After Seeing 38 Shows at NYFW, I'm Going to Wear Grey Sweatpants for the Rest of My Life
Alice and Olivia
I went to the Alice and Olivia show expecting something like a department store presentation. I'm familiar with this brand and it's not terrible. It's known for classy cocktail-wear and those slutty pumps with studs and pony fur and platforms that look higher-end than Jeffery Campbell shoes. Brands like this have a hard time presenting their garments in an interesting way because, even though there's nothing wrong with it, their ideas aren't new.
I think I'm supposed to know who was in the picture above. There was a red carpet with a few other people I didn't recognize—big surprise—and a hoard of photographers after them. I wonder how many of these people know who they're photographing? Have I mentioned how miserable photographers seem at fashion shows? It must be their least favorite type of job. Most of them are kind of old, so they must give even less of a crap about these minor celebs and models than I do, and they have to huddle together and wait for a bunch of them about to walk out of a doorway, pout, and walk away.
I guess it was sort of department store-like, since all presentations are, but the displays at least looked fun for the models. I bet it feels nice to look so cute. Who wouldn't want to be stuck in a 1960s sitcom set, dressed like a sexy waitress, holding a darling little purse or your own tiny little hip bones?
This DJ definitely didn't dress herself. She was pretending, almost convincingly, to have fun. The bar offered a few kinds of crazy cocktails, including a martini that held a giant ice cube with an orchid frozen in the center. Fancy things were offered on platters, too. I couldn't stay long, so I barely got time to take in all the free shit.
Even though I, nor anyone affiliated with VICE, was invited to this thing, I was graciously brought upstairs and immediately handed an ice cream bar. I was told I could try three new flavors, two of which were called "minis," and had inspired the mini skirts worn by these models, who stood next to the cart. I didn't understand this because all of the ice creams were the same size. I chose mint. I love this display because I, too, love Magnum.
I don't know how much I can say about these clothes. They're nice. Like, "nice." Like, something you would wear to a nice event and try not to get dirty, because they are very, very expensive and hard to get cleaned, seeing as they have many different fabric contents within each garment (isn't that just the worst?). Maybe the 1960s theme is partially asking, "Don't you wish you lived back in the day when you had all the time in the world to get the dry cleaning and the ironing done before the guests came over and you got wasted on orchid martinis and ate Magnums?" I was having a good time, even though I was by myself. Maybe there really is nothing better in life than the simpler times we once knew, right ladies?
Osklen show at at Lincoln Center
I went with zero expectations and zero knowledge of this designer, I was pleasantly surprised. Midriffs are still in for spring 2013, but only the top half, which is the cuter half for people who don't have rock-hard abs. I have an affinity for these kinds of nonsense cuts. This one shows off an area of the body that anyone can show without looking fat, and it has a mock turtle neck but no sleeves. I also love overt matching, so...
I have to say I'm super over digital prints, but the construction of this cape is impressive. Much of this line is like if summer missed winter. There are long skirts, but they have giant slits and are worn with flat sandals. There are capes and thick tunics worn over dresses, but everything has gaping cutouts in the back.
While some dresses exposed only the back, this one exposes the torso and back but still manages to evoke a prudishness.
This was my favorite outfit, probably because it looks the most expensive. Notice the mullet-like gelled hair, the mullet-cut skirt, the linoleum-ish top, and the overall high end look. It's a quiet joke, but I still thought it was funny.
Jeremy Laing at the Sunlit Gallery Space
After almost a whole week of elitist-heavy and hardly impressive runway shows, I decided that instead of piling on more designer indicators and flashy accessories, I wanted to stray as far away from fashion-victomhood as possible. On a regular day, one would consider me more of an Edina (from Ab Fab), and now I wanted to be the Patsy. In fact, I wanted to be less chic than Patsy, and more like the curators and art directors I would see outside of shows wearing big glasses and Issey Miyake's Pleats Please—a notoriously ill-fitting, but irresistibly modern-meets-traditional look. Maybe I wanted even less of a recognizable label to wear. Maybe I'd rather wear no color, no texture, and no natural fibers or precious minerals. I could look into grey sweatsuits, I thought. Maybe then, no one would mistake me for someone interested in the things I used to love, before I was exposed to the awful truth behind the industry's friends and followers. Just as I was considering my calculated fall from fashionability and my ideal cheap garbage clothes, I was invited to the Jeremy Laing presentation. A spread of beautiful fruits and veggies lay waiting for me. I was handed a Moet mimosa and welcomed to comb the racks of Laing's new line or have a seat on the coach and watch an artistically rendered video of the clothes on models.
I took pictures of the garments of racks, but the designer urged the writers at the show to use the photos from the website instead. The clothes are in muted colors, the lines are clean and sharp, but the shapes are sensual. A girl wearing this head-to-toe fabric armor look, in my mind cannot be mistaken for an out of touch robot. Maybe I'm wrong, and these are epitomizing the long stride forward-fashion victims tend to take, but something about this mood, the feel of the clothes, and the weight of the hardware left me loving high art again, not rolling my eyes at it.
Maybe instead of getting a monochromatic sweatsuit, I could get a Matrixy pantsuit, with functionality (pockets), a flattering shape, and in unassuming black (also in white), but with the surprise texture of multiple fades and materials.
Last but not least, these clothes followed the trend of boxiness and serious business, but the sexier versions were the standouts. If I had this dress I would wear it as often as I would have worn those everyday sweatpants I could have retreated into. Half of sexiness is comfort anyway, and the other half is showing both upper thigh and shoulder while covering shin and bicep.
Here is Kanye West and Kim Kardashian before they sat down for the show. The kind of skirt she's wearing will later make an appearance in the show!
Let me just say, as the most optimistic VICE writer I know of who attended 38 fashion shows in one week, by the time I got to this show, I over it. Most of what I was over was the simply boring or unrealized. I need clothing to be like art, in that it is stunning, well-done, and well timed. I need new clothes to reference an entire history that they are now placed into. So my favorites this season are designers who referenced more mundane fashion with sparkling or otherwise opulent materials. The economy is still an issue, but if one wants to appear patriotic, then dressing like a socialist would, for obvious reasons, be out of the question. If you're part of the one percent or part of the 99, different fibers of your life are questioned. The runway show, no matter what, is part of a type of consumerism just as fragile as the publishing or music industries after the introduction of file sharing.
And so it reflects a somber mood when times are tough, and it offers more practical garments when it seems appropriate to. Even the upper class like to look aware. If you're at all worried about the way your money operates, you might buy clothes that last a few seasons.
Sometimes, a designer is smart enough to work with these feelings without buying into their own hypocrisy. Louise Goldin's short stockings suggest a tiny version of an corporate office staple—minus the garter belt and extra fabric, in order to stay thrifty. The shoes are basic pumps with absolutely no frills, but in luxurious metallics and pearls.
Speaking of referential, The Normal's "Warm Leatherette," a song covered by everyone from Grace Jones to Chicks on Speed, which could be understood to be about a faux luxury (why isn't it hot leather?) closed the show, DJed by Diplo. And it was a perfect tune to ride out on at the close of NYFW.
Thank heavens Fashion Week is finally over. Check out some of our stellar past coverage: