Usually fashion followers either love something and want it, or hate it and want to burn it. Occasionally, however, it's a little more complicated than that. Erin Fetherston's Spring 2012 Collection was one of those rare moments where I felt a big giant, “Eh, well, that was… nice.”
I was attending the Pamela Love show at Milk, and Fetherston was happening simultaneously next door. I snuck over and wiggled into the backstage area. The inspiration board for the hair and makeup shored up some optimism: Big hair, dark eyes, very 60s, Bardot all the way. A lifetime of working in vintage has given me a massive appreciation for retro styles, so the beauty element of the presentation, while perhaps lacking in risk or originality, still got me a bit pumped.
The backstage area was technically the spot where beauty reps want to talk to press about what cosmetics are being used, so technically I may have been nosing around where I shouldn't have been. The vibe was so pleasant though, and Erin Fetherston herself was pleasant as well, translucently pale and extremely nice to those around her. But I was there to see fashion, not enjoy tea and crumpets, so it was time to bail for the stage.
After vibing out in the multi-hued Turkish wonderland of Pamela Love's presentation next door (more on that soon) I wandered back into the stark white twee paradise of Fetherston's presentation. Champagne flowed, 60s girl groups belted out of the sound system, and everyone in attendance were in, like, beehive hairdos and tulle-skirted party dresses mixed with wood nymph hair-pieces and metallic blue cat-eye sunglasses. While the ladylike air was far from my personal sensibilities (nary a ruffle has ever touched this body) I appreciated it nonetheless. I even managed to get a photo of the aforementioned cat-eyed lady in the midst of the crowd. Seriously dug her way out John Waters meets tea-time vibe.
As for the clothes they were all very nice: accordion pleated silk party dresses, coral satin shorts, cream lace overlays, and one serious orange ruffled dress. But nice is all they were. The prints bummed me out, the butterflies didn't do it for me, and ditto the florals. Nothing wowza here--it all seemed cute, pretty, but ultimately it had an oppressive sameness that failed to catch me in the moment. At one point Fetherston prompted a model to stand up and show the voluminous arms on one dress. It was lovely, to be sure, but the vintage inspiration had no interpretation. Everything was predicable and nothing felt special. It was all just nice, and nice is ultimately stultifying.
It probably says something that this was my favorite part of the presentation. They gave the models M&Ms out of clear plastic cups to help keep their blood sugar up so they wouldn't faint from standing in the lights for so long. So, so nice.