Fashion Week: SuChin Pak Texts at Richard Chai; ThreeASFOUR's E.T. Chic
Credit: Stacey Anderson
Voice editors Stacey Anderson and Araceli Cruz are reporting all weekend from fashion week, that bizarre New York spectacle of pre-recession bonkers insanity.
AC: As the line of pubescent men march down the runway at Richard Chai's Fall 2009 show at Cedar Lake in Chelsea, MTV's SuChin Pak won't stop texting. Is this kosher? No one's informed me of proper fashion show etiquette. But as I gather from the front row usual suspects, you:
a) Can talk during the show
b) Clap when an outfit meets your approval
c) Don't even have to acknowledge the show is happening
d) Disregard reserved sitting
e) a and c
Those of us who were paying attention at the new line by the young designer (who refuses to disclose his age) noticed a refurbished look that blends young sophistication and Chai's signature old-world detailing and stitching.
SA: Richard Chai, much like the more mainstream John Varvatos, uses classic tailored shapes and then seems to pull the thread until they unravel; his menswear is structured but edgy, and I can see a lot of East Village men flocking to this collection. Men in PR will, too, judging from the appreciative reception alongside the runway. The colors were mostly utilitarian - pea-green, grey, navy - but they balanced out the more unkempt details.
'Til now, Chai was best known for his Go International Target collection; it was women's ready-to-wear, though, and featured violet cardigans and chevron-striped tunics. Quite a leap from what we saw today - and while I enjoyed both his approaches, the men's looks have more kick. If this is his day job, I think he's found a great one.
AC: Getting into the ThreeASFOUR show is a lot like attempting to crash a party with tricky entry access. While the intern, Mike informs me that the wait is quite worth it, some try to swindle another way in:
"I have a blog," a dude in specs says.
"MySpace doesn't count," someone blurts.
"I have MySpace and Facebook," he rebukes.
"Oh, you only have two?" Mike says.
He doesn't get in. But I do only to see a line of alien creatures all in white staring back at me, motionless, and suddenly the urge to flee hits me. Stanley Kubrick-esque sounds blare from the speakers. This doesn't help. The models, in a fencing-style headpieces, continue with their presentation, which includes trimming bonsai trees. Yes, this is strange.
SA: Watching the Fashion Week coverage from Milan, I see a trend floating stateside; Marni and Karl Lagerfeld for Fendi both emphasized laser-cut shapes, in free-floating polka-dots and lace-like flowers respectively, and the designer collective ThreeasFour did similarly tonight with cutout blouses and sleeves. Only ThreeAsFour brought in the exciting new element of apparitional models and postmodern vamping - I am going to call this E.T. chic, and you cannot stop me - by putting sequined headwraps on the models and then having them wander around the loft space freely in dazed liberation.
ThreeAsFour is a highly anticipated show in Fashion Week because it's known for being avant-garde and surprising. This seems fitting; the structures were very offbeat, from the multiple lapels on coats to the rhinestone-studded lacy tights. But whereas Marni and Fendi were unusual in a consumable way, ThreeAsFour seems to pride itself on aesthetic over wearability; the clothes were gorgeous and creative but so delicate and revealing, they would work in few social occasions. They were more to be observed than enjoyed.