I am probably the most anti-fashionista lover of cloth art you’ll come across. The beauty of this art expressed through fabric, finishes and embellishments was the very reason I studied design in the first place. It has kept me an active creative force in the industry of “beauty” for more than 20 years.
On the other hand, I must admit it is probably one the most neurotic energy depleting environments I have ever encountered. I suppose where there is immense beauty and creativity there has to be vampirism.
So when my dear friend Stephany called me from Washington D.C. last week asking if I would accompany her to a show or two during this Spring 2010 fashion week. Naturally I hesitated, often when I’ve attended related events I’d leave feeling very drained and tense. Even so, we’ve been friends and colleagues since our days at Pratt Institute and have worked on many projects together throughout the years. So a compromise was certainly in order.
Joining us would be another class-mate of ours that actually sweetened the compromise even more. Déjà vu, I remembered the three of us attending a Tommy Hilfiger show together about a decade ago. All in our forties now which I might add is the new thirties. Barring that we have all taken really good care of ourselves and maintaining our youthfulness quite well. Karen is now a beautiful mother of two teen age boys and running her own holistic health counseling service. I hadn’t seen her even longer than Stephany. Karen and I are both in the business of healing, so we have an endless exchange of chatter about ancient wisdom for modern living.
Funny thing, it seems to rain ever time during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion week and this Wednesday morning the weather wasn’t much different. The glooming clouds hanging over the city were threatening to burst through at any moment, but they held their peace.
For this reason and the time it takes to commute into Manhattan from Brooklyn, I was a little anxious, but I made it their ten minutes to call. Good for me these things rarely start on time anyway. A bit frazzled, I got their and there were my girls on the steps of the Bryant Park 41st Street entrance. Quickly, we shared hellos, hugs, and smiles and entered into the tents through a barrage of security measures.
I thought in my head, so this is what fashion week as become. Not so long ago, you could just walk into the pavilion, even if you didn’t have an invitation to any particular show and just mingle in their with all the other fashionista. Not anymore, it seemed a bit of a cattle call. This would normally be our time to see all the interesting takes on personal style and have an ear up on tasty little tidbits falling from lips of the devotees awaiting this religious ceremony a kin to a church revival below the Mason Dixon.
So much for the art of meandering, we were rush into the line leading to our respective show, quickly seated or in Karen and my case ushered to the VIP standing room. I just had to smirk to myself, enjoy all the hoopla and await the house lights going down to start the show.
In the mean time, Karen and I passed the time talking about our lives and what had happen in the last four or five years since we’ve seen each other. Catching-up in this surrounding wouldn’t be complete without commenting on how boring and uninteresting fashion has become. She was telling me about shows Stephany had attended earlier and how amazingly amateur and “school project” looking many of the collections had been.
I think we all pretty much agreed that we are living the death of fashion. On the other hand, we also agreed it might just be us. Partly, it’s that our lives have taking so far away for the epi-center of what’s currently going on in the industry. But if seasonal layouts that I used to so anxiously await from Bergdorf and Barneys were any indication or rod of measure, it’s a sad state of affairs. A few seasons ago it was this whole Euro-Trash street inspiration. Now, there is too much bad reproduction of vintage. It makes me wonder who’s being referenced; it’s certainly not the master’s. It seems more akin to the sensibilities of untrained home sewers creating throw-backs to a dull and uninteresting existence. This middle-American and UK East-ender approach is killing the magic once generated. Right now, most of the ready-to-wear lines look cheap and deeply steep in mediocrity.
Where is the Carolina , Oscar, Ralph, Bill, Zoran and Donna of generation X and Y? I have to wonder, if we have done our service in training the future or has technology and greed taken the heart and soul of the art of making beautiful objects of desire. The accessories market is currently light years ahead, but what’s with the rest of fashion view-point?
What the industry so desperately needs is a new, clear, super creative bolt of energy. I am left wondering, who can deliver this fashion ascension. I am not sure generation Y has the point of reference to pull it off. Looking around, one gets the notion that their minds are filled by artificial intelligence, the hunger for rewards and a sexual openness which crosses party lines. In all which is by itself non-quantifiable, it seems the heart is missing and that’s the substance of great artistic expression. I would suppose the jury is still out.
But honestly, I find that currently all forms of visual art is in need to a spiritual revolution. In my opinion, this holds true with fine arts and well as more commercial avenues. Pondering these thoughts the time arises for all of us gathered to meet the wizard.
The tension wells, the house lights dimmed and up went the music. A twilight blue bias cut silk dress with lots of rouching and ruffles, balanced in smooth plains kicks off the cat walk. It was totally a subtle wow factor, the Nanette Lepore show had begun on a high note.
This delicious start kept us from beginning to end with simply wearable separates, silk tops of more ruffles and rouching in bold solid colors and fantastic dresses splashed in Pan-African influenced stripes and prints. The genius of Nanette Lepore’s color explosion was its body conscious shaping, perfectly realized draping and the use of white and taupe to balance it all out. Her show was a delight to the senses; her magic immediately reminded me of Modern Patchouli by Therapeutate Parfums. It was citrus bold and beaming with the seventh chakra energy. It’s a heady, but very feminine collection bursting in hot pink, electric azure, sunshine yellow, leaf green and energetic violet. Like the fragrance Mandala, her use of these colors and their numerological value made this spring 2010 collection a hit.
I noticed directly across from me, two of the Real House Wife’s of New York City and the subtle turn up of their lips said it all. They looked pretty pleased! Stephany, Karen and I also agreed that Nanette Lepore was very spot on with this collection. You could tell she has the recall of a seasoned fashion veteran. Having gotten a full portion, we left feeling there is still a ray of hope in this dying Trojan of an industry.
So with all the other fashion soldiers, we march our way out of the promenade pleased to have been apart of this parade, indulged in a few quick photo ops and then on to the steps of the park to meet the press.