Well, it’s about TIME I wrote a little something about June’s West Eighteenth Street Fashion Show — particularly because a) I was in it, b) it’s been more than a month (!) and c) I’ve been a bit surprised at how little coverage it received. Call me old fashion fashioned (I’ll be here all week, folks), but doesn’t the premiering of 20 designers’ newest lines warrant some WWD-style reviews? I won’t go quite that far myself (maybe next year — for hire? Call me!), but I’m excited to share some of my faves…
“In Deep” by Katie Coble
Most of Katie’s pieces were transformative — changing with the un-snap of a button, such as a cap sleeve to a short sleeve or a built-in neck scarf. They were all lovely, and they kept our attention from start to finish! For the Summer at Sea theme in particular, Katie told Ink, “I was really interested in the surprising and unimaginable forms in the deep sea and used that idea to create my pieces. The garments mimic some of the elements of swaying coral and hiding fish, or fish changing to frighten predators.”
Fairfeather by Hadley Johnson and Peregrine Honig
A collaboration between Hadley, who previously owned Spool and is now attending Parsons in Paris, and Peregrine, co-owner of Birdies, this strongly themed collection took us far, far away from home. The deconstructed inspired outfits, featuring wrapped waists and gorgeous neck detailing, draped beautifully on all four red-headed models. (Yes, those are all true redheads, but they’re piled with hair extensions!) The high-drama show tells a story of uncertainty, with each model sad, disheveled and carrying a lone travel bag. Part Dorothy-esque tornado survival, part Ellis Island, the Fairfeather collection brought the show’s most theatrical and intriguing collection.
Summers Only by Joey Buschmann and Lily Walker
What fine-tuned detailing went into each of these models’ looks — it’s a pity the pictures here don’t communicate it! Each model was detailed with sea-themed body paint or hair-do sculpting, including starched fish nets adorned with fishing tackle. This detailing, and the dress shown on the runway, were wonderfully artistic; I wish the rest of the garments lived up. But very nicely pulled together.
Sophie & Gwendalynn
These suits were the show’s cherry on top — just as sweet, bright and one-is-enough as a maraschino. A classy, classic all-American style overall, with a definite stand-out: The high-waisted navy bottoms and red-and-white striped top. I’ll take it!
Sikenomics with Beth Guinta
Adding a nice change-up to the tone of the show was Sikenomics, known for its graphic and graffiti-art tees. It only made sense that this local name be part of the show, and Beth’s lovely high-waisted skirts brought it nicely to the runway.
Bon Bon Atelier
Last but CERTAINLY not least, we lovely ladies of Bon Bon! Betsy Blodgett showed off her diversity as a designer in this collection, from loungewear to evening wear that all tied together by paying homage in some way to the show’s Summer at Sea theme. Emily Blodget-Panos’ molded-acrylic jewelry added the perfect touch. We started our day with up-dos at the marvelous Darling Room then primped ourselves and our outfits backstage (Betsy sewed a few of the girls in!) and there we were, 90+ models standing in a line that curved around the block behind the runway curtain. Hardly enough time for butterflies. Until — we were on! Yours truly, in Asian-themed “beach pajamas” with a cool sheer back.
Harleigh in a beachy jumper with removable terry cloth skirt, and Anna in a hand-knit sailor top, form-fitting pants and a Peter Pan-like hat. The glamorous Stephanie in a sheer white cover-up over a vintage slip. A cool-colored evening dress with sea anemone-inspired volume on the skirt. Ally in another evening dress — this with a sequined pirate ship on the bodice. I’m still amazed I did the whole runway thing — but I must admit that I pretty much loved every minute of it. (Including, but not limited to, appearing on the local FOX affiliate to promote the show, as well as having a shot of my undies included in another local mag’s preview. No joke.) Thanks a million to Betsy and Emily for making it all happen. Props to Birdies and everyone who helped organize the wonderful show. I’m already looking forward to next year. And if Betsy asks me back, I’ll say yes — without hesitation.