It’s only 11:30am, but today has already been quite exciting. First, I managed to walk down the street to La Colombe, the coffee shop I spend too much money at when I stay with my cousins in New York City, wearing high-heeled boots. For me, that is an accomplishment—I generally only put heels on if I think the maximum steps required will be lower than twenty. But since I was on my way to my first fashion show I thought I might need all the height I could muster—being taller than people always gives me confidence, and I wanted to go into Lincoln Center with as much of that as humanly possible.
I then managed to get into a cab and head to Lincoln Center. During this cab ride I did not a) spill coffee on myself, b) get too many Nature Valley Bar crumbs on myself, nor c) leave my wallet or my phone in the cab (last time I was in New York I left my phone in a cab, a nice man picked it up, and I ended up going to his apartment to get it back, which fortunately I did without getting killed—he now has unlimited good karma). It’s the small victories (more after the jump).
I walked into the lobby filled with advertisements—DHL had made their packaging materials into dresses, and since it’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, there were a few very nice cars scattered about. I headed for the registration and into the show.
The clothes were as fabulous as the scene was bizarre and fabulous in its own way. The room was draped with black curtains lit with red-filtered lights, and mannequins were arranged in a circle in the center. Two models with tattoos and lip/nose rings stood among the plastic people, bedecked in fur and leather. The place was packed—people with cameras and cell-phones jostled to get to the front of the pack to take their shots. I stood back for a while before entering the fray.
What surprised me most about the show was how it was really two shows in one: one of the clothes and one of the people looking at the clothes. The clothes themselves were exquisite: detailed leather, draped wool, and fur accents that melded together in cascading shapes. I was truly taken by the designs. As my friend Sarah said when I showed her the pictures, they looked like something you’d see at a retrospective or a costume exhibit.
And the people were kind of exquisite, too. There were women wearing fur hats and leather pants, men in perfectly tailored suits, and a little old guy in an old Patagonia fleece taking photos (he was my favorite). The viewers were as well dressed and styled as the mannequins. Some stalked around, waiting for someone to want to take their photograph, and the minute they spotted a lens turned their way they jumped in front, hand on hip, head swiveling about on their neck in different poses like a bobble head doll. I originally thought this was a bit sad as I mistook a hunger to be captured on film for desperation.
But it isn't desperation. Because the people watching the show have an art of their own: the art of dressing, of styling themselves and their image. And having their picture taken is a way of capturing the performance. Because that's really what it is, a performance, and the hunger is a hunger to have that recognized. I recognize it with these photos because they knocked it out of the park, they were stunning--I loved their dresses, their coats, their heels. It was as much a part of the show as the clothes; and perhaps, instead of being two shows, as I wrote above, it was one show with two aspects that fed off of each other and made it a cohesive whole.
And yes, it was a bit bizarre and the weirdest room I'd ever been in, but it was exciting, it was, as I wrote yesterday, the party I am here to see. Perhaps the most valuable thing I took away from the whole experience, though, was how I can be comfortable in jeans and a coat, and just as confident around super dressed up people as I am around people wearing gym clothes. I realized that while I had put my high heels on to feel more sure of myself (and because dressing up is fun) I wouldn't have needed them. It's nice to know I could wear flats if I wanted to. But I may still wear the heels to make my own fashion week experience a bit of a performance, in my own small way.
Mannequins. I love how the looks are so different yet still cohere together because of the tailored details and color palette. The materials of fur, leather, and tulle also help keep it cohesive.
Incredible draping on these sleeves. I love the fur collar, such a rich brown.
Amazing coat! The draping, again, is beautiful. And so is the bright color.
This gown blew me away. I loved the shape.
I would actually wear this jacket and fur vest. I think it looks so rocker-chic yet sophisticated at the same time.
And if I ever get invited to a royal wedding (Harry's still single) I'll wear this dress and shawl, thank you very much.
As far as headdresses go, this one is nice.
The blue-lipped model. If the looks works, why fix it?
I think this person might be famous but I have no idea who he is. I like his smile though, and I think his little red riding hood is pretty awesome. Not sure about the shorts, but he certainly rocks them.
This person also might be famous. And her boots should be famous if they aren't already. The Commes de Garcon shirt looks great with them, and I don't know if you can tell, but her bag is a skull.
She looks like a rock-star Better Draper.