Music Unites Kicks off Fashion Week With a Performance by Reni Lane

09/14/2010 01:48 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Music Unites and Cross Street Productions joined forces to kick off the beginning of New York Fashion Week. Guests arrived in their finest, including a number Manhattan influencers, Samantha Swetra from The City, and Ally Hilfiger. The event was held in part to celebrate make-up artist Natalia Ramirez's new beauty brand Enter Pronoun, which emphasizes color intensity, texture, and quality in 13 pieces for eyes, lips and cheeks.

Sipping Ty Ku cocktails under the chandeliers of a chic SoHo loft space, partygoers enjoyed an intimate performance by Reni Lane who jump started the evening saying, "Music and fashion go hand in hand because it's all about celebrating your own personal style."

On the tails of opening for the Arctic Monkeys, Reni released her sophomore album Ready in March and describes her sound as "Joni Mitchell songwriting style with a Karen O performance delivery." She was introduced to Music Unites through Amanda Leigh Dunn, who just launched the branding company Cross Street Productions, and was instantly interested in the Music Unites Women's Empowerment initiative.

I think it's really amazing that Music Unites is focusing on Women's Empowerment. I feel it's something we need to keep pushing for as musicians and in general," she said. In the past, she feels like she was taken advantage of at times as a woman trying to make it in the music industry where marketing practices can sometimes have a sexist tone. "It's important for girls to know that they have self worth and it's not based on what a guy thinks of them or being sexy or their looks or being an item for consumption. I think people are starting to figure that out. Music consumers know what's real and what's not. Young women should be encouraged to be themselves.

One of the main components of the Women's Empowerment initiative and Music Unites broader mission is to fund music education in underfunded inner city schools. Reni began playing piano at age 10 and played trombone in the Marching Band, piano in the Jazz Band, and xylophone in the Drum group in high school. She said:

I was very lucky in that I had really amazing high school band program where I went to school. I was really encouraged to pursue music. It was never like music is just for fun or a side thing. I was always encouraged to pursue it and my teachers would bring me opportunities about song writing competitions and bring me on trips. My high school experience was really enriched by music education and it was also a community for me to be with other people who had the same interests.

Reni 's hard work paid off. Attendees stood in rapt attention to her performance and later got in to the groove as DJ Jane Bang spun upbeat music to cap off the evening. Upon leaving, special guests received an exclusive Music Unites or Enter Pronoun bag from Le Sportsac. A perfect way to begin Fashion Week!