It’s crazy to think that my very first assignment as a PW Style contributor was covering the 2010 Philadelphia Fashion Week.
Back then there were actually two different local fashion weeks: the “official” Philadelphia Fashion Week that I attended which was hosted by The KB Experience and the not-so official Philly Fashion Week by FBH Agency. Due to financial troubles, The KB Experience hasn’t been able to produce the event since, thus relinquishing the “official” PFW status to Kevin Parker and Kerry Scott of FBH Agency.
Now that this has been explained, allow me to cut to the chase: of all the runway shows, store openings, trunk shows and general fancy style events that I’ve been to the past three years, none have been as poorly organized as those hosted by Mr. Parker and Mr. Scott.
I opted to hold my tongue after PFW last year and after the terrible charity runway show FBH held a few months ago, hoping that things would be different this time around.
But I was wrong. So very wrong.
As usual, the runway shows on Friday and Saturday night didn’t start on time. In fact, they started over an hour late. And for whatever reason, they always insist on making everyone wait outside the venue. Last year, I was told that press needed to arrive an hour early, meaning that I was left to twiddle my thumbs for two hours.
Once inside the massive warehouse, there’s was nothing for guests to do to kill time before the show—just two vendors and a cash bar. First of all, the lack of free booze is totally mind-boggling. I say this not just because I’m a total lush who demands free shit wherever I go, but because a runway show without complimentary champagne, wine or cocktails is simply unheard of.
Especially when you’re charging people $40 a ticket and excepting them to sit through a two-hour fashion show on a Friday and Saturday night.
I realize that the agency is trying to make a profit, but considering that PFW had almost 30 different sponsors this year, paying $6 for a lime-less Corona or $10 for a tiny cocktail seems like quite the rip off. Seriously, GET A DRINK SPONSOR! It’s actually quite easy. As for the lack of vendors, I could name at least hundred local crafters and artists who would have loved the opportunity to showcase and sell their wares. Again, all if would have required is FBH to take a little more initiative.
Once the show finally started, photographers and bloggers in attendance had no way of keeping track of the designers. I assume that Mr. Parker and Mr. Scott have been to fashion shows before. So they should know that it’s customary to provide the audience with a program that lists the featured designers in the order that they appear, maybe even offering a little background on the collection or a description of the individual garments.
Nope. Instead the MC just announced their names and you were expected to figure out the spelling yourself. Here’s the kicker: they didn’t even have a list available upon request (or online).
Call me crazy, but I do believe that the whole point of a fashion show is to promote a deserving group of designers. Providing the names of said designers seems about the most basic part of the promotional process. The second most basic would be responding to local fashion bloggers when they request tickets (as oppose to making them send multiple emails).
This brings me to the whole point of my lengthy rant: Philly Fashion Week is doing a terrible disservice to the local fashion and design community.
Due to the continual lack of preparation, consideration and organization put forth by Mr. Parker and Mr. Scott (which is absolutely inexplicable since, according to their Web site, they’ve been producing PFW for six years now), basically they’re alienating local journalists, designers, fashion enthusiasts, retailers and potential fashion buyers.
Hell, on Friday and Saturday, they couldn’t even find a designer or boutique to provide jewelry or footwear.
The fact that the PFW runway shows are scheduled on the same night as several of the bigger Philadelphia Collection events only makes matters worse. Why would you want to be competing with one another? Why not milk the opportunity to generate excitement about our local fashion scene as much as possible and have Fashion Week be an extension of the Collection?
Let’s face it, our fashion week is always going to be a joke compared to that of New York. But does that mean we shouldn’t even be trying to take it seriously?
While The Philadelphia Collection may have ended on Thursday, the local fashion mania continued this weekend as Philly Fashion Week 2012 wrapped up, hosting its final two runway shows at 2424 Studios in Fishtown.
Friday night’s show was devoted to ready-to-wear fashions from a total of ten designers, both local and national. After an hour or so delay, finally Dramtik Fanatic got the party started with their collection of fun, futuristic cocktail dresses.
I started to get a little worried a few minutes later as the featured fashions seemed to quickly go from flashy to trashy (or, as I wrote in my notebook: “Ready-to-wear…to the club…and only the club”). Apparently, genital-revealing apparel is really in this fall. I also couldn’t help but notice that all of the models were wearing the same boring black or nude platforms, some inappropriately hooker-esque.
Fortunately, there were still plenty of great designers in the line up, including the ladies of Aso Damisi. My other local faves: Mah-jing Wong and Pretty Pretty Rebel. I love how the strategically placed stripes and cut outs on Wong’s fashion-forward pieces seem to really highlight a woman’s natural shape. Meanwhile, combining polka dots, frills and bold floral prints, Pretty Pretty Rebel definitely appeals to my unwavering inner 12-year-old.
Anyway, without further adieu, here’s some of the many looks from the evening. Be sure to check back tomorrow as I’ll be sharing photos from Saturday night’s show as well as my overall thoughts of Philly Fashion Week 2012.
Last night, people piled into the The Shops at Liberty Place for the 19th Annual Phashion Phest.
As always, the even featured cocktails, food, local vendors, giveaways, a showcase of student designer fashions and finally, a ready-to-wear runway show. There were also plenty of scantily clad burlesque ladies as this years theme was “Fashion Follies.”
I’d say the event was great, but that’s largely because I didn’t actually pay to get in. Had I been one of the suckers to shell out the $60 admission, I don’t think I’d be too pleased (in what world is a limited selection of sample-size Skinny Girl cocktails “lavish?”).
There was absolutely no reason to charge that much, especially since people who were hanging around Liberty Place prior to the event could have easily stuck around and enjoyed the same entertainment and amenities.
This is one of my main beefs with the local fashion community. Why throw these fancy fashion events and say they’re “open to the public,” when really you’re only targeting members of the press and Philly elite? There’s a reason I don’t promote any non-charitable style events charging more than $20.
Anyway, moving on, the fashion show was okay. Not great, but okay. I was surprised how few garments really wowed me. If I had to choose my favorite, I’d say that US*U.S featured designers (Mariel Rojo, Secret Bohemia, Lobo Mau and Lele) were by far the most innovative. As for Zinman’s collection of furs, well, that wowed me in a whole different kind of way.
I think the most memorable fashions were actually those of the student designers namely, Moore College alum, Marah Carpenter. Her hand-painted, nude-portrait dresses certainly grabbed your attention (see right). Not sure I’d ever have the guts to wear one of her designs, but I definitely appreciate the fact that they’re legitimate works of art.
Here’s some shots from the evening for your perusal…
Well folks, the clock is ticking. In just three days, The Philadelphia Collection will officially wrap up its fourth year.
Fortunately, it’ll be going out with a bang (i.e four huge fashion shows). So if you haven’t gotten dolled up and spent an evening enjoying fall’s fashion offerings at least once this past week, what the frick are you waiting for?
Here are some of the grand finale events going on this week (Note: PW Style with be covering the events marked with “**”). Follow us on Twitter (@PWStyle) to get the lowdown on the remaining fashion happenings.
NINObrand & HyLo Boutique’s Shopping Soiree: For this special shopping experience, guests will have a chance to sample the newest pieces in NINObrand’s fall collection. Grab a cocktail, drape yourself in NINObrand’s chic creations and even enjoy a custom fitting by the creator/designer herself, Bela Shehu. 6-9pm. Free. HyLo Boutique, 333 S. 20th St.
Breeze Back Into Fall Fashion: Enjoy refreshments as you drool over the new fall fashions from Yoana Baraschi, Alice+Olivia, Tart, Weston Wear, Eva Franco and many more amazing designers. 5-7pm. Free. Kimberly Boutique, 123 S. 16th St.
**Phashion Phest: Attracting over a thousand guests each year, this premier fashion and beauty event features a cocktail reception, a high-energy fall fashion show and a showcasing of an array of local salons, accessory boutiques, upscale retailers and other related businesses. The fashions of local student designers will also be displayed throughout. The theme for this year’s event is “Fashion Follies.” 7pm. $25-$60. The Shops at Liberty Place, 1625 Chestnut St.
**Model Citizens: Come and enjoy an evening of live music and drinks as Valanni showcases the fashions of several local designers and retailers during a free outdoor fashion show. The runway will extend out of the restaurant and onto Spruce Street. 10pm. Free. Valanni, 1229 Spruce St.
Fashion Up In Lights: Learn firsthand how clothes make a statement in every on both the big and small screen. A Hollywood costume designer will speak about the importance of fashion in film while designer Melody Thomas will be showing her latest collection. Michel Tcherevkoff, conceptual photographer and designer, will also showcase his new collection of shoes. RSVP at email@example.com. 5-8pm. Free. M Restaurant at the Morris House Hotel, 225 S. Eight St.
Hope Chest Center City Grand Opening: The Philly region’s premiere lingerie store is now opening a Center City boutique and all are welcome to come and help them celebrate. Owner Jen Rosen will have a carefully cultivated collection of fine lingerie, bras, sleepwear and shapewear for shoppers. Bring your old bras to donate to the non-profit org, Free The Girls with provides job opportunities to women rescued from sex trafficking. 6-9pm. Free. Hope Chest, 1937 Chestnut St.
SA VA Harvest Moon Fashion Show & Community Street Fair: See the SA VA Fall 2012 collection during an outdoor runway show stretching the entire 1700 block of Sansom Street. Meanwhile, several neighboring retailers and shops will participate in outdoor vending and entertainment with DJ and special guest speakers. Although the event is free and open to the public, VIP tickets are available and include all sorts of extra perks in addition to benefitting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern PA. 6-8pm. $0-$40. SA VA, 1700 Sansom St.
**Macy’s Fashion Show: Join celebrity host Kara Laricks, season one winner of the NBC show Fashion Star, for a runway show debuting the 2013 collections of The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator’s designers-in-residence. Macy’s hottest fall style trends will also be showcased. After the show, guests can shop the featured looks and enjoy makeovers from Macy’s Center City beauty partners. 5:30pm. Free. Macy’s, 1300 Market St.
**The Rittenhouse Row Fall Gathering: The annual celebration will feature a fashion show with the trendiest fall looks from Rittenhouse Row’s many amazing designer boutiques, modeled by some “familiar Rittenhouse faces.” Some of the neighborhood’s most talented bartenders will also go head to head in a cocktail competition. 7-9pm. $25. Comcast Center, 17th & JFK Blvd.
As promised, here is your hand-dandy guide to some of this weekend’s most worthwhile Philadelphia Collection events.
Whatever you decide to go to, just keep in mind that come Monday, the Collection will really be kicking into full gear (i.e Phashion Phest, Rittenhouse Row Festival, Macy’s Fashion Show, ect.). In other words, take it easy on the free cocktails.
Check back on Monday to find out what the remaining days of the fashion and style extravaganza hold.
To celebrate the opening of their new all-female exhibition, Paradigm Gallery is joining forces with the Collection as well as several neighboring shops along Fabric Row to host a night of fashion, art and well, all things ladylike. For more details about the exhibit and the individual reception events, read this PW’s art feature this week. 5-9:30pm. Various locations along Fourth St. between South & Queen Sts.
Cultured Couture will be opening its Olde City gallery’s doors, giving locals a unique and equally awesome shopping experience: designer vintage clothing for ladies and gentlemen, fine art and eclectic home furnishings will all be available. 5pm. Cultured Couture, 240 Church St.
In addition to showcasing the stunning photographs of Justin-Julius Santos, there will be a trunk sale of men’s and women’s vintage designer fashion and mid-century/modern home décor. 7-10pm. Curated Goods, 421 Fairmount Ave.
No, it’s not an actual circus. The super chic, vintage inspired men’s clothing brand will be setting up shop at Art in the Age all this weekend and tonight, guests will have a chance to meet and mingle with the visionaries behind the brand (who one can only assume are all Don Draper lookalikes). Fri., 6-8pm. Sat., 11am-7pm. Sun., 12-6pm. Art in the Age, 116 N. Third St.
Join Rockers Closet as they showcase all sorts of amazing one-of-a-kind crafts and designs from a mix of local and international artists. All proceeds from the event will benefit Starr Garden. 1pm-dusk. Starr Garden, Sixth & Lombard Sts.
The tiny Rittenhouse gem, TownHome presents a special trunk show featuring the handcrafted beaded necklaces, earrings and “arm candy” from local designer Stephanie Newman’s line. Sky Jewels. Enjoy sweet treats and refreshments as you shop. 12-4pm. TownHome Jewlery & Boutique, 1616 Walnut St.
You can expect to be photographed quite a bit over the next week, so perhaps a facial in order. Meet one on one with one of L’Occitane’s skincare experts to find the perfect products for your skin and enjoy a free 20-minute mini-facial. Refreshments will be served and friends are welcomed but make sure to call and schedule an appointment to ensure there’s room. 12-5pm. L’Occitane, 1606 Walnut St.
Good news fellas: You can now officially shop new fall arrivals and classics from local clothing and accessory brand 611 at the iconic Rittenhouse boutique Joan Shepp. 10am-6pm. Joan Shepp, 1616 Walnut St.
If you’ve been thinking of a career in the fashion industry, this is one event you do not want to miss. A panel of industry vets will discuss what skills and tools are needed for fashion executives to get a competitive edge as well as where they think the future of the fashion industry is headed and what this will mean in terms of the type of jobs available. RSVP is required to firstname.lastname@example.org. 12-2pm. Macy’s Greek Hall, 1300 Market St.
OK, so this may be the coolest Collection event this year. Backstory: in the early 60s, Mods and Rockers were two polar opposite British youth subcultures. Not surprising, rockers had a tough look (motorcycles, leather jackets) while the mods had a more sophisticated look (riding scooters, suits). What you probably didn’t know is that the two groups actually had running public battles, causing a media frenzy about the British youth. To finally decide which subculture is truly the most stylish, Scissor Candy is hosting an all-day battle that includes a scooter vs. motorcycle showdown, mod makeovers/rocker redos, battling DJs and a mod/rocker fashion show. There will also be vendors, drinks, food and a “Sexy Sixties Pinup Show.” 12-6pm. ScissorCandy, 1750 N. Front St.
Peruse the unique vintage finds from a baker’s dozen of the best local vintage vendors in town while enjoying the usual drink specials. Considering arriving early so you can make a sweet-ass dream-catcher as part of the bar’s Craft Sunday. 1-7pm. Tattooed Mom, 530 South St.
The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator has arrived!
In case you’re like, “huh?” as I was, the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator (PFI) is a year-long residency program for Philly folks who dream of someday joining the ranks of Jacobs and McQueen.
Here’s the gist: four talented emerging designers, who will be known as Designers-In-Residence (DIR), will be picked to take part in an opportunity that will help launch their fashion business here in Philly.
During their residency, the DIR’s will get a chance to learn everything they need to know about starting their own line. There will be mentoring from professionals in the fashion industry, monthly workshops, and a chance to participate in pop-up shops and trunk shows. There’s also an opportunity for the residents to show off their creations for the Philadelphia Collection. DIR’s are also going to gain some knowledge on the practical side of the biz, such as business plan creation, copyright protection and budgeting.
And here’s my favorite part: residents will have access to a production room, an office space, and a showroom/conference area located in Macy’s Center City – a location that Nutter said at the press conference, “will encourage young entrepreneurs.”
Here’s a peek at the diggs:
(All pics taken with my iPhone, so they aren’t that great. But you get the idea)
Think Project Runway–except without Tim and Heidi. The application deadline is January 20th, and the residency will begin on March 1, 2012. You can apply here.
Good luck to all the applicants! I think Philadelphia is onto something.
The past two weeks have certainly been hectic for us here at PW Style and with The Philadelphia Collection and Philly Fashion Week now officially behind us, it seems like a good time for some reflection.
So I asked my trusty bloggers to shar e one thing that they took away from all the fashion shows and various style events they attended—whether it be good or bad, fashion related or not. Here’s what they had to say…
Fajr: What I learned from The Philadelphia Collection is that Philly is making a comeback on the fashion scene and has some really talented design talent!
Abigail: I learned four things…1.) No matter what city you see a fashion show in, you can always count on at least four dudes that will wear sunglasses inside 2.) Horrible Euro-techno music still reigns supreme in the fashion event business. 3.) To many, dressing up for a fashion event means donning the shortest, tightest thing in your closet. 4.) It doesn’t matter how sexy you think the shoe is, if it makes you walk like the Tin Man, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
Kat: One thing I learned at Philly Fashion Week is that this city is full of people that want to be designers, whether they have talent or not.
Nicole: From a photographer’s standpoint, I should have been better prepared—a better flash, several charged batteries, better standing on the runway sidelines and maybe even a telephoto lens (if I had one). But the glamour and style makes it all worth it. Like all fashion shows, you pick up tips and ideas for your own wardrobe.
As for me, I learned that there’s a lot of talented design students in this city and never to show up to a fashion show on time.