February 23, 2013

On London Fashion Week

I was 28 when I experienced my very first catwalk. I had always dreamed of what it would be like: perfectly androgynous women-girls flawlessly strutting the little that God gave them in attire that, depending on the context, was most likely of the extraterrestrial nature.

I often dreamed of walking that runway myself. But it didn’t take long to realize that I was unwilling to sacrifice the art of eating for the art of fashion.

Needless to say, that very first catwalk has also been my only catwalk.

Let's backup a bit. Whilst living in London, I created five somewhat vague goals for myself:
1. Focus on writing.
2. Reflect on self.
3. Attend professional makeup class.
4. Do something related to fashion.
5. Acquire British accent.

Somehow, somewhere all of my goals were attained (except the highly-improbable #5). This, my friends, is quite the accomplishment seeing as I usually forget the existence of such goals after only a few days. But as it is, I was able to follow through on the first four: I gave much more time to my writings, I self-reflected until nothing was left, I attended a MAC make-up class as soon as we arrived, and yesterday, I attended London Fashion Week (LFW).

My excitement leading up to LFW was intense. I had allowed myself to create high expectations because, after all, high-end fashion is an overwhelmingly dominant industry (and mimicking that high-end fashion is an even bigger industry: Forever21). I was going to waltz through those shops pretending money didn’t matter. I was prepared to be faced with real animal fur, quality craftsmanship, and exclusive styles. Really, I was practicing keeping my jaw shut (and thus keeping my comments to myself) when faced with triple digit prices. I was ready.

The day went like this: My comrade, Michelle, and I began the evening browsing through high-end fashion shops. We each took part in our very own photo shoot. And we ended the night gawking at the Spring 2013 collection of ALICE by Temperley on the catwalk.

I don’t have much experience with high-end couture. On occasion and purely out of curiosity, I’ve browsed stores where a single belt would cost an entire month’s worth of groceries, but never before have I been presented with room after room after room of high-end retail. It didn’t take long, however, for me to realize my expectations were so high that I no longer had any chance of meeting them. What I felt as Michelle and I moved from room to room was mostly disappointment.

It is important to stop here and realize that British fashion may indeed be quite characteristic and thus unpleasant for the American eye. So, for instance, I may have been impressed with what I saw if I was attending the New York Fashion Week. But whatever the case, the styles were daunting. Totally unappealing. Ugly is even too good of a word. My hopeful expectation had been that I would be enticed with man-repeller prints and cuts and styles so revolting that I immediately walk away--only returning to fall madly in love. Instead, I found shoddy, beaded necklines, regretful animal print, and color combinations that were only permissible in the early 90s.

But there was still hope for the catwalk. I wanted my first catwalk experience to include things like unrealistic hats, shoes that don't look like shoes, and goulish makeup. Upon researching ALICE by Temperley however, I found that it is a very wearable collection, often worn by A-listers such as Pippa Middleton, Rihanna, Beyonce, Jessica Alba, and Lana del Ray. That’s okay, I said. Wearable is still good.

The lights were lowered. The dance music began. Michelle and I may have squealed. And those perfectly androgynous women-girls began their routine. The collection was just that: wearable. And while I intentionally enjoyed the look of the clothes, I was more entertained by how the models wore the pieces. Three first impressions:

1) I guess I’ve been mislead my entire life on the proper way to walk in platform, peep toe, 6-inch stilettos. Silly me, I assumed the shoe must fit the foot. When really, the key is to shove the foot so far in the shoe to allow one’s finger-toes to hang over the edge of the platform in order to create a strong grip. And then walk like a model.
2) I’ve also been mislead about undergarments. The name is simply misleading. Undergarments of any kind are not, in fact, supposed to be worn under anything. In fact, they may be worn solo, or even on top of garments. But never, never, underneath anything.
3) The catwalk is supposed to be more than just a display of accoutrements; it is also to be of comic relief. Instead of taking smooth, hip swaying, impassive steps, the models walked in spurts (think: chickens), had no hips to sway, and displayed bouts of haggardness and strain (maybe the half-on/half-off BandAid on the heel gave her away).
On a more serious note, the collection included two wearable loves that I can’t wait to search for the next time I‘m in a thrift store: high wasted shorts and one-piece jumpsuits (not to be confused with overalls). These my friends, will be more prominent than usual this summer (if nowhere else, at least in my wardrobe).

Even though  I felt some disappointment, I had a wonderful time at LFW and am so glad I attended.

But the moral of this story? There is nothing new under the sun + There is no need to spend more money on an item than what is considered to be fiscally responsible + We need to be the author of our own style.

High-end couture is not worth the price, the stress, or even a moment’s notice. Wear what you like. Shop wherever you like. And be confident.

On a sidenote: Everyone says first impressions are based on what you wear. I’m here to tell you that first impressions have nothing to do with what you wear. Instead, the first thing people notice is your confidence (or lack thereof), how you carry yourself, that pimple on your chin, and your pearly whites.

Those four ingredients make up your style.*

This leads me to let you in on a little secret: I’m in the beginning stages of creating a new series here on 66B. I won't be able to work on it until we move to Portland, BUT what I can say is that it will have something to do with the following:
Brand names don’t matter.
Your style matters (using my definition of style).*
The ManRepeller rocks.
Portland is weird (and so am I).
Me. Dress from H&M. Everything else from thrift stores.
So go embrace your style.
Ignore the catwalks.
And enjoy your life.
And hopefully, America, I will see you soon!!
Somerset House.

The lights are dimmed...

...The crowd is excited...

And it begins!


I love it. Sadly, I cannot think of even one scenario in which this would be appropriate.

Michelle and I!

No comments:

Post a Comment