Another season of New York Fashion Week has ended and we are all looking forward to the next one already. The kinetic, frantic energy wasn’t effected by the dark clouds and rain that followed us daily for the week. There were so many great shows and an amazing expanse of global representation at IMG NYFW and beyond.
This year I had the privilege of being the official backstage photographer for several production companies , some for IMG and non-IMG shows. It was an honor and something I absolutely adore. Production is in my blood. I can’t run from it. Watching the pre-show prep, the rolling racks with black garment bags to seeing the garment on the model, I am like a kid in the candy store. There are so many aspects to capture. The nervous brow of the designer, the pained look of a model with blistered feet after her fifth show in one day; my favorite moment to capture is of the designer, as they watch their work come to life on the runway. It’s like a mother holding her child for the first time after carrying her around for nine months. There are no words to describe the emotion.
Marvel’s Black Panther ‘Welcome to Wakanda’ Fashion Exhibit was filled with all the top actors of the long awaited movie, inclusive of Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Letitia Wright. Ruth E. Carter, the movie’s costume designer was also present with a gorgeous crown of blonde curls and Director Ryan Coogler with his lovely wife, Zinzi Evans(wearing Temperley) took time out to mingle with supporters and admirers alike. Demetria McKinney and cast members of the TV show ‘Power’, also graced the red carpet.
The exhibit featured designers interpretations of attire for the people in Wakanda. The garments varied from original African print to black beaded fabrics. Chromat opted for a Nigerian superhero tribute while Laquan Smith preferred to think of Wakandia women in black beaded pantsuits. It was an elegant version of ‘The Matrix’ traditional garb. Cushnie Et Ochs created a gold dress to represent the armor worn by the warrior women in the movie while Sophie Theallet gathered the natural resources of Africa and created wearable art.
The photographers were setting up super early for this show on the riser. They knew that Namilia would deliver an extraordinary fashion event and the designers did not disappoint. Before the models graced the runway in their sky high pearl and gem studded platforms, Disney songs from Beauty and the Beast was played and then the verse “I can get any D@#% I want” and you knew it was time. Time for the Sultan’s magic to begin. The Berlin designers, Nan Li and Emlia Pfohl who met as students at the University of the Arts Berlin, based the S/S 2018 collection on Denis Diderot’s tale of “The Indiscreet Jewels”. The tale is of a sultan with a magic ring that makes women’s vaginas tell their secrets. Most of the garments barely covered the models torsos but were beautifully detailed with floral touches, fabric manipulated into vulvas, bejeweled thongs and bulbous feminine parts. There were a few Chinese traditional gowns, albeit sexily retrofitted. It was truly a ‘cheeky’ experience and we can’t wait for their next collection.
Galtiscopio’s debut at NYFW First Stage at the Dream Hotel Gallery was a hit musically and on the runway. The brand led by Ying Lau as the Creative Director started the evening with Ray J, R&B singer and cast member of Love & Hip Hop reality show. Christian Combs, P. Diddy’s son, also performed midway through the show.
Ms. Lau’s love of music, vibrant colors and accessories were evident throughout the production. Her attention to detail could not be missed. The fabrics and colors were varied but the jewelry, from double layered embellished watches to crystal headphones and slick hairstyles, unified the collection. The silks were dreamy and the leather garments had just enough edge for any downtown ‘nista.
One of my favorite shows of the week. Ms. Lau has set the standard for the Galtiscopio girl, glamorous, edgy luxe with a touch of diamonds. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next season.
The Gypsy Sport runway show was the second time I was in Gallery One in Skylight Clarkson Square. It was dark and extremely hot in the photographers pit. It didn’t help that I was wearing a fuzzy black sweater I couldn’t remove. I was standing next to photographers that were just as sweaty and pushy. I share that so you could understand how miserable I was until the show started. My misery was quickly forgotten.
Designer, Rio Uribe, started the show with an introduction to his collection. His travels to Europe, Mexico and Los Angeles with their overwhelming problems of homelessness influenced his collection. Once the drumming began, two young street performers using drum sticks and plastic paint containers, I was entranced.
I knew what was coming and I wasn’t disappointed. At one point, I found myself looking over my camera just to take it all in with my natural eye. It was jarring, refreshing and what is desperately needed in the fashion community. A designer that embraces where he came from and refuses to sell his soul and artistic base for the masses. The European photographer next to me kept yelling “bravo” from the pit, loving each and every unexpected look on the runway.
His model lineup were of varied backgrounds and represented gender without barriers. There was fluidity and ease in his representation. There were crocheted dresses that reminded me of Latina grandmas table covers. Pink camouflage, lace, traditional pinstripe, velvet and the most haunting for me, a model draped like a Shaolin monk.
His outerwear replicated the tents of European refugees and the makeshift structures created by the homeless on L.A. streets. He finished the show with “EXPLOITED” AND “the BUSINESS” patches on the backs of his final two garments.
Rio won’t let you turn away and ignore them anymore. Bravo Rio…Bravo!
Project Runway alum, Leanne Marshall has showcased her collections at NYFW since 2008. Her billowy, flowing gowns exude romanticism as its best. She knows what a woman should look like in order to feel like a woman. Visit her website at LeanneMarshall.com to see her current bridal collection and formal gowns.