Fashion Week Recap: Backstage at Hood by Air
Smiling and Vomiting at New York Fashion Week
Fashion Week has hit New York City again, and big, fancy designers are showing their latest collections for fall/winter 2014. So we went to a few shows to figure out what all the Tumblr goofballs, twinks, and trust-funders will be wearing in autumn. Keep checking back frequently throughout the week for our reviews of the shows at Milk Studios, Lincoln Center, and more.
The influences behind Robert Geller’s collections are always super fascinating. The press releases for his shows are like rabbit holes that have you crawling through obscure Wikipedia pages and loading up your Amazon shopping cart with very rare goodies. This time around, however, the genesis for Robert’s fall 2014 looks lie with a rock star we’re all pretty familiar with: David Bowie. It’s not super surprising that Robert would find a muse in the Thin White Duke. David has long been a bastion of style (just check out the feature we did this month on Kansai Yamamoto, the designer behind many of David’s iconic looks). Not to mention, David’s a master at walking the thin line between being tough and elegant, just like Robert’s eponymous brand. Surprisingly, Robert opted to mine one of David’s lesser-known personae. Instead of aping low-hanging fruit like Ziggy Stardust, Robert looked to the big and boxy suits David wore in The Man Who Fell to Earth as a springboard for his collection. Robert’s models took to the runway in everything from neoprene overcoats and tall military caps to Chelsea boots and elongated tops. In the context of his previous work, it wasn’t revelatory. Everything from the warm hues of purple to the layered silhouettes was well within his wheelhouse and felt very familiar to me. Even so, it was refined to the point that his looks are becoming so pure and distinctive they’re bordering on the iconic.
—By Wilbert L. Cooper
The jungle-drum music and the “exotic” prints on the clothes made it apparent that Mara Hoffman was channeling the Dark Continent with her latest collection, which is weird because she’s never even been there before. Though I’m usually very suspicious of cultural reappropriation by old white people, I was at least pleased to see that Mara had the Rainbow Coalition do her casting. Models of all different races and complexions were clad in flowy dresses that were decorated in vibrantly colored sequins and patterns. There were definitely some great looks, and the styling of dark-skinned models in white was especially striking. But at the end of the day, this stuff is what a WASPy mom would wear to an Invisible Children fundraising event.
—By Wilbert L. Cooper
Fashion and/or Sex
by Glenn O’Brien
Sex isn’t about fashion. Fashion isn’t about sex.
If fashion were about sex, models would twerk down the runway in fashion editors’ faces and twirl around poles for the photographers. Vogue editors would get lap dances. And the models wouldn’t look prepubescent. The rack would be back in fashion, and not the one you see pushed down Seventh Avenue. Strippers would put it on instead of taking it off. Sasha Grey would be in high-end fragrance ads.
Victoria’s Secret pretends that it has a fashion show and that it participates in the world of fashion, but the secret of the Secret fashion show is that it isn’t a fashion show—it’s Republican burlesque. It isn’t about fashion any more than the Sports Illustrated “Swimsuit Issue” is about sports.
Indeedy-do! Fashion is one world and sex is another. The twain may meet once in a while, and while we might treasure the juiciness of those overlap moments, there are two different distinct systems and iconographies at work here. But then again, there is sexy fashion and there is fashionable sex. We are not entirely deprived of their collaboration. If you’re lucky and smart you can have it both ways on occasion. Sex and fashion are very intimately related in their origin, and once in a while, even today, they are joined somewhere near the hip.
But if fashion isn’t purely about sexual attraction, what is fashion about?
Introducing the 2014 Fashion Issue
Right in time for New York Fashion Week, we’re unleashing our annual Fashion Issue to the internet. In case the leather gimp on the cover doesn’t make it blatantly obvious, the 2014 Fashion Issue is sex-themed. This gentleman was shot by none other than Robert Mapplethorpe (*cue the angels*). In addition to the cover, we’ve got an entire portfolio of his Polaroids inside.
Before you grab the Jergens or your pink vibrating Rabbit, you should know that there are only two pairs of tigolbitties and absolutely no boners in this issue. Instead of giving everyone exactly what they’d expect from a sex-themed issue of VICE, we decided to take a more refined approach. It would have been a hell of a lot easier to fill 132 pages with soft-core porn, but we wanted to focus on fashion as a form of self-expression and sexual freedom, and to explore the role it plays in our lives. This is an issue dedicated to and featuring photographers, designers, icons, and every day people who’ve helped blur the lines between what is acceptable versus what we’re taught is taboo. It’s more social experiment than wack-rag.
So how on Earth did we fulfill our mission without coming off like a bunch of pretentious jerks? To give you the Sparks Notes:
- We photographed women wearing some of the more restricting and fetishized trends of the last few decades; shot sexy nuns decked out in latex and lace; photographed a rendezvous between two classy ladies as an homage to Duran Duran.
- Our own Wilbert L. Cooper examined the connection between masculinity and fashion among black men; we interviewed the legendary Kansai Yamamoto, the man responsible for helping David Bowie to create his gender bending Ziggy Stardust persona; Richard Kern shot boys as girls and girls as boys.
- We defended female body hair, because, yes, hairy women can be sexy; we explored the emotional baggage that is often attached to dainty, wonderful, old lingerie; and even got our new friend Glenn O’Brien to school everyone in the history of sex and fashion.
We’ll let you explore the rest of it yourselves. You’ll be enlightened and informed. Hey, you’ll probably even find something to rub one out to.
Thanks again to the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation for their contribution to this issue. Look for the print mag at a store or boutique near you, but we know it lasts about an entire day on the shelves before it’s gone. You’ll just want to go ahead and subscribe. If you’re fancy and you have an iPad, download our FREE app, because then you get a whole bunch of extra stuff like extended interviews, more pictures, and all that hot noise.
Starving for Fashion
Above: The author in one of her first test shoots. She was 19 and 115 pounds. Photo by Michelle Ricks.
This week in New York City, hundreds of young girls will hit the runway for fashion week, the modeling world’s holiest and most competitive grail. Although participating in New York Fashion Week sounds glamorous, the lifestyle that some of these girls are engaged in—never sleeping, never eating, traveling endlessly, and constantly being judged and objectified—can be a catalyst for poor mental health.
In the past decade, at least 20 models have committed suicide—some famous, some not—and there are likely many more lesser-known models whose attempts may have gone completely unreported. According to a 2012 study done by the Model Alliance, a non-profit labor advocacy group where I work as a graphic designer, 68.3 percent of models admit to suffering from depression or anxiety. For several years of my life, I was one of those women.
I started modeling professionally at the age of 19, when I was in college. I was suckered into signing with a small boutique agency in San Diego in the summer of 2007. Having grown-up in a tiny suburb of San Diego misguidedly obsessing over shows like America’s Next Top Model, the opportunity to model and travel for free seemed like a no-brainer. But before my agency would allow me to sign the dotted line on my first contract, they wrapped a measuring tape over my jeans. You see, models aren’t measured in pounds, they’re measured in inches. I had to lose two inches, or roughly 15 pounds, all over my body to land the contract.
Fashion Week has hit New York City again and big, fancy designers are showing their latest collections for spring/summer 2014. So, we went to a few shows to figure out what all the Tumblr goofballs, twinks, and trust-funders will be wearing when it’s nice outside again. Enjoy!
At this point, everybody on the internet has already slobbed on Humberto Leon and Carol Lim’s knobs for the amazing presentation they put together for Opening Ceremony’s first ever runway show. So, I’m not going to bore you talking about the dope-ass clothes or the killer cars or Rihanna. The reason the OC show was the highlight of my NYFW experience was because it’s the only one that got my rocks off.
You get all kinds of free stuff at fashion shows, and most of it is useless. This year I got some nail polish, a pair of sunglasses that I regrettably lost, and a nifty key chain. But none of that swag even came close to the self-pleasuring device gifted to me by OC. The vacuum cup designed by Tenga with the sweet psychedelic packaging inspired by OC’s latest collection was exactly what the doctor ordered after a long week of fashion-model-induced blue balls. I’m a creature of habit, so I’ve spanking my monkey the same way for the past 20-odd years. But now that I’ve had the pleasure of ejaculating into an oblong plastic tube with squishy cold stuff inside and a fancy designer label on the outside, I must say I am never going back. I’ll be coping handfuls of OC-branded Tengas every time my girl goes on family vacation or I just need some “me time.” Thank you, OC, for being amazing and giving me something that I’ll remember long after all of the other brand’s collections fade in my memory—a toe-curling nut buster.
—By Wilbert L. Cooper
JUNK FOOD VINTAGE NFL CURATED BY KRISTIN CAVALLARI
“Confusing” doesn’t even begin to describe a collection of “NFL vintage” by a brand called Junk Food, curated by the (recently arrested) Kristin Cavallari. But here’s everything I witnessed within five minutes of walking into this carnival show: three break-dancing teenagers, a bitchy cat in a photo booth licking “gourmet cat food” from a silver spoon, an obscenely large disco ball, and a veritable tsunami of leopard-print skirts. And that’s just what was happening on the sidelines. The crowd was a teeming mass of bottle-blond The Hills rejects and potbellied creeps waiting anxiously for the kickoff. And when the clothes actually came streaming down the runway… Well, let’s just say that the only person who could work cropped jersey sweaters with glittery sleeves and golden-chain belts is Peyton Manning in drag.
—By Michelle Lhooq
What a strange crowd. Over half the attendees who showed up didn’t look like they belonged there. Did they even know what Public School was? I sure do, and think it’s how a fashionable man should dress every day. Neutral colors and simple silhouettes are the way to go if you are a guy. The two-toned, black-and-white sneakers were the jam, too. Oh, and the model selection was impeccable. The group of models at this show was the best I’ve seen all fashion week. The women who came were just gawking at all the hot guys the whole time, but so was I, so I can’t hate.
—By Miyako Bellizzi
Return to New Zealand Fashion Week
For the second year in a row, I gladly skipped out on the first half of New York Fashion Week in order to screw up my internal clock by hauling ass across the globe to the tiny little county of New Zealand. When I received my invitation, I initially thought: Fuckkkkk that. But then I found out I’d have free Wi-Fi, which would allow me to afford to eat this time around. So I said OK, and before I could even think twice about what I was doing, I was on a 13-hour flight to the southern hemisphere, chugging as much red wine as I could before the plane left the gate. Then I gave out all the Ambien I’d brought for the trip to the passengers around me so they wouldn’t hear me frantically chanting “4 8 15 16 23 42,”Lost's Oceanic Flight 815 doomed number sequence under my breath out of fear our plane was destined to fall out of the sky. Who cares I wasn't going to Australia, same shit. Planes suck, and I'm not trying to die or end up stuck on an island where all of the native creatures could easily kill me.
And yet, despite my crippling fear of flying, earthquakes, and my nonexistent personal spending budget that prohibited me from purchasing items from the designers I’d seen and contributing to New Zealand’s dwindling economy (Do you know how much a sweater can cost in a country full of sheep?) I actually had a good time… AGAIN. Everyone was friendly, treated me as if I were hot shit, and had me do all of these interviews for TV. They even let me sit front row at shows I’d totally trashed just a year before. Pretty epic. It’d be impossible to tell you about everything I saw as I’ve arrived home from the trip completely brain-dead with a mouth full of cavities from all of the free chocolates, but here is what I do remember vaguely and still feel comfortable saying nice/bad things about…
Crystal @ N Model Management
Best Models - Crystal and Kelvin, a.k.a. Ksenia
One of the unique things about seeing shows in a country as small as New Zealand is that they don’t have that many great models to work with. Everyone uses the same girls, which is wonderful if those girls are attractive. But the paucity of models can be a terrible thing that’ll make you want to blow your brains out multiple times a day when you’re stuck seeing the same stupid faces at every presentation. Surprisingly this season I was blessed with seeing two faces I loved—the fact that I am choosing to bestow the title of Best Models on two completely different girls is extremely rare.
Sometimes all it takes to prove to people that you’re a good model is to show everyone your tits. Most girls fidget and try to fix a nip slip, and as a result end up drawing more attention to their wardrobe malfunction. However, a truly seasoned model just keeps on walking and smirks devilishly as she strides down the runway giving onlookers the kind of look that says, “Chill. I got this!” When I saw Crystal walk out in a dress reminiscent of the type of gown a classy Joan Chen might have worn on Twin Peaks not once but twice with a fully exposed nipple I literally had to hold back the applause. I loved it so damn much, and clearly I wasn’t the only fan of her boobies this past fashion week because designers kept putting her in outfits that showed them off. It was such a delight!
New York Fashion Week is a peculiar happening filled with angry PR people, overworked baristas, poor people masquerading as the rich, and rich people masquerading as the poor. Basically, it’s a mindfuck that can’t be described by words, so instead here are some pictures. Keep up with this column throughout the week for more NYFW photo updates!
Fashion Week DON’Ts
New York Fashion Week comes around twice a year like a big black asymmetrical comet covered in zippers, cocaine, and the body parts of gay men. We love to hate it and we hate ourselves for loving it so much. We’ve been covering the fashion shows and parties of NYFW for some time now and we’ve picked up a few tips to help you navigate through all of the posturing, grand standing, and douche bagging to get to the actual good stuff—the art of clothes. Here is our list of things we feel you shouldn’t do when you’re spending a week looking at human coat hangers and doing bumps with D-level celebutantes.
Smiling is stupid because it could allude to the fact that you might actually be having fun. Fashion isn’t fun—it’s hell. Do you see us smiling? No. We’re all just sucking in our guts and holding in our farts.
This isn’t China, pal. People don’t take kindly to getting shoved in lines at Fashion Week parties and shows. If you put your hands on that guy in front of you in the red leather dress, you’ll have a studded pair of size 11 pumps lodged right up your anus.
Don’t Wear Anything That Can Seriously Hinder You from Having a Good Time
Everybody wants to wear some crazy shit at NYFW. But before you go peacocking in some neoprene straightjacket, remember that eventually you have to take it off and nothing kills the moment more than halting the love train to carefully disrobe an avant garde designer piece.