Getting Drunk on Free Booze and Running into Kim Gordon at NYFW
Am I crazy? I mean, I get it. Fashion Week totally sucks, especially if you're press. It's like: Cool, I get to go to events that losers only wish they could get invited to because they don't realize these events lack copious amounts of dancing and champagne and sex. In reality, these events are more like giant, stale advertisements. And I have to sound like an asshole when my friends ask me, "What are you up to?" and I'm all, "Ugh, Fashion Week. I'll get back to you when it's over." But I work for a living, and walking around Chelsea all day in September, even if my day is dotted with stressful are-you-on-the-list moments, is way better than being inside and still working, right? Plus, there are free drinks sometimes, and at the end of the day, there are big parties with dancing and champagne and sex. Not that I go to any of those, but it's nice to know I could.
Speaking of free drinks, by the time I got to JF & Son, I was drunk. So, sorry about the pictures. The silhouettes were entirely un-body-con. Square everything, even square backpacks and flat sandals. I loved how stark they looked. JF & Son is a fashion line about separates: what they are, how to wear them, and what they do to a body.
The models were really beautiful and non-traditional. The dresses reminded me of a perfect thrift-store find I owned in high school and had a hard time getting rid of when the straps busted. Reflective material striped the sides of a little black dress, and made up the entirety of a floor-length gown, which was, as my friend described it: "the dress we always wanted." This was JF & Son's first runway show, and I inappropriately felt proud during it. (It helped that they were handing out free whiskey and sodas.)
After JF & Son, I visited the Bernadette Corporation's retrospective opening at Artist's Space in SoHo. The opening was not officially part of NYFW, but the Bernadette Corporation are my all-time favorite fashion designers. Here is a sampling of their genius line, which was short-lived and relatively unnoticed as either an art movement or a fashion moment. Note the ahead-of-its time exposed pocket jeans with ephemera of its day and the sporty-chola look with BC branding.
The TV's in the exhibit were playing a video of a BC runway show, which looked like it was hosted in a high school. The show was inspired by Pamela Anderson.
Not only were BC's clothes funny, they were well-made and innovative. The red skirt above was connected around the other leg with gold chains.
And this ribbed tube top in the black and white video above had a plastic window situated above the nipples.
Of course, BC aren't only known for their clothing line. But their clothes were the easiest work to display. Their art and activities have criticized the political, literary, and commercial worlds. As a collective, they partied, they broke up, and they created dialogue. They made a film, put on a play, and wrote a novel (which is amazing and is titled Reena Spaulings, after its main character and the gallery they started by the same name).
This was a chinchilla fur coat.
It had the letters BC shaved into it.
I think I'll go back to reread this timeline, which was put together beautifully, with plenty of negative space suggesting their hiatus. It had magazine clippings next to the current events that happened to coincide with the collective's work. As a break from other fashion shows, this opening was like a shot of B-12 in the ass. After looking at every inch of this gallery and seeing Kim Gordon walk in as I was leaving, I was ready to take on any level of consumerist crap strutting past me on the runway. Because at the end of the day, it's all crap, really. And it's best, says the Bernadette Corporation, to at least engage in the world if we're forced to live in it.
I highly recommended this exhibit for the bettering of both your art education and your social conscience.
On Sunday, I woke up at my friend’s place, conveniently located across the street from Lincoln Center. Unfortunately, Hache, my first show, was at the piers in downtown Manhattan.
Hache was quite lovely, but forgettable. I don’t need some Gaga-crazy fashion, but give me a little more than demure, please. Hache could've definitely done better than this. I did, however, love a little white dress in the collection. It had a wide collar in front and a strange flatness in back. But I wasn’t thrilled with the lazy finish. Trends this season include zero hems, square-cut gowns, and dresses with no waist or cinching of any kind. Basically, lazy design. Also: allover prints and silver.
Next was Catherine Malandrino. Polar opposite of the meek little rough-around-the-edges shows I've been to at the piers so far. This line is high-end. It's Dynasty meets Blow-Up. It's vintage pumps, late 1980s bouquet-like bouffants, and mod hats. I don't know who Malandrino is made for, since it's too old-fashioned for the youth and way too body-con for oldies. But personally, I wanted everything.
This girl is like, "It's cool, I can ride on the back of your motorcycle, the slit in my skirt is long enough."
These girls were invited to a boat party and dressed the part, but felt out of place once they boarded.
The thick lace dresses, 90s dance-team bustiers, fishnet socks, and pastel color schemes are actually pretty downtown trendy. If the models had sea-colored hair, nose rings, and blackened eyebrows, they would be a high-end version of a Grimes fans in Williamsburg. But instead, they were styled to be uptown girls—Malandrino girls—which is confusing and appreciated.
Here's Malandrino herself, whose expression and motorcycle jacket says it all—fuck it.
Next up was Kara Laricks, which was incredibly boring. I often wonder if these designers are just unaware of how derivative their lines are. Maybe if they were forced to go on reconnaissance missions to see what was in all the cheap mall stores, they would realize how unnecessary their contributions are.
Maybe they are so deep in the fashion trenches, they think that making middle of the road rompers with a few twists (a collar with a faux untied bow tie hanging from it, shorts with a train, sheer-over-opaque details) will awe those who want something wearable and expensive with a cutting-edge flavor. Actually, they may have a point...
Next I went to Lincoln Center because I wanted to see Custo Barcelona, the most expensive Euro-trashy line in America with the craziest store in SoHo. Unfortunately, my email confirmation wasn't available for self-check-in with the high-tech scanners they had there and standing room was at capacity. Naturally, I was turned away as the show started at The Stage, along with a huge crowd of angry older ladies. So, I wandered next door to The Box, where the tacky treasures of Erickson Beamon glistened on models being carted around in a circle on dollies.
The dresses were a step up from last season's flapper costumes. These at least had substance, and incorporated the jewelry for which the designer is famous.
Still over the top, it was easy to see who would wear these prom and cocktail dresses: performers. Erickson Beamon is a jeweler to the stars, so it makes sense he'd get a clothing line together to accommodate the wardrobes of his glitter-interested and fashion-hungry but not-so-fashion-savvy friends.
Check back with VICE for more NYFW updates from Natasha Stagg.
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