Saturday night I went to my first fashion show. I had, of course, seen many on E! and in the good old days of Fashion Television on VH1, but I had never been one of the privileged black-clad fashion elite that clutter the front rows in Paris, Milan and New York’s Fashion Week.
So for this event I went all out. This was me — all in black and cashmere topped with a camel coat. I wore my sunglasses at night, had a martini before going out (although the chic image was stained by the exciting Duke-UCLA basketball game going on in the common room amongst chips and beer) and pretended to chain smoke. OK, I really chain-smoked.
The Vyrtigo Third Annual Springwalk Fashion Show in the was held in Davenport Dining Hall Saturday night at 9.
The event was arranged by the staff of Yale’s undergraduate fashion magazine, Vyrtigo and sponsored by New Haven businesses.
For five bucks and a sense of humor, you got the newest edition of “Vyrtigo,” a couple of coupons to the Yale Bookstore, one of those necklaces freshmen use to carry their keys about, some sort of coffee-flavored suckers, a program and Caffe Adulis snacks. I announced that I was there to cover the show and was subsequently allowed to survey the crowd with an air of journalistic haughtiness.
Excellent so far.
I immediately began to analyze the front row. There were an inordinate amount of seemingly straight boys, but there were some European types clad in Diesel slip-ons and Burberry (although one boy did confess later that his Burberry’s oxford was a gift from his sister), and lots of interesting shoe choices including flip-flops, sneakers and chunky black boots.
The atmosphere was sensuous — everyone smelled fairly good and rose petals blanketed the runway. One of my companions noted when the Caffe Adulis food arrived late and nothing seemed even close to starting at 9:15 that “they’re fashionably late I can see.” And the band goes, Ba dum bum.
The show was divided into several categories: Urban Wear, Casual Looks (i.e. Yale Bookstore junk), Interview Wear, Nightlife Fashion, “Going to Bed” Clothes, Formal Wear, and a new category, Salvation Army clothes, which emcee, coordinator and Vyrtigo editor in chief Laurel Pinson ’02 announced cost $30 to outfit all of the models. The other clothes were from local stores such as Archetype, Bottega Giuliana, Raggs Fashions for Men and Seychelles (advertised with the not-so-complimentary slogan, “the most prominent place to buy formal wear in New Haven”). The other clothes were out of the models’ own closets.
Speaking of the models, there were definite highlights. Alyssa Frederick ’02 was the star of the show. Sidra Bell ’01, Ayodope Anise ’01, and Amma Hewitt ’03 were buff and graceful, and Bell proved as assertive as a model as she is as a ballet teacher at the Payne Whitney Gym.
Blair Golson ’01 and Jeremy Klapperman ’01 were in underwear — really tight, see-through underwear. He twirled glowsticks while strutting on the runway. Shrieks of horror ensued.
There were not only impressive sights, but also sounds during the show including Deelite, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Fat Boy Slim, something from Madonna’s new album, the new Janet Jackson single, and some popular hip-hop music. The music wasn’t mixed all that well, but maybe that’s how it is at fashion shows.
But the music didn’t keep from hearing some key insights during the show.
“I had white cowboy boots like that in my dress-up box when I was six. They had fringes.”
“Oh, man. JK’s little brother [Garren Givens ’04, brother of Jason Givens ’02] needs to get a clue. Tight silver pants with white Adidas. Oy.”
“Oh my god, fully tapered leggings? No, no, no.”
“That interview suit is a little too tight and a little too white.”
“Oooh! That’s Amma [Hewitt]; she was in my Spanish class.”
“That turquoise dress is very Jessica Rabbit and very an ugly color.”
The comments gave a better soundtrack than the music and also gave a good idea about the quality of the show.
The fashion definitely wasn’t top notch and some of the looks reminded me of the teeny-bopper Delia’s catalogue I throw out every so often in the post office. Some of the best stuff actually came from the models themselves or from the Salvation Army, including this rad orange and black cheerleading sweater with a big “W” on it.
The heavy presence of sponsors in the other categories showed the influence and often poor taste of the advertisers. In the end, the Yale Bookstore will still sell ugly Yale apparel, and Archetype will continue to offer over-priced items we could buy much cheaper in New York.
The final lesson I learned on this first venture into the “real” world of fashion — bring alcohol. I think some of the models had a few drinks, from what I saw on my backstage foray after the show. But that’s another column.