A few fashion week picks Note: this post starts with some personal rambling, to get to my picks skip to below. This Wednesday starts fashion week –what I have referred to at times as camp for fashion lovers: meaning twice a year you see people you haven’t seen for 6 months but will continue to see with regularity for the next 6 days. The exchanges begin with recognition of mutual fabulosity followed by “So...which shows are you going to?” The answer to this question is often evasive as though sharing your hand at a poker table and range from a listing of every show and presentation available – translation: I am at fashion week solely for my Instagram account and to humble brag to “Oh, I am so over fashion week.” Translation: you are seeing me at perhaps the only show I was invited to this season.
In between these two is pretty much everyone else: the young style bloggers who are favorites with Kate Spade and Rebecca Minkoff, to the staffs of new publications more interested in recent Parsons grads and fashion editors of large publications who go to the most important - and covetable shows. Of course photographers are a different story as they’re assigned shows by their publications and are going non-stop the entire time without a lot of breaks for the requisite champagne.
When I started StyleDefined NYC in 2009 I was interested in shooting street style so I hovered at Bryant Park and followed the fashion pack. Soon after I was able to get a press credential and could never decide whether to do it as “press” or “photographer” and tried both. As “Press” I was allowed inside the tents but into shows only with an invitation...but I'd also get an amazing bag of swag (a practice sadly discontinued). In many ways this worked for me because I could take photos of the people coming to the shows and occasionally would be able to see a show as well. However at Lincoln Center I couldn't shoot at the entrance which was arguably the best place.
A friend convinced me to get a Photographer pass the next season because I could get into every show. Amazing, right?!? Try a nightmare! I was in the photographer’s pit at the end of the runway. It is crowded and highly competitive for the best vantage point. Major outlets have assigned spaces but for everyone else you have to fend for yourself and pit photographers hate bloggers. And I don’t blame them. In retrospect, I had no business being in the pit: if I wanted runway shots after the fact I could pull them from a website. I learned how to take great runway shots and how to stand my ground but it only took two times before I started skipping the pit. The biggest disadvantage for me was how much time it took. Sure I might be able to shoot say, the Oscar de la Renta show but to do this I’d have to wait for up to 30 minutes to get into the space and then stand in the pit holding my ground for another 30 minutes to even an hour before the show starts...missing all of the great style shots and feeling like cattle in a holding pen. Umm thanks but no thanks. As StyleDefined NYC evolved we began covering young designers and I began receiving more of my own invites – enough that I would have a small team work with me every fashion week to cover them. This will be my first season covering fashion week not under the umbrella of StyleDefined NYC. I’ve decided to see only what I’m really interested in, not just anything I’m invited to (remember: you are not a dancing monkey!) and as much as possible I’m going to presentations because the atmosphere is so much more relaxed than the shows. Of course I will be going to The Blonds runway show which is the ultimate in flamboyant fun and where I can see all my favorite nightlife friends. Here are a few *new shows for me this season that I’m really excited about.
I’ll admit I never heard of Nathalie Trad before receiving an invitation to her presentation but hers is one of the collections I’m most looking forward to seeing – and it’s clutches, not clothes. The past few years have seen a resurgence of hard clutches, acrylic or resin, that were first popular in the 50s and the new ones often have an aesthetic that mimics their predecessors. Nathalie’s take on the structured bag seems to me to be a complete re-invention. Working with precise geometries her pieces are both architectural and organic, effortlessly combining materials like copper, resin, wood and mother of pearl to make pieces that are as much art as they are fashion. –And would never be mistaken for a clutch from the ‘50s as they are uniquely modern as well.
Each season young designers come on the scene and make a splash only to disappear a few seasons later. Often because their clothes don’t live up to the hype – behind the shiny press package is an over reliance on stretchy material or shapeless t-shirts instead of a knowledge of how to structure clothes. Mathieu Mirano was a 20 year old Parsons drop out when he had his first NYFW show in 2011 but his work had a sophistication beyond his age. He’s still here in 2015 creating beautiful, polished and worldly designs. The craftsmanship of his work and it’s tactile nature intrigue me and I look forward to seeing it in person.
Verge: The Largest Queer New York Fashion Week Event & Runway Show in partnership with Brooklyn Museum
For me, a major highlight of the season is this show (in fact my next post will be all about it). There has been little representation of fashion that doesn’t fit perfectly with gender norms -beyond being seen as a passing fad. This show proves that an expanded view of fashion goes beyond media hype and trends. On the last night of fashion week DapperQ, Bklyn Boihood, D.Y.D.H. and Posture Magazine will host an event like no other along with -and at- the Brooklyn Museum. Starting at 6pm with a panel discussion and interactive programming followed by a fashion show featuring the works of 8 designers: KQK, Not Equal, Sun Sun, Jag & Co, Fony, Markantoine, Lactic, Saga NYC. This one is not to be missed and in its spirit of inclusivity no invite is necessary – just the entry fee to the museum!