Thursday, December 11, 2014

What We Talk About When We Talk About Fashion Shows

Last week, I went to the Portfolio class for the Fashion Design graduating students.  I helped them proofread, but I also took note of the drawings of the clothes.

Last night I got to see those clothes on real humans.  What a treat!

I went expecting the Fashion Show to be very different from what we usually think about when we think about fashion shows.  There was no runway.  There was not much of that catwalk prancing.  Occasionally people took pictures, but it was mainly with their phones.

The Fashion Show was held at Stache, a bar in downtown Ft. Lauderdale that billed itself as a 1920's drinking den.  I thought about secret knocks and bathtub gin, but it wasn't that kind of bar.  It felt like we were on an abandoned stage for some college play.  Throughout the cavernous 2 story bar, we saw threadbare sofas and some hardback chairs.  Upstairs was a well-lit library, and along with the old books were typewriters and an old sewing machine.  Downstairs was a fake fireplace.  There were dark corners and places where I dared not intrude.

Throughout the bar, the student models wearing the Fashion Design graduating class's clothes had arranged themselves into a variety of tableaux.  Every so often, they rearranged themselves.  As far as I could tell, they didn't change clothes.

The audience circulated and talked to the designers.  I felt strange staring at the models, even though we were supposed to do so.  It seemed so rude, somehow, especially for the groups that weren't on the two stage-like areas.

My inner fabric artist loved being able to be close to all the fabrics.  I saw tweeds with sparkles and clothes with all sorts of embellishments.  I talked to one designer about the cloth that she used, cloth that's actually two pieces hand sewn by women in India.  We talked about her own clothes, which she said she had sewn by hand, but she actually meant she had sewn the embellishments on with her hands.  The garment itself she had sewn by machine.

It was one of those days when I felt like a character in a movie.  After coffee at a friend's house, we grabbed a burger at ROK:BRGR, a place around the corner from Stache.  The streets are strung with lights year round, which led to the "I'm in a movie!"  feel.  We had some trouble finding the place, which made me feel like some interesting encounter might be about to happen.  And then there was the show itself, which felt so out of the ordinary.

But like Cinderellas everywhere, I had to return home.  I was grateful for flannel p.j.s, so cozy and different from the clothes I'd been seeing.  It was one of the rare South Florida nights where I was happy to have a heater connected to my central air unit.  I said a quick prayer for those who aren't so lucky as I drifted off to sleep.

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