Traveling in Fashion: Pandemonia’s Social Diary ☀
✦ “Madam,” calls out the driver as he opens the door. I sink into the seats and the car pulls away through the rainy London night.
Tonight, I have the pleasure of visiting the multi-discipline artist Elizabeth Lecourts’ Tailoring Cartography private view at First Edition – Canary Warf.
After a few laps in the gallery, I have a chance to speak with Elizabeth directly.
P: Tell me about your work?
I started making the dresses as portraits of people through their clothes. What you wear is who you are.
P: What do you have in your collection here?
✦ I have my gold dress, Paris dress, New York dress, and they are all made of maps. I have been making them for 15 years.
I like maps they are like a thread through your day. I think one of the first things humans want to do is draw a map. We need to know where we are and where we are going. The maps haven’t changed that much because none of them are accurate. They are not printing them anymore. These maps a are very romantic and the dress idea is romantic.
P: I always like the sea monster in old maps. It represents the unknown.
The unknown is still there.
P: I suppose technology is eradicating the unknown. For instance, my taxi is arriving in two minutes.
You just follow a navigator. It’s quite scary if you only have a compass and you don’t know where you are. Some people love it.
P: I love adventure. Are you going to do an UBER map dress?
P: You could alter it and make parts of it fictitious.
Travel is still romantic. A map is a journey.
P: Life is a journey and it looks like my taxi is lost! The unknowns are still out there.
Contemplating Elizabeth’s words, I began my next journey. Destination: New York!
Upon arrival, I am relieved to find the weather is unusually warm. However, late that same night, there is a heavy snow storm. Heels and snow are an unforgiving combination; this is going to be tricky!
✦ Tugging through snow and wind, my first stop is the opening of the Visionaire/Toiletpaper Magazine exhibition. MAURIZIO CATTELAN and PIERPAOLO FERRARI recreated Toiletpaper’s aesthetic in Cadillac House, an actual Cadillac showroom and art gallery. Several rooms are filled to the brim with maximum Pop. They have created a surrealist apartment with all the mod cons: bedroom, bathroom & kitchen all decorated with spaghetti carpets and popcorn wallpaper. There is even a giant crocodile! I caught the show moments before it closed for the evening so it is particularly peculiar being in there alone. My gold dress and blond hair blend into the environment as if it was made for me. I think I should just move in and stay: it is central and won’t need refurbishing, ha;)
Snowbelle, my pup, reminds me the Michael Castello runway show is about to start a few blocks away. Michael Castello made his mark by designing for Beyonce, so I am anticipating a real trend setting show. It’s too enticing for us to miss, so we make our way over to the venue.
Instantly I can tell this is a smooth operation, as the pro team at Mao PR usher me straight in. On the way to my seat, I notice the large pink Care Bear seated in the front row at the show!?
Only in New York! After settling into my seat, I am surprised to be next to legendary runway coach, Miss J. I hoped to get a few tips, but there was no time! The show starts.
The collection of shear, deep-v gowns, and jumpsuits are drawn up in whites, graphite and dustings of silver. It’s all paired with big hair, vibrant red lips and smoky eyes. This season’s range is perfect for those red-carpet moments; elegant and empowering, with a bit of attitude.
Back in the car we are off across snowy streets to the Bowery Hotel. After a quick champagne, a few fashionistas insist I see Richie Rich’s show at the theatre at Madison Square Garden.
So off I go! The snow is turning to slush and I almost lose a shoe in a slushy snow drift. Cold doesn’t begin to describe how I feel! The Richie Rich presentation is thankfully running fashionably late, so I have time to warm up before the show. His Popoganda collection is a range of playful club wear; chunky jewellery, sequin mini gowns, Yeti boots, tartans, and “I am what I am” slogans.
Catching up with the Heatherette designer back stage, Richie briefly tells me about his collection, “I wanted to do something very fun and back to my roots—something that is very pop culture and personality driven.” There are certainly a lot of personalities among the well-wishers, and a TV crew descends on us as we get split in the throng. I take this moment to slip away, losing myself amongst the maze of kafkaesque corridors of Madison Square Garden.
✦ I start the day with an invitation to Pat Field’s apartment: what a thrill;) I haven’t seen Pat in years, and am raring to go. This begs the question, what does one wear to go to Pat Field’s apartment? I plumb for day wear, red crop dress, yellow belt and accessories, fresh but not too flashy. Her dogs must smell Snowbelle, because they bark when I ring the doorbell. Her home of course is perfect, in true Pat Fields style. She offers me some liquorice and we have a chat about old pals. Then we move on to art and fashion and I let her know I’m developing the Pandemonia brand and working on my first capsule collection of sunglasses. Just then, a happy accident, she let it slip that it’s her birthday on Sunday, “If you’re in town Panda… You must come!”
To my disbelief, the phone rings, and I have to go already. Downstairs, a car is waiting to take me to the Eric Schlosberg show.
The show is in a small, iconic, upstairs theatre just a few blocks away. Top hats, glitter trousers, and striped suits echo the theatrical themes in this seasons collection. I detect a distinct air of the carnivalesque. Eric explains, “it’s a twisted Alice in wonderland…. My girl likes adventure!”
✦ Today’s first show, with an early morning call time, is the Asia Fashion Collection – a group show. I set off, dressed in pink with my matching Jump From Paper bag, offset with aqua hair – it’ a perfect day 3 look;)
I always find it interesting to see how other cultures envisage the body. There is a deconstruction theme across all the designer’s work. A “cutup” and re-purposing of fashion motifs. It’s fascinating to see how trends move around the world. Is this perhaps a movement to re-examine the body in the digital age?
Of the six designers showing, I find Gahee Lim’s collection to be the standout. Her brand concept is subversive, engineered and wearable. The key Lim look is deconstructed suits, multiple layers of transparency, exuding a shimmering ethereal quality. Made of tulle, light shifts through them echoing digital plasma screens.
Designers Ceci, Kevin Ho, R.Y/S.H, Gahee LIM
Next stop: Georgine
Dashing to the Georgine show, I pass the @JGoldCrown Love Wall.
Later, I enter the hall in a blaze of flashbulbs. Mao himself greets me and sits me next to Corey Grant Tippin, who Mao tells me used to work with Warhol. Corey squeezes up to me and tells me about his work with the Antique and Artisan gallery. Seated at Georgine, a leather clad model slides up and sits next to me. He looks like a cross between David Johansen and Marlene Dietrich, very 70’s New York. It dawns on me it’s none other Kyle Farmer who I met at the Michael Costello show, just back from a fashion shoot. “What are you wearing” I ask, “Georgine of course! She made it for me. It has a heart detail on the back.”
The lights go down and the show starts.
The theme of the show is dark sophistication, short metallic dresses, animal prints and fur collars, all with a modern sensibility. Post show and before the selfies start, I dash for the exit, to the solitude of the car and off into the night.
✦ I am very excited to see the Gypsy Sport show! I decide to go low key in black. On the way in, Shaun Ross and Ty Hunter come and say hello. Shaun Ross is a well-known model/actor & Ty Hunter is a very sought after stylist. They are both incredibly lovely.
I spot Tim Tareco from MAC on the front row. I sit next to him and then Shaun and Ty sit next to me, this is cozy! Down the centre of the runway, I see four groups of tents and two groups of street-style bucket drummers.
Lights dim and one voice, the voice of Rio Uribe, director of Gypsy Sport, comes over the sound system.
“AW 17 collection was inspired by people who live on the street and who don’t have much fashion in their lives or any of the luxuries we take for granted.” He continued “There is a huge cloud of hate that’s floating in the world right now and its passing over us and it’s a lot of men who are hateful and they’re just afraid of what we can actually do when we come together. When we unite that hate and those men will die, dictators die, power dies and eventually it will come back to us to the people. So, in the name of Liberty let us use that as inspiration, let us all unite together let us fight for a new world and a decent world that will give us a chance to shine.”
The drumming started and models took to the runway.
The models walk on wearing deconstructed street styles, fused into a sort of urban nomad style. Camouflage with tie-die, velvet tops stitched with sportswear, one model wears a metallic apron redolent of a thermal survival blanket. The choice of models further enhances the fusion. The mixture of ethnicities and gender norms is a rejection of old world values. I also note the use of technology as significant. One model was texting on the runway, another snatched an audience members mobile to film herself. Social media is clearly part of the collection’s collage.
The show is a hit – a real blockbuster. I follow Shaun and Ty back stage to meet the team. I come away feeling Gypsy Sport is offering a view of a new world. It’s a world that describes an under-represented, younger generation who are reforming themselves out of this world. It’s a life-style delineated by the hacking of existing systems both analogue and digital to define one-self.
Show over, it’s time to party with Pat! I’ve got a box of salt liquorish for her; I hope she likes it.
I turn up at the Monster Bar, the birthday party already in full swing. Pat introduces me to her friends. She knows everyone in New York. There are actors, fashion designers, artists and lots of creatives. We dance to disco and drink cocktails and chat for hours.*POP*