31 March 2011

Nashville Fashion Week: Night Two

I won't lie, I was a little disillusioned about ten minutes into waiting for media access into Nashville Fashion Week's second night of shows at The Arcade between 5th & 4th Avenue. Why you may ask yourself? Well, for two reasons.

  1. I didn't actually know I had press credentials until today, which means I missed all of yesterday's opening extravaganza.
  2. No one seemed to know where anyone was supposed to go tonight, including Insider Pass holders (read: those who paid the most) let alone press.

Luckily, I arrived somewhat early and after having paid $10 to park my car three blocks away, I joined the ranks of the Nashville's fashion savvy waiting to be told what to do while hovering in a Walgreen's entrance trying to stay warm.

In true Nashville style, the good people around me, with the help of a security guard, were able to figure out who went where and for how long, etc. Turns out, media was meant to check-in at the cocktail reception taking place in an art gallery across the street from The Arcade. Good to know (signs anyone? Can a girl get a sign?).

The super fun (read the sarcasm) thing about being "press" is knowing, in the back of your freezing/nearing hypothermia mind, that having the pass above does not actually ensure your entrance into said show. I kept my gray tipped fingers crossed and after an hour and 11 minutes of waiting, was finally granted passage through the black curtains into a "press pit" which consisted of metal grate-type chairs seated between actual ticket holders and the wall.

Again, luck would walk my way in the form of a petite black-clad blond wearing an ear piece and moving at lightening speed up and down the catwalk. She offered me a seat up near the front of which I jumped at the chance to take. I was even more thrilled, after seeing that the seat was about 4 chair lengths away from the beginning of the catwalk, to be seated amongst a sea of warm bodies because did I mention it was cold? Yeah, it was cold.

Anyway, on with the actual show...

First up was local designer Melissa Tabor. Her designs are sophisticated and sexy but still very interesting in their detail and texture. I particularly liked the juxtaposition of the feminine silhouette to design elements like an exposed zipper. It gave the whole line a very multi-dimensional gravity that is often missing in every day frocks. Here's a sample of her work from her Etsy store:

Second on the runway was GadoGado, another local line created by Belinda Kazanci and inspired by all things Bali. Her work features uber-creative prints in body conscious cotton accented with fringe details, excellent draping, and bold color. Below, a shot from backstage tonight and a sample of her work from her Facebook page:

Betsey Johnson was the mid-point of the show and of course that proved to be entertaining and enchanting, as always. Unfortunately, Betsey wasn't with us but her spirit resonated in all of the layers of pink tulle, yards of '80's inspired florals, and sassy sailor jackets. You gotta love Betsey; even when she's not around, she still charms you. Some looks below from her spring line:

Next up was Ben Sherman. Now you will have to forgive me for what I am about to say, but menswear on a runway absolutely bores me to tears. Don't get me wrong, I love to go shopping with my man and there is not much better in this world than a well dressed gent, but the shows? Quel snooze. I will say, however, that the line is impressive and there is obviously more reasons than one why Ben Sherman's line is the 4th most popular menswear line in the UK. It sells on Asos for anyone who is interested; here is a promotional shot from the collection:

Tonight's show ended with T. Rains. Now, when I saw the moniker on the screen, it didn't dawn on me that this was Traver Rains of Heatherette fame. About four frocks into the show, though, it was pretty obvious. There was quite a crowd for T. Rains collection; lots of people standing to catch every look as it went by, lots of video, even more exclamations of wonder. I, however, was not one of those people. I was never a fan of Heatherette (and I'm not overly concerned with how uncool that might make me). I can appreciate it in an almost avant garde parody kind of way, but as far as serious fashion goes (from a historical and marketable angle) I just don't see it. It certainly is attention-grabbing and so therefore successful but I'm not sure who the client is for this line and I'm not sure I want to...where does she wear these pieces?

I did, however, love this:

The finale piece, a large headdress made of multiple shades of blue tulle on a bathing suited beauty lacked innovation but seemed rather interested only to shock. I wasn't shocked. I was hypothermic and kind of bored, but not shocked. After say my '20's, shock-fashion no longer appealed to me -- entertained, yes but...I need more than that now. Dear G-d, am I getting old?

Traver Rains seems to have an enormous imagination, of which I can completely appreciate and respect. Specifically, I adore his photography. The fashion elements come together so symbiotically with his vision of the world at large, that the photographs come to life somewhere between reality and fantasy. I adore these two, absolutely adore them:

Overall, a great experience and I'm looking forward to Thursday and Friday night's shows, although not as media. Sure, I'll take notes and maybe even get some pictures this time but being a ticket holder obviously has its advantages and I'd prefer to not subject my toes to that cold again any time soon -- not that they'd feel it anyway, having been numb for at least four hours solid. There was a moment upon spying Kelly Cutrone seated across from me where I ceased to care about my frozen appendages but even she left early, her child in tow wrapped warmly in a blanket.

Some quick suggestions I'd like to make to the great people at Nashville Fashion Week:

  • Space Heaters. If I know anything about Nashville after 8 months of residency, it's that the weather is unpredictable.
  • I love the intimacy of a level catwalk with the crowd but in a space like The Arcade, elevated would have been a better choice. Or am I just short? I wasn't wearing my normal 4" heels.

And hopefully warmer. Until tomorrow....until Christian Siriano...



  1. We share some of the same opinions from last night's show. I tried to block the cold out of my mind and thought, "At least I'm warmer than the dude wearing the speedos, boots, and feathers in his hair going down the runway."

    Melissa Tabor's work was great. I loved the textures of the materials. I'm sure I would have been tossed out had I reached out to touch them as they cam by.

    My wife liked Kazanci's work the best. A great mix of style and comfort. Though one of the models did not look comfortable walking at all. Has she ever worn boots with heels before?

    Betsey Johnson's work was well made. The Blue blazer and white dress with the blue overlay was probably my favorite from her collection. I am a child of the 80's and have (mostly) grown up now. Not too fond of some of the floral prints.

    Ben Sherman's work was nice. I can see how our cousins from across the pond would enjoy his collection, especially the outer wear and sweaters. Very unique.

    T Raine's work was fun. Definitely what I came expecting as a fashion show newbie. It was a little disconcerting to see a dude's in speedos, but hey, to each his own.

    Glad I could assist in blocking the chill (my wife and I sat to your right). Enjoy the rest of the week.

    Larry Harold

  2. Great meeting you last night! As we discussed, you can check out the network at www.thenashvillecreative.com. Hope to see you tonight again!


  3. Sounds really fun! That is of course said in my warm house... ;)

    Cant wait to read more about it!

  4. So I later discovered that Cutrone didn't leave the show but moved backstage where her expertise were obviously in high demand. She and T. Rains are tight!