Monday, October 17, 2011

Fashion: District Fall/Winter 2011

Now I'm very aware that I have some snobbish tendencies, particularly with fashion events. I often talk about trying to promote local fashion and then find myself looking down at events I deem unworthy of my attention. Ever since I started going to NY Fashion Week, I admit I've been wholly unimpressed with anything less and I really needed to manage my expectations better.

But since Ready Set DC's Fashion: District was was described to me as "the best DC fashion event around" and actually cost money to attend, I figured it should be a good event to cover... alas, this story does not have a happy ending.

When I arrived, I was told that they accidentally put the wrong time, sorry, please come back in 30 minutes! I wasn't too surprised with the disorganization, as still has their show from April up. But it didn't bother me too much, I wandered about DC's Eastern Market and whatnot. When I finally got in, I started taking pictures of chic attendees..

This girl was rocking a mullet dress and chic wedge shooties - a perfect fall look!
These fellow DC bloggers of Because I Am Fabulous also stood out in a sea of black cocktail dresses.

I hung out near the media area, where I noticed one of the first issues I'd have to deal with - terrible lighting. You'll see that the first half of my pictures are either impossibly blurry or impossibly dark, until I gave up and turned on my camera's flash. Not sure why I didn't want to, I just hate how those pictures end up looking! But better to have them than not!

Another issue that quickly came to my attention was there was no run of show. I've noticed this at many DC fashion shows and have always wondered why no one thinks to print out the looks in order so we know what we're looking at! This is especially important for multi-designer shows. I checked around and found out they would at least project the label on the wall when that designers' pieces were being shown, whew!
The last issue was the one that made me the crankiest - the show was insanely late. When talking tot he official event photog, he said he wouldn't be surprised if it started 30 minutes behind schedule. Well, make that an entire hour of waiting! There wasn't any seating, so I felt really bad for the girls wearing their towering heels. I was pretty cheesed off, if you pay for a show it should at least start within half an  hour of its start time! When the show finally began, I was totally cranky and hated everything. Since I've had time to cool off, I hopefully am able to views the pieces with a critical but unbiased eye. First up is ARTAYA:
The pieces were pretty good, very African/tribal-inspired and everything felt cohesive. Looking back over these pictures, I would say this was one of the best collections shown. Next up was menswear Hugh & Crye:
I like their focus on near-custom fit, but all they sell are mens' button down shirts and ties - not exactly exciting fashion show fodder. Next came Espion:

I liked the pink looks and the long white gown, and was absolutely horrified by the other outfits. Could you imagine what Michael Kors would say if the black trim jumpsuit went down "Project Runway??" "It looks like a droopy diaper for a geriatric S&M fetishist." Ahaha, I just looked closely and saw the perfect reaction face in one shot. Lady, I feel your pain. Next up was Sika, which seems to be a UK designer and not local:
Great prints, also very tribal inspired. There was a navy sailor-esque gown with some unfortunate button placement though...  Then came Durkl, DC's premiere menswear label, at least in the minds of the designers:
Their first look made me think of Brooks Brothers, but they made up for it with the rest of the collection, which was relatively stylish yet still wearable for your average DC male. Then came SAINT CHiC -
At first glance I thought the collection had potential, but on closer inspection I saw the designer seemed obsessed with mummy bandages. The pineapple print skirt was cute at least! The show kept going with Ginger Root Design, who showed both menswear and womens.
They had a bit of a rockability aesthetic, great eyes for details, though some of their color choice (cough - middle look - cough) were a bit off. And finally, we had menswear label Derringer Friday.
The shirt shop had women with their butts hanging out walk the runway. At first I was offended, then I decided it was probably good marketing for them - not too many ways you can make a boring button down interesting!

Overall I found the whole experience a bit tiresome and uninspiring, and definitely organized by people who throw parties, not fashion shows. Some of the designers were good, but it didn't seem like any of them considered overall trends in fashion nor even seasonal tastes. I want to promote local fashion, but I  don't think I'll be going back to this event.


DWJ said...

And now you know why I really haven't covered DC fashion stuff.

CityGirlChic said...

OMG! Thanks for posting this because I was actually feeling bad that I missed it but now that I read your post, I'm good! Thanks and if I attend the next one, I truly hope its not this much of a mess!

Liz - So Much to Smile About said...

I was feeling bad about missing this too but this makes me feel better! I went to one of their shows and thought it was good but not as pricey as this one which is what made up my mind... thanks for the write up!

DCAM said...

"Overall I found the whole experience a bit tiresome and uninspiring, and definitely organized by people who throw parties, not fashion shows."

You're absolutely right. The fashion scene here won't get better until it's less about a party and more about actual design. Curation is what's missing, a discerning eye as to quality.