know much about despite their major hit "Feelin' lucky
lately" back in 82. Among Petrus' and Malavasi's achievements
they place them self in the middle when it comes to recognition.
One reason was that they only released two albums and were more
or less always somewhat in the shades of the better known acts
of Change and B. B. & Q band that was the number one and
two of the Little macho empire, at least from a commercial point
of view. Musically though, High fashion did receive some good
material from the main writers of Malavasi, Romani and a few
Americans and could compete well with the two big ones.
name of the band associated to the fashion business was not
something Petrus was behind though. Instead it was Mic Murphy,
the co-runner of Petrus' Little Macho publishing office in New
York, that came up with the name High fashion. Mic was very
familiar with the NYC music scene and certainly did know what
kind of groovy name a brand new band should have. Murphy is
of course best known for being the road manager of the funk
band Kleeer before he met Petrus and the co-founder of synth
funk band The System in 82.
the start the band contained three members, Eric McClinton,
Meli'sa Morgan and Alyson Williams, all vocalists that were
picked and employed by Petrus in New
of the hand picked band members had an interesting musical background.
Eric had earlier during the 70s been a member of Motown band
"The Vikings" and worked as a vocalist with "The
Mike Theodore orchestra" in 79 and Meli'sa as a vocalist
on different "Kleeer" albums and on "A shade
of love's" funky album in 82. Alyson, a daughter of the
Jazz bandleader and trumpet player Bobby Booker, had done some
background work as vocalist on several albums by the awesome
band "Unlimited touch" before joining the group. The
name clearly showed what Petrus was looking for. He wanted a
classy and tasteful music presented in a luxurious package,
but did he succeed with his intentions?
again, Petrus used a mix of Italian and American musicians,
both insiders and outsiders, to write, produce and play the
music, and then brought in the vocalists when it all was set.
Although the band have to be considered as a mix of a studio
concept and an ordinary band, after all, the singers never played
any instruments or wrote any music (lyrics only), High fashion
were more of a band than Change in 80 and 81 for example. The
vocalists were also actually named on the cover as a band and
depicted on the same as well. This way of putting a new band
together was typical for Petrus and worked well, so why stop
had also an interesting way of dealing with the songs written
for his bands. He told his staff of writers, musicians and producers
to do their thing, brought in the vocalist to finish the job
but didn't say a word to them on which album the songs were
going to end up. That was something they later heard on the
radio, only the core Italians did know. That's why the similarities
between the albums of B. B. & Q. band, High fashion and
Change in 81-83 for example were so indisputably obvious. Even
though Petrus had some thoughts about giving each band a personal
profile it was hard to detect anything else than vague difference
between them. Generally High fashion and B. B. & Q band
had a more funky style than Change, but once again, it was most
often hard to tell. The tracks of all the albums a specific
could easily have been switched between them and nobody would
have never noticed.
fashion released their first album on Capitol in 82 titled "Feelin'
lucky" and presented a smooth and classy style of R&B
mixed with a distinct europop and rock flavor. The name of the
group really matched well with their very European sound on
most tracks. High fashion's debut stood out from the rest of
the Petrus/Malavasis productions that year, non of them had
that pop and rock sound in the same extent with the exception
of the obscure but highly interesting album of Zinc. High fashion's
album did indeed include two very typical and classic examples
of Little macho productions, the joyful and slick disco influenced
"Feelin' lucky lately" and the catchy and funky Kashif
penned "Hold on". Both tracks were very similar to
each other and with many tracks from Change and B. B. &
Q. band's albums as well. As already mentioned, the common procedure
was for Petrus to collect all the produced songs among his handful
writers and then in the last minute decide which track to be
placed on which album, that's why much of the his artist sounded
the same, the "Petrus sound". This pattern was repeated
over and over again with a splendid result!
"Feelin' lucky lately" immediately became a considerable
hit and reached #32 on Billboards R&B chart. The
rest of the album, with its soft europop sound mixed with some
more groove oriented refrains, was pending from good to decent
and didn't reach the same class as the two mentioned. Most noticeable
was the mid-tempo track "I want to be your everything".
uprising star of Kashif made a short guestplay and wrote or
co-wrote three tracks and co-produced three others. As always,
the excellent composer Romani made an extensive contribution
with three co-written tracks and among them the main hit of
"Feelin' lucky lately". The "old warrior"
Fonzi Thornton, used on earlier Petrus productions as well as
singer on several Chic albums, wrote the lyrics of three tracks.
producers were already known from Change, Petrus and Malavisi.
Petrus, the more business oriented person didn't actually produce,
that was the brilliant Malavasi's and
Romani's big thing. A bad habit of Petrus sometimes was to take
the credits of musicians, many times promised to be credited
as producers of the albums, a behavior that naturally made people
less eager to work with him to put it mildly. Both Dennis Coffey,
Mike Theodore and Kashif experienced that on the first album
of High Fashion on which they were credited as assistant producers.
1983 it was time to release their second album, "Make up your
mind". Once again Capitol records was the label. The set turned
out to be a pure and solid record even though it wasn't very
innovative. By now Meli'sa Morgan had left the group for a successful
solo career and were replaced by Jazz vocalist Marcella Allen
that had appeared on "Lonnie Liston Smith's" Jazz
album "Love is the answer" in 80 among others. Petrus
and Malavasi produced the record once again. Petrus actually
co-wrote one track, a rare thing for sure, as it only happened
at very few occasions. Otherwise it was Malavasi's time to show
his talent once again as he wrote four tracks in favor of Romani
that wrote none. Timmy Allen from Change also wrote two tracks
and the sensual female singer Tawatha Agee from Mtume wrote
the lyrics of one track. Notable is that Petrus decided to use
a very limited amount of musicians including all the band members
of B. B. & Q. band when the album was recorded. This could
be explained by his grooving financial problems that kept bugging
album was a very solid one with virtually no bad tracks at all
and with a very high general standard. It also was a significantly
harder, more funk inspired record compared to the debut without
losing the easy-listning and smooth feeling. The album was maybe
a little bit repetitive and did not show any spectacular moves
when it comes to the musical part but with such a great vocalist
achievements it did present a very good mix of dance music.
most noticeable tracks were the powerful and speedy "Make up
your mind", "Love" and "Pump on the pipe" with a lot of groove
in addition to the marvellous midtempo track "A little bit more
time" and the worthy ballad "Just a little bit more love.
Williams, with her characteristic high pitch strong voice and
MacClinton with his rough, hard working and inspiring voice
all-together turned out to be an innovative combination that
made the album complete. This
is one of the better albums in 83, although it wasn't appreciated
when it comes to the commercial side, as it didn't sell very
well. The listeners who didn't buy it missed a good, solid and
funky album including some memorable tracks well worth the money.
to the former member of Change, Jeff Bova, High fashion started
to work on a third album, but the idea was abounded before it
turned to reality and High fashion split up. Rumor has it though;
that High fashion did release a 12" in 84 or 85 but that
has not yet been confirmed. In 86 however, a group called High
fashion released a 12" titled "You make me feel so
good" on the small label called High fashion records. Nothing
proves however that this is the same group especially as none
of the songwriters, producers or even the voices on the record
can be recognized from earlier productions.
the end of the group Meli'sa went on doing a quite good solo
career with her biggest hit "Fools paradise" released in 85.
On her album "Good love" in 87she did a classic duet with Kashif
that also produced the album. Meli'sa still works with music
today. Alyson Williams also went on doing a solo career producing
a great ballad "Just call my name" from her debut LP in 89.
She also sung as a background singer on Fat boys second album
in 85. At the same year as High fashion released their final
album Eric McClinton also participated as background singer
on the albums of "Six million times" by B. B. &
Q. band and "This is your time" by Change. He was
also the lead singer of the two rare studio creations of Ze-brass
(83) and Deep (85), but then he seems to have disappeard from
the scene. Marcela Allen later did some work as vocalist on
an experimental rock album in 83 and on a rap album in 92.
the original albums on Capitol both albums have been released
on CD. The first time that happened was on the 9th of February
1999 when both albums were released on the Japanese label Vivid
sound. The work of digitally remaster the original tape is superbly
done with an excellent sound but as it was an imported CD the
price was rather high. The first album is not for sail anymore
but the second one is still in print.
the 23rd of August 2004 EMI Holland released the first album
on CD as a part of their newly created "Masters Of Funk & Soul"
series. You can't find that CD on Amazon US, but on Amazon
Germany (best price) and Amazon
the 15th of November 2005 the Italian label Fonte records released
a box of five CD's including both albums by High fashion together
with the first
three albums by B.
B. & Q band. More
info about this box and the additional four exclusive boxes
in the series can be found here
of High fashion
Please click on the covers below to see a complete list of songs
from each record.
year & format
(LP & CD)
(LP & CD)
All original release years