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NYFW - More Clothing for Listless Wood Nymphs

This is going to be my fifith season covering NYFW for VICE and I’m jaded and cranky as fuck. Last year I exclusively wore jeans and a t-shirt all week long. Me and another writer joked that we were “street style repellers” and I didn’t get my picture...

by BEVERLY HAMES
Sep 7 2012, 4:00pm

This is going to be my fifith season covering NYFW for VICE and unlike some eager young whippersnappers, I’m jaded and cranky as fuck. Last year I exclusively wore jeans and a t-shirt all week long. Me and another writer joked that we were “street style repellers” and I didn’t get my picture taken one damn time. Emboldened by the nice weather (last Fashion Week I froze my ass off during Moncler’s ice-skating spectacular) and encouraged by the fact that I didn’t have to go to Lincoln Center and suffer the scornful side-eye from bitchy over-tanned PR reps who, unlike me, don’t believe that hair-brushing is optional, I put on the cutest outfit I could muster and began my first day covering shows. I even wore heels!

My first stop was Creatures of the Wind at MADE Fashion Week. The show was held at Milk studios. MADE, Milk, and its affiliated spaces are my favorites for shows. There is a good mix of weary industry types and fun deadbeats there for the booze, aka my kind of people. Plus, I got my picture taken for some street style blogs, which made me feel special. I mean shit, I’m cranky but I’m also a damn good dresser (sometimes) and it’s nice to be noticed. OK, to be honest it was probably thanks to the giant blue chrome pentagram earrings I was wearing, but I like to pretend I lured them in with my undeniable charm. 

Can someone please explain to me why this line is called Creatures of the Wind? The name implies freedom and movement, but the clothes that came down the runway yesterday were over-embellished, metallic, occasionally static, and seemingly designed to cater directly to the boldface names who were in attendance. (Fun fact: I spent 20 minutes standing behind Andre Leon Talley while people took pictures of him over and over. He seemed like an incredibly nice person.) I’m sorry, but I just I can’t get behind that pair of Pepto-Bismol pink pants with a “Swarovski Elements” stripe running down the side.

The influence of 1960s couture was very apparent, but what could have been a Courrèges-inspired youth quake moment skewed a little old. The collection was textile driven. Plastic raffia was interwoven with cotton to create a diamond jacquard on the aforementioned offending pants and metal holographic stars were incorporated into green and blue silk. The shimmery snake print fabric that opened and closed the show may have been from the 1970s, but it read a little trashy—an irremovable association with Contempo Casuals is drilled into my mind. Plus, it had no real anchor within the rest of the collection.

The Tabitha Simmons collaboration shoes were amazing. I need a pair. Seriously.

Summary: Clothes for quirky WASPs. Great shoes.

Next stop was NOT over on 26th Street. According to press materials, Jenny Lai’s SS2013 collection for her line is “a physical expression of the empty spaces we accumulate in our lives.” I’m not sure how that translates into this:

Whatever, I’ll roll with it. I’ll also roll with the outlandish styling, because what is a fashion show without a little fantasy? Oh wait, I think I answered that question at Creatures of the Wind. Unfortunately the construction quality was kind of a bummer at the NOT presentation. There were a lot of puckering seams and unpressed fabrics. Shit happens and it’s a young line, but still, get it together girl!

So the sheer panels are supposed to expose the fragility of our bodies or something? Whatever, I guess that’s well and good, I just wish these clothes fit the models a little better and that the entire point of view would get a little less arty and a little more fun. You think you’d approach things with a sense of humor when you’re strutting a magenta lasercut spandex dress with cutouts down the runway, especially when it’s paired with floral-net circular glasses. It may just be the fault of a humorless PR company. Does anyone even read the handouts they give you at presentations aside from me?

Summary: Loosen the vibes, tighten the quality control!

My third and final show of the day was Katie Gallagher at the Standard Ballroom. This season she made clothing for listless wood nymphs—good thing because I’d take a sullen, sexy wood nymph over one of those twee forest sprites any day. Her spring collection is steeped in woodlands white magic, a logical continuation of FW 2012’s Silent Soil collection. Gallagher herself has an almost feral quality, fitting for a young woman whose designs are inspired by the fading remnants of childhood promises.

The jewelry, designed by Megan Isaacs, served the collection well, although it reminded me more of the ocean than the forest. The lattice work could very well have been the veins of a leaf, but also coral or sea sponges, and more than one mermaid reference was uttered.

Now that the (perhaps mislabeled) “goth” era of her line is over, her dark veil has been lifted and the details of her designs are more evident. This season’s color palate is limited to black, white, and cream with leather detailing. Sheer panels and cutouts were incorporated in most of the looks, but the vulnerability they evoked was balanced by the strength of construction. Wait… didn’t I just make fun of someone for using language like this to describe clothes? Sorry, I can’t help myself—I actually believe the hype in this case.

Psychedelic folk songstress Ella Joyce Buckley provided a suitable live soundtrack. Gallagher previously used post-industrial music in a few of her presentations (Der Blutharsch and Haus Arafna) and, in a way, her clothing can be labeled as such. It’s post-urban, heavily influenced by the structural dictates of minimalism and new futurism, yet ultimately eschewing the skyscraper for a gauze-wrapped naturalist dream. The location of the Standard Hotel, a wrought-iron erection casting a shadow on the urban planning oasis of the Highline, was oddly fitting, if not slightly ironic.

Summary: Sexy nymphs perform white magic in sheer panels signifying diffusion, not decay (duh!). P.S. I would so wear this stuff.