Yesterday evening, at 5:30 p.m. on the dot, folks cutting through Rittenhouse Square on their way home were treated to a fashion spectacle unlike any they’ve probably ever seen.
Hosted as part of DesignPhiladelphia, the outdoor runway show was conceived by Candy Depew of CandyCoated in parnership the Philadelphia Art Alliance and innovative local designer, Lobo Mau. And just as the event description promised, the models strolled down the catwalk donning furball-esque quaffs and feline-inspired face paint. Going one step further, they even meowed, hissed and clawed.
While certainly a little bizarre, the theatrical presentation actually seemed befitting given the featured collection of one-of-a-kind, over-the-top fashions—a creative collaboration between Depew and Mau who share both an eye and appreciation for unique screen-printed textiles.
My favorite look was definitely the pink circle skirt with the black diamond decals, which was paired with a printed jacket covered in rosebuds and little gold diamonds.
The only thing that would have made the show better: the models getting on all fours and rubbing up on the ankles of passerbys.
As most of you probably know by now, tonight, DesignPhiladelphia kicks off it’s eight year, showcasing and exploring this city’s rich design history during five straight days of events all over town—from workshops, lectures and panel discussions to exhibitions, runway shows and parties.
Be sure to pick up a copy of this week’s issue of PW to read up on the how the festival got started and what it hopes to achieve. In the meantime, with over 120 events lined up this year, I figured I’d lend a hand as you attempt to make plans.
Having now thoroughly examined the festival schedule and flipped through the huge stack of invites and press releases on my desk, here’s my picks for the most worthwhile happenings going down tonight and tomorrow.
Also, to get you feeling a little more pumped up about Philly’s vibrant design scene, check out the video at the bottom of the post.
PopUp Place: DesignPhiladelphia Kick Off Party: After a ticketed cocktail party and benefit celebration, all are welcome to a free street party along the 900 block of Canal Street featuring live music, outdoor projections and a SoReFa (Socially Responsible Fashion) Showcase curated by Arcadia Boutique, featuring looks from their favorite local and sustainable designers with hair and makeup by Moko. Guests can also build an interactive architectural structure with Public Workshop, chillax with friends in a “pallet lounge” designed by Bonzai Homes and check out the DesignPhilly sustainable design exhibition /adaptations /. 7:30-10pm. Free. Provenance Architecturals, 912 Canal St.
Cat Walk Promenade – CandyCoated Trunk Show: Candy Depew, the wonderfully eccentric designer/printer of CandyCoated will be teaming up with fellow awesome local designer, Lobo Mau and the Philadelphia Art Alliance for what could very well be the most epic fashion/trunk show this city has ever seen. What makes it so epic? Well, for starters, they’ll be rolling into the park on a three-wheeled tricycle, which will serve as the “trunk” show. Meanwhile, models will strut their stuff down the square’s walkways showcasing Candy’s latest collection of one-of-a-kind garments, created in collaboration with Mau. But these won’t be just your typical models. Rather, to celebrate Candy’s eternal kitty love, the models will be transformed head-to-toe into adorable cats. So yeah, sounds pretty epic to me. 5:30pm. Free. Rittenhouse Square 18th & Walnut Sts.
Printing in the Open: During this one-night-only, interactive printing event, guests are invited to bring their own t-shirts, tote bags or bandana and have them customized with the unique print designs of three local artists. These prints will be inspired by the Print Center’s current op-art exhibit, Color Motion: Edna Andrade Prints. If you don’t have a plain tote bag lying around, there will be some there for purchase. Thursday, 6-8pm. Free. The Print Center, 1614 Latimer St.
Hacker Masquerade DIY Mask Workshop (Put An LED On It): Haven’t decided on a Halloween custom yet? No worries—the brilliant hacking wizards of The Hackory are going to help you make a killer, illuminated mask with integrating a little bit of crafts and a little bit of electronics. The friendly volunteers will guide you through the process, providing all the stitchable electronics necessary as well as sample ideas. At the first annual Hacker Masquerade Ball going down later this month, those who come donning their masks will receive free admission. 7pm. $10. The Hacktory, 3711 Market St.
Living HyLo Style: A Fall 2012 Lookbook: Enjoy complimentary libations courtesy of Spodee Wine while checking out HyLo Boutique’s experimental short film, “Living HyLo Style” which spans a day in the life of artisanal Philadelphia, featuring fall picks from local designers including, NINObrand, DannyFox, and M.Brûlée. 7-10pm. Free. HyLo Boutique, 333 S. 20th St.
Creating Content Worth Watching: Sit back and enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks as you watch a curated showcase of case-studies illustrating exactly what goes into making clever online content and videos people want to engage with (ya know, besides nutshots). 7-8pm. Free. The Irish Pub (Upstairs), 2007 Walnut St.
reInspire: Art-from-the-Arts Design Challenge Week: Each day throughout the festival, The Resource Exchange, a North Philly non-profit dedicated to promoting creative reuse, recycling and resource conservation will be unveiling a new creative work, made from materials previously used in disciplines like fashion, digital arts and performing arts. To celebrate the start of the challenge, they are welcoming locals to come and knock back local brews from St. Benjamin Brewing Co. while exploring the weird and wonderful world of film and theater salvage, featuring unique creations constructed entirely out of materials they’ve saved from local productions. 5-9pm. Free. The Resource Exchange, 2829 Cedar St.
Public Space: Public Connections: Have an idea for how to best utilize the public spaces near City Hall? Then stop by “The Arcade” at 16th and Market and share it with The City Planning Comission while taking part in their interactive walk-by afternoon workshop. 12-2pm. Free. The Arcade, 1601 Market St.
Be sure to follow PWStyle on Twitter (@PWStyle) as I shall be tweeting like a madwoman from as many events as I can possibly make. Also, check back on Friday for a weekend guide to DesignPhilly.
Far from your average clothing swap, the extra “Rama” is a series of DIY workshops in which locals can explore easy, creative and sustainable ways to upcycle used clothing and textiles. Here’s how it works: while not mandatory, those who come with at least a bag of unwanted clothing will save $10 on admission and once all the donations have been collected, everyone will get to dive into the massive pile of gently worn treasures like wild (yet courteous) scavengers. Finally, skilled local artists will help Swappers work their creative mojo and revamp their new duds. You can spruce up a boring tee with a screen-printed image with Candy Depew of the Philly-based silk-screen studio, school and showroom, Candy-Coated or with a simpler version of designer Nicole Rae Styer’s unique embellishments. Amber Zaraza of Phea Jean and the crafty folks of Handmade Philly will even show you how to transform an article of clothing into a one-of-a-kind accessory. Saturday, 12pm. $10-$20. @ Broad Street Ministry (315 S. Broad St.)
Just in time for Mother’s Day, Art Star has hand selected over 140 local and national artists to set up shop and sell their wares outside at Penn’s Landing for the spring edition of their beloved art fair/craft show. Basically, anything and everything you can think of and then some. Some local vendors to keep an eye out for: exit343 design, Concrete Polish, Black Heart Letterpress, BirdQueen Designs and Bob Dix Illustration. Going through the long list of vendors, I’m going to be on the look out for Moonlight Bindery, Spread The Love and Inedible Jewelry. As usual, there will also be live music from local bands, vegan/vegetarian friendly food and interactive art demos like sculpting/mold making with The Philadelphia Sculpture Gym and recycled crafts with NL Arts. Saturday, 11am-6pm. Sunday, 11am-5pm. Free. The Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing (Columbus Blvd. at Chestnut St.)
This annual fashion extravaganza in conjunction with Moore College’s commencement celebrations will feature 28 innovative senior collections as well as designs by junior and sophomore students of the college’s acclaimed fashion design department. The showcased designs include swimwear, bridal, childrenswear, menswear, sportswear and last but not least, eveningwear. The theme “Breaking Away” is specifically for the senior eveningwear finale. There will also be a closing reception for “Emerging Artists and Designers,” featuring the best work from their senior students in fine art, graphic design, illustration, interior design photography and textile design. So come out and help congratulate the Class of 2012 Who knows—you may wind up discovering America’s next big designer before everyone else. Saturday, 8pm. $25. @Moore College, Aviator Park (20th & Ben Franklin Pkwy.)
While fine art might be a bit of a snooze-fest, fine crafts are a whole different story. For their signature premiere fair, the PA Guild of Craftsmen has invited 140 of its finest crafts artists to pile into Rittenhouse Square this weekend and showcase/sell their exceptional one-of-a-kind creations. We’re talking everything from handcrafted jewelry, designer clothing and contemporary furniture to functional and decorative pottery, limited edition photography and fine porcelain. Will these items be pricey? You betcha! But there’s sure to be some affordable pieces. Either way, everything else is guaranteed to be worth the price. Fri.-Sat., 11am-7pm. Sun., 11am-5pm. Free. @ Rittenhouse Square
If you’re having trouble finding the perfect Mother’s Day gift (and somehow PW Style’s incredibly awesome and comprehensive Mother’s Day Gift Guide didn’t help), why not just mom out to the KOP Mall so she can pick out something herself? While there, be sure to stop into Free People where they’ll offering complimentary tea, coffee and other refreshments as well as a free flowers for the mommas (unless you show up late). You may want to also grab something for yourself since you’ll receive an exclusive soy candle by Candles with Love with a purchase of $250. Sunday, 11am-6pm. Free @ Free People, King of Prussia Mall (452 Mall Blvd.)