Fashion Week During The Apocalypse

This week, guest blogger Molly Crabapple pops by to bring you the the Coilhouse Guide to Fashion Week During The Apocalypse. Below is Part One – In Praise of Odyn Vovk. After the jump, a quickie interview with Odyn Vovk creator Austin Sherbanenko and a Molly sketch of the Vovk afterparty. Yay!

Images of the Odyn Vovk show by Molly Crabapple

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. “Zo,” I cried, “may I cover Fashion Week for Coilhouse?”

Fashion Week during our second depression is a considerably chastened affair. Alt Girl goddess Betsey Johnson ditched the tents. Celebrities are also conspicuously absent. Displays of excess don’t look so good these days. In their place are hoards of bloggers, who steal seats and swag-bags with Visigoth-style glee.

On Thursday morning, I stood on line for an hour with my fellow barbarians to pick up press passes. Getting passes to Fashion Week is deliberately confusing. You register on the Mercedes Benz website, but your press badge doesn’t guarantee you entry to any shows. You have to try to talk your way into each of those individually.

Fancy pants designers like BCBG and Nanette Lepore have little use for bloggers. However, being registered as press means I’m besieged with invites for Helen Yarmuk’s “FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE- a showing of Winter White furs v Extraordinary jewels v sport luxe Separates And Exotic skin accessories.” Even more confusing? Most of the best, most innovative designers aren’t showing at Bryant Park at all. Case in point: Odyn Vovk.

Neutral-toned, face-obscuring, post-apocalyptic Odyn Vovk (Ukrainian for “One Wolf”) is the one designer Zo insisted I cover. They held their show at a crumbling theatre in the Lower East Side. The crowd, with their pokey cheekbones, tattoos and artfully deconstructed capelets, looked like it would cut you:

Odyn Vovk fan

What’s freaky about fashion shows is how theatrical they are. They start 30 minutes late, and you make your way to the seat in pitch dark, chatting with a stylist. Then, blinding lights shoot on, live violins spring into action, and beautiful human beings, as carefully bred as greyhounds, jut their hips down a catwalk.
Odyn Vovk’s clothes look like they’re from a Mad Max future where contagious diseases run rampant and people really know their leatherwork. Think dark. Think layers. Think practical basics (lots of zip-front jackets and hoodies) combined with a quixotic quest to bring back the dust mask. Odyn Vovk’s guys look the elegant and sinister, and – this is deadly rare in a fashion show – they look tough. These are zombie-slaying clothes.

After the show was over, I dodged smoking fashionistas and snuck backstage. Odyn Vovk’s creator, Austin Sherbanenko, was balling up socks, but was kind enough to answer a few questions anyway.

(All transcription errors are my fault.)

MOLLY: Why the facemasks?
AUSTIN: The facemasks were inspired by my trip to Japan, and the way people throw shit on there. They’re made of wax kangaroo leather. I guess I like to obscure people’s faces because I’m shy.
MOLLY: What are some of your inspirations?
AUSTIN: I’m inspired by heavy metal music mixed with the ideas in my head. I don’t really have a hard-lined story. I prefer to just draw stuff and the collection develops from there.
MOLLY: I hear you’re a fellow art school dropout.
AUSTIN: School wasn’t for me. I just needed to do something. I was really passionate.

A willowy blonde goes to hug Austin, and I sneak out to the afterparty, where, knowing no one, I draw in the corner.

Molly’s sketch of fashion week afterparty guests

You can find out more about Odyn Vovk here and here.

Stay Tuned For Part Two, Where Coilhouse Reveals (and Subverts!) The Vicious Social Hierarchies Inside The Bryant Park Tents!

13 Responses to “Fashion Week During The Apocalypse”

  1. Shay Says:

    I like the face-masks, but to be honest, I’m a bit underwhelmed. This isn’t nearly as apocalyptic as I’d hoped it would be.

    (Though this image is totally rad)

  2. Zoetica Says:

    I will forever curse the fact that I couldn’t make it to this! Next time, love. And god damn, I love these clothes. They are theatrical to a point, but still quite wearable! WANT.

  3. BlueAnchorNatasha Says:

    And more creepy male models.. I love it.
    It may not be apocalyptic, but it is designers such as this that inspire me every time I see their work. I am so tired of the typical.

  4. Kirk Mitchell Says:

    I’ve been really enjoying the oilslick look of this summer’s Julius offering, myself. I want everything they’ve produced.

  5. cartoongoddess Says:

    Was that dude wrapped in a blankie? Must not let child know, or she’ll want to take blankie everywhere, make a fashion statement.

    Musta been marvelous sketchbook filler.

  6. Zoetica Says:

    Wax kangaroo leather. Throw that shit on.

  7. Lolla Says:

    I love how most of your drawings have the exact stuck up expressions, most fashionistas have at fashion weeks. (be it here in TO or anywhere else I gather) ;)

    Looking forward to more…

  8. Jack Says:

    What’s with the “garment” in top right square? Isn’t that what an Ewok wears?

    Or Cornholio, from Beavis and Butthead?

  9. Jerem Morrow Says:

    I can say nothing but YES.

  10. Skyler Says:

    Amazing! Such a young talent….very inspiring.

  11. final fashion » click click - 03-03-09 Says:

    […] Molly Crabapple sketches the outsider’s view of fashion week in New York for Coilhouse. […]

  12. LCC Says:

    The denim vest w/ goat leather sleeves is available for pre-sale here

  13. James Hawkins Says:

    Ok is it me or are these things getting more and more popular? Not that its a hoodie but look at the dang Snuggy, I would have never guessed that those would become a hot item.