In matters of contemporary style -- now more than ever -- it's all about the music.
Fox celebrates the strong link between music and cutting-edge fashion on Sunday at 8 p.m. with "Fashion Rocks," a glitzy two-hour special buoyed by such fashion-forward performers as Outkast's Andre 3000 -- recently named by Esquire magazine as the best-dressed man in the world -- as well as Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Usher, Rod Stewart and many others.
The concert, taped in New York's Radio City Music Hall on Sept. 8 and hosted by Denis Leary, is complemented by a collector's magazine supplement and a month-long fashion exhibition at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
"We are trying to add a little more historical perspective, targeting some of the really great moments and images that we get when we close our eyes and remember some of our favorite artists over the past 40 years or so," said executive producer Ken Ehrlich, the showman behind the annual Grammy telecasts. "You know, the Beatles coming off the plane in their 'Beatle suits,' Janis Joplin at Woodstock, 'Soul Train' with the disco-Afro look.
"And you have Avril Lavigne and stuff that came out of Seattle in the '90s as a kind of 'anti-fashion.' We're not teaching a course in fashion and music, but you walk away from this special going, 'I get it,' about how fashion and music have been tied all the years."
In some cases, archival footage will flow directly into one of the Radio City musical numbers, as when footage of Woodstock, where Joplin performed so memorably, segues into Blige's rendition of Joplin's "Piece of My Heart."
"But I'm not dressed like Janis," the singer quickly chimed in. "Janis had her own very distinctive style, and mine is very different, although I'll tell you that I'm wearing something fun that is kind of a fun tribute to that time period."
Viewers are free to read their own profundities into this celebration of high style and popular music, but in the end, like the other big projects executive producer Ehrlich has overseen during his 30-year TV career, it's mainly about entertainment.
"I don't think this show will change the world, but it's going to be a fast-moving couple of hours that will focus on our pop culture in the middle of all the talk about the presidential election," he said.