Fashion Week During the Apocalypse, Part Two

This week, pharm guest blogger Molly Crabapple pops by to bring you the Coilhouse Guide to Fashion Week During The Apocalypse. Below is Part Two – Anatomy of Fashion Week. Molly talks about the shows, and the swag and the social nuance. See Part One here.

There are several ways to experience New York Fashion Week. The first is as a worker in the fashion industry. I imagine this must be endlessly frustrating, as the entire week exists to overwork everyone and show them just where they stand in the pecking order. A more amusing, if sociopathic alternative, is to look at “Crashin’ Week” as a giant video game, in which you, a fah-bulous Super Mario, steal swag bags, elbow your way VIP parties, and plant your proletarian ass into aristocratic seats. Third: you can watch the spectacle of it all. It’s really interesting.

During New York Fashion Week, I got invited to Duckie Brown, Mackage, and Venexiana shows inside the tents. I also checked out Project Runway winner Leanne Marshell’s new collection, was a “VIP” during Williamsburg Fashion Weekend, and spent considerable time sipping McCafe in the press lounge.

Were I a super villain, Mackage would clothe my henchwomen. Oh those sleek coats!

Photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Models were all styled like futuristic gigolos and robot sex ninjas – with high ponytails and black netting stretched over the girls faces. I feel a new club look coming on. Click below for much, much more, including a summary of what Fashion Week has taught me!

Photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall really deserved to win.

Photos by Edward Colelli

Her presentation featured elaborately tucked, sculptural dresses, including a sweeping black ball gown sported by a Tilda Swinton look-alike and a grey coat straight out of the Little Princess.

Photo by Edward Colelli

This season, Duckie Brown went with dust masks, puffballs on the models heads and lots of Guantanamo orange. Despite this, they still had many rocking pieces, including a patent leather trench coat that could teach Lip Service a thing or two.

The Venexiana show was a bit of a purple lit club-scene. Think thumping bass and tuxedo clad bouncers. But when the lights slam on, all is forgotten. Venexiana can really make ball gowns. The show alternates between ethereal white poofy dresses and bitchy black-clad dommes. Combine that with the identical ballerina buns all the models were sporting, and it starts to seem like a version of Swan Lake – albeit one where Odile wins in the end.

Images courtesy of ©2009 Frazer Harrison at Getty Images for IMG

Some of the lessons learned during my first Fashion Week experience:

  • Media Risers are scary, pokey things- half insect, half firing squad. When a 14 year old model struts towards one, it looks like a maiden warrior confronting a dragon.
  • Male models look like the most perfect men ever. They are 16.
  • A staggering amount of free crap is given away during fashion week. While I got some wonderful swag (this doodle is in a leather bound Mackage sketchbook) the true media EE-LEET get free laptops and access to gifting suites.
  • Fashion Week security is composed half of teamster-esque gentleman, and half of 19 year old fashionistas in headsets. Charm is useless on the gentlemen, but if you’re nice to the girls, you’ll get a seat. This is a good lesson for life.
  • Greydon Carter says that celebrity is all seating and lighting. Fashion Week reinforces this. You need one pass to get in the tents, but invitations to get into any of the shows. If you are a blogger, you’ll likely stand (though you might squeeze into a seat). The grander a Poobah you are, the closer you are to front row.
  • Truly grand Poobahs get to hang backstage before the show. Anyone nervy can hang backstage afterwards.
  • All shows start 30 minutes late.
  • McDonald’s was a poor choice of sponsor for Fashion Week. Flyers, like this one from Duckie Brown(choice quote- “I took a lot away from my experience working at McDonalds- the importance of enjoying your work and your coworkers and having a laugh when you work. And those Cheeseburgers…”), do not help matters.
  • Everyone talked a lot about the recession, but Fashion Week’s excess seemed as Babylonian as ever.
  • Barbie did a show. I was unable to procure invites, but I did spend considerable time checking out the hot pink, circular Barbie installation in the middle of the lounge.
  • As with any huge, mainstream festival, there’s an alternative spinoff. On the last day of Fashion Week, I found myself at the rock club, Glasslands, checking out Williamsburg Fashion Weekend. It was dark and divey and beery and rock and roll- everything that the tents aren’t. A willowy Paige Wood sings Hole songs and depression songs while the lovely, leggy Mandate of Heaven girls model reform school couture.
  • Despite the fun that can (and should!) be poked at Fashion Week, it’s a legitimately exciting spectacle. Like the potlatches thrown by indigenous peoples in the Pacific Northwest, Fashion Week represents the ultimate immolation of effort and beauty in return for status down the road. As the music starts- as the blinding lights turn on- as that first model walks down the runway- you can’t help but be slightly thrilled you’re allowed to experience it.

    10 Responses to “Fashion Week During the Apocalypse, Part Two”

    1. drea Says:

      I dont see anything so apacalyptic about any of this.

    2. Nadya Says:

      drea, you’re right, it’s not apparent without context, but Molly explains the “Apocalypse” angle in Part 1 of this 2-part post:

      “Despite being a New Yorker, I’ve never attended Fashion Week. I took pride in shunning the air-kissy white tents at Bryant Park. But the spectacle of Fashion Week before the Fall – the splendor of $50,000 cloth objets d’art in the months before the economic apocalypse was too much for me.”

    3. cappy Says:

      Hey, hey, hey — let’s stay chipper about the whole business, shall we? I’m sure everything’s going to be better by September. Seriously. No apocalypse coming, everyone go back to your business.

    4. Nadya Says:

      I agree with Cappy.

    5. Blog@Newsarama » Blog Archive » Friday Linkblogging Says:

      […] music. Molly is the featured artist right now. Also, you can check out her fashion week coverage at Coilhouse, if you’re into that sort of thing (which I so […]

    6. RockLove Says:

      Well done Molly well done! Great photos and interesting lessons for life… charm those 19 year olds and battle the insectine dragon! Wish I could have gone with you :P I’m nervy… and tall… at least we could have sat in the corner and illustrated fashionistas and sleeker-than-thou types.

    7. Stephe Says:

      That purple dress has me all starry-eyed. To be honest, most of the female fashions seem to dull in comparison to the male fashions this year. Not the ones featured in this blog, necessarily.

      I buchered that word.

    8. Tequila Says:

      @Cappy…many forget Apocalypse is just as much about rebirth as it is about total destruction. Worst case scenario we form a Coilhouse Commune in some out of the way part of the world…live off the land…or magazines…or the internet. We can eat that now right? Something though. It’s not like we’d go all Lord of the Flies and go primal right?…well Zo probably would. Gotta keep an eye on that girl.

      All in all I really enjoyed these pair of posts. It was a snippet of course but it was digestible. Good focus on stuff I’d probably have to wade through dozens of other designers to get to. The Men’s stuff continues to disappoint though…it’s either for the skinny pretty boy type of the “hey I want to be a walking piece of art LOOK AT ME” type. Not really either of those…

      The Odyn Vovk stuff however was the most “wearable” of the stuff I’ve seen so far. I dug the face masks and color choices…the men’s stuff in that collection was the right vibe.

    9. Zoetica Says:

      Tequila, since you mentioned it… 2012, Iceland, me and a small group of people WILL gather to see whether the predictions are true. Lord of the flies scenario highly probable.

    10. Tequila Says:

      @Zo…Hey that sounds like fun. If I had to be anywhere for the Day of Doom Iceland sounds like a perfect fit…or New Zealand. If the Lord of the Flies thing does go down…remember Iceland has those special horses of theirs. Summon your inner Genghis Khan and show no mercy!