Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Blonds Ambition

I can't remember the last time I had as much fun being the proverbial fly on the wall as I did at the recent Blonds runway show during the Fall 2012 Fashion Week in New York City. Here's a few snapshots of the proceedings.

The show, which was staged at the trendy Milk Studio in Chelsea, attracted a colorful cross-section of the fashion world and downtown New York night life, including rapper Lil Kim. Whipped up hairdos, heavy eye make up, tattoos galore, and ski-tight dresses and corsets were de rigueur for both sexes. I was impressed with how many of the guests had platinum blonde dos, as if to show solidarity with the designers.

Photo by William Werber

Long before the show started, cameras were flashing madly as the crowd sauntered through the doors and mingled along the runway. Everyone seemed delighted to have their picture taken. Unfortunately, I had dashed from work to the show and forgotten my camera (talk about senior moments--ugh!). I took this next photo with my rinky-dink cell phone. See the man with the platinum blonde spikes? He was accompanied by a woman with a Jean Harlow hairdo (to his blurry left). The couple looked like Neptune and his wife Amphitrite, statuesque and topless (she wore tasseled pasties) with long, slitted, black skirts. Another personal favorite was a man in a tiny bowler hat jauntily tilted to one side of his forehead.

Once the models began to strut down the runway it seemed clear what had drawn Lil Kim and the others: The Phillipe and David Blond's 2012 fall collection isn't exactly ready for 9 to 5. Using classic motorcycle fashions as a springboard for the collection, the designers created men's jackets and women's corsets dripping with colorful embroidery, icy crystals, and glittery mesh and leopard skin prints. The female models also wore motorcycle helmets with long, blonde pony tails flowing down their backs. There were a couple of glittery non-corset garments--a skirt suit, dress and jumpsuit--but even those were a little over-the-top for women of a certain age. No, this wild and whimsy collection is best suited to those planning their fall 2012 music tour or next big top appearance.

While I enjoyed my first runway show immensely, I couldn't help noticing the glaring differences between the male and female models. Here, take a look...

The first thing (and which you can't tell from the photos) is the difference in the way these two models moved down the runway. The man's outfit was designed for being active, moving around easily. By contrast, that dress was super confining. I witnessed first-hand how difficult it was for the female model to maneuver the runway. I don't think I was alone in finding it painful to watch.

I accept that garments look best when they flow over statuesque bodies with long legs. And the whole anorexic model business has been covered plenty. But what I don't get is why the fashion world's vision of female beauty is the human coat hanger, while it's vision of male beauty is the chiseled Greek god--glowing skin, well-fed, though, perhaps, a little over-exercised. Not only are the female models super thin and pale skinned, but it seems their instructed to strike lifeless, affectless poses. I just don't understand why male and female designers would slave to create such beautiful clothing for women and then present their designs on figures that are a hollow, haunted facsimile of the female form.

But...I don't want to end on a depressing note. Instead, let me share one last photo of my favorite guest at the show. She is my fashion ideal--confident and individual.

Photo by William Werber

Click the The Blonds show to watch a video of the event.