So fashion week is over and I still, after all these years, don’t get what the big deal is. Okay so canary yellow and sand are the colors next spring and chiffon is oh so hot, but guess what? This fashionista is still going to rock her favorite H&M and Helmet Lang jeans, and cotton, as it has been for the past 20 years, will be my textile of choice. I really wish though that I had gone to the Mal Sirrah show up in Harlem. I hear his “Naomi Slapped Me” T-shirts were a hit, well not with Naomi, and have become a must-have for all diva’s this side of the catwalk.
I did attend a way off Sixth Avenue fashion show produced by Brooklyn-based Harriet's Alter Ego at the Gershwin Hotel. And similar to those way-off Broadway chitlin' circuit productions at the Beacon Theater, this showing had its own distinctive soul. First I love that the models weren’t all waif thin, white and weaved out. There were dark chocolate, big boned, mohawked models throughout the joint.
And as Flypaper notes, there are very few colored grrrls on runways in general:
"Multiracial models on the runway are hot," Amsterdam casting agent Tony Jones tells the JC Report. "Black people, Asian people, blue people, purple people, you get the idea." Sadly, the spring 2006 shows were not so diverse. Even The New York Times took note: "In Milan this season you rarely saw a black or Asian model."
Actually the thing I found most disturbing wasn’t even located on the catwalk, but at the end of it, huddled in a sweaty almost learcherous stance. With every model's sexy catwalk, the photographers grinned and even a few winked. Okay so that's not unheard of. Their bulbs flashed and this is what made me squirm-- that there were a gazillion more bulbs flashing once the models were walking back up the runway-- I'm talking crazy booty shots!!! I admit I haven’t attended many shows but I thought it was weird for there to be just as many, if not more, photos taken as a girl exited the runway as there were when she first began her walk.
Anyway what I loved most was the type of music played here versus the stuff I usually here under the tents at Bryant Park. They rocked the best reggaeton, some MIA and just enough Fela to make it pop. The fashions seemed to be inspired by the stylings of the shorties on Flatbush. For HAE it's clearly going to be JamRock Spring as their models who looked like urban bohemian flamenco dancers strictly rocked red, yellow and green. Dresses and skirts were flouncy and very short. There were some wickedly cut t-shirts that became sexy off the shoulder tanks and halters.
Sitting in the front row I noticed Ionia Dunn Lee and Nana Eyeson from Essence. Ionia is a top-shelf fashionista in all the best ways and a frickin legend not only where she works but in the industry in general. During a break in the show I went to talk to her. I asked what brought her so far, seemingly off-course, from the traditional white tent festivities. And true to her down to earth character she said that she loves going to shows that aren't in Bryant Park especially if they are showcasing Black designers. She added that it’s a good way to get a fresher more authentic perspective on what's going on on a grassroots level too. Now that’s what’s up!
I couldn’t stay for the entire show cause it was crazy long. Most runway shows are like 17 minutes this one was going on 2 hours when I left! But before I broke out I did absolutely fall in love with this designer by the name of Crying Tears. He incorporated biblical sayings and words into his line in a very smart way. Like his denim jeans had burlap and cotton patches that were stamped “Jesus” or shirts and jackets with sayings like “Imitator of God” or my favorite, “Hate The Sin, Not The Sinner” strategically printed on the back or on the sleeves. It was cool, but in the end, I realized music and art just blow my skirt up way higher.