January 9th: A Flashy Friday
With day one in the books, I awoke the next morning with remnants of adrenaline coupled with the stark realization that I had yet to pick an outfit for the day. I leaped out of bed, turned to my closet, and assessed my garments as animated question marks and outfit equations hung over my head.
I’ve recently nosedived into the peasant dress trend, meaning smocks with bird patterns have entered my life. The first addition to my new collection was a high-neck, turquoise frock with loud yet delicate florals. I decided to wear it with red patent leather booties for contrast and silver sparkle socks for reckless spontaneity.
The amalgam turned out to be a beautiful shit show. Peasant-chic meets Zenon meets modern day Wizard of Oz. I felt like a time traveler who accessorized on each stop.
Today’s show was held at Industria, a chic industrial venue in Greenwich Village. The label was Chromat, an avant-guard swimwear label whose previous collection delivered a metallic color story, geometric shapewear, and leather detailing, all courtesy of the architectural-driven mind of Becca McCharen-Tran.
I meandered down Washington Street, trailing a tall gentleman in a maxi fur coat who I assumed was not on his way to Duane Reade.
After following my guiding light and Muppet character to our shared destination, I found a spot in line and passed the time by marveling at a man in a kilt, posing for photographers. Before the little lass in me could squeal in delight, we were being ushered inside.
I found a spot behind the last row of seats, essentially the front row of the nosebleed section. When no one showed up to their assigned spot in front of me, I meandered my way under the bleacher-like rows, alarming the ankles of quite a few showgoers, especially one in particular when my head popped up next to her corduroy slacks.
As I fixed myself nonchalantly as if I didn’t just prairie dog my way into the third row, the lights dimmed and the music commenced.
Chromat was a thrill, an electric rainbow of fluorescent leotards, bungee-wrapped midi dresses, and futuristic athleticism. It was mind-altering yet cohesive, not to mention the recurring accessories were bags of Cheetos stuffed into the pockets of vibrant cargo pants, a trend that I was an early adopter of in my formative years.
What truly astounded was a lineup of models that sashayed across various spectrums. In a time where inclusivity can seem trendy rather than vital, it was refreshing to see a slew of bodies reaching almost every marginalized physicality. Any sort of status quo was dismissed with a colorful range of physical and social identities. If an alien were to plummet to earth mid-show, they would be oblivious to any existing standards of beauty, approve of our existence as a species, and then consider investing in a neon monokini.
The show came to a close, yet the infectious sounds of synth continued, prodding attendees to hang back and mingle. Still reeling from the presentation, I found a comfort corner to sink into while I people watched.
As an outsider who weaseled her way in, the adrenaline of fashion week was invigorating and having these sartorial scenes within arms reach was dizzying. And yet, I could not fend off feelings of vulnerability. Especially post Chromat. At its conclusion, showgoers rose from their seats in unison and formed huddles sealed with impenetrable forcefields made from Vetements jackets. I craved camaraderie as I looked on longingly. I also decided that feeling lonely while wearing sparkle socks makes for a conflicting headspace.
My sadness was interrupted when I stole a glance at an inspiring individual wearing a rainbow fringe jacket. My insecurities were fleeting, as my awe quickly replaced any sense of inhibition. Plus, every time I looked down at my sparkle socks they told me to perk the hell up.
This thought process continued through the remainder of the week. Through the dark athletism of YAJUN and the contemporary sheen of Sally LaPointe, I felt the thrill of sartorial wanderlust and the dread of the inevitable end of the vacation. The disposition of an outsider looking in.
It’s because fashion is a vacation. It transports you from the realities of life to a constructed vision of beauty and self-assurance. For some, it’s a trivial distraction. For others, it’s escapism you can wear. It’s felt when donning a beret, colorful tights, or even a band tee, and it’s all-consuming when thrown into the thralls of fashion week.
To digress, fashion is a treat and I was beyond lucky to indulge in its sweetest form. I learned to always come prepared with small talk, and that sparkle socks will elevate almost any ensemble. I witnessed diversity in its most energized form and snack foods as legitimized accessories. I walked away enthused by its energy, but also extra appreciative of sweatpants and simple pleasures. But mostly, I craved Cheetos.