During Boston Fashion Week, I was invited to a bunch of shows by Jay Calderin, the founder of Boston Fashion Week himself! He was incredibly kind and introduced me to everyone and saved me seats in the front row. He also gave me two of his books, and inscribed them. These books, The Fashion Design Reference & Specification Book and Fashion Design Essentials, show budding designers everything they need to know to become a designer. I can’t wait to memorize them.
Though my BFW experience started with DeScience more than a week ago, the shows I attended with Jay were: the Launch, Ministry of Supply, Luke Aaron, Carla Fernandez. And, today I am going to Teen Talk.
Pretty much all the fashion shows were different in a cool kind of way. Some of the shows were gallery style, while others were runway shows. One of the shows, Ministry of Supply, wasn’t even a show at all, but an explanatory tour around their super cool store. And others, like Carla Fernandez, were in interesting places and featured after parties like the one at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s garden.
Carla Fernandez was a fashion show that had beautifully flowing clothing, with intricate Latin American patterns that were inspired by the Spanish tiles inside the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. As an artist in residence, she not only took her inspiration from the museum but had her show hosted in the new entertainment space as well. If you have time go check out the tiles and see the mermaids and lions for yourself. But, go twice: once in the day to see all the natural light flow and examine the collections, and once at night to see how beautiful it is when lit up. I couldn’t stop saying, “This is so beautiful!” as I walked through her whole house.
Carla’s fashions stood out to me because of the beautiful draping. You have to really understand fabric and cutting and sewing and how it all lays to get that right. I haven’t yet tried it, but I know from what Jay Calderin has told me, it’s not that simple.
Luke Aaron, a special occasion designer, had a gallery style fashion show at the Union Club in Boston. I have some opinion on gallery style shows, and there are some pros and cons. The pro is that you get to look at the fashions for a longer amount of time, but the con is that there is not as much movement to the materials as you would see when the models walk.
Luke’s dresses are the kind that you would wear as a guest to a fancy wedding, but you’d still like a magical princess. My favorite dress t-collar chevron paneled dress with a full skirt, made out of storm grey sea cliff silk jacquard with platinum silk/wool body, fully lined in silk. Jacquard, for those of you whom don’t know (and I didn’t know until I looked it up) is a fabric with an intricate patten woven into it, as opposed to printed on top of it.
While at the show, I met Candice Wu (who I wrote about after Boston Fashion Week 2012) and Janet Wu, a fabulously smart and stylist, who by the way is a local news reporter for WHDH-7 and is Toby-sized without her awesome shoes, and Luke Aaron himself, and took a picture with all them on the Wu Phone. (Pronounced Wuuuuu Phone!)
One of the most interesting Boston Fashion Week shows wasn’t even a show at all, but a tour of the Ministry of Supply store. Gihan Amarasiriwardena, the CEO of Ministry of Supply, gave me a tour some pretty comfy socks.
He showed me several things that set his clothing apart. From button down shirts with small, laser-cut holes under the arms for ventilation, to less formal shirts which get warm or cool depending on the weather, it was clear that they understand more than just fashion.
The coolest thing Gihan showed me were the water resistant pants, which allowed you to pour some water and just float it around on top of the pants, and it would roll right off and the pants would not be wet at all. He showed me an experiment that they had set up in their shop, which explained how the pants work: it was a pump where you could pump air into a piece of fabric while there was water coming from the top, and showed how water resistant fabric could still be breathable.
But the socks took it to a whole new level. These socks were made from coffee beans! Ministry of Supply takes thread and ground up coffee beans (soaked to remove the coffee flavor) and melts them together, resulting in socks that are not not only comfortable but odorless. The comfort pads in the socks and the javafresh technology make your feet feel like they are walking on stink-free air.
Formal clothes can be hot and uncomfortable, but through technology, Ministry of Supply is making them comfy and breathable. Sadly, they only thing from the store that fits me are the socks the Gihan gave me, but I bet my dad will be back (for grown up clothes and socks of his own).
The winners of Descience runway show were:
For Most Inspirational Outfit, Chosen By The Prestigious Panel: Cytocouture, the one male-modeled outfit, a unisex Transformable/Reversible clothing system. I would wear this, but maybe in a different configuration, as it doesn’t work well with fifth grade gym.
And For Peoples Choice, chosen by the jury of the world, one of my favorites, Orphacure. It was designed by Candice Wu, whom I’ve blogged about in the past, and was inspired by cerebral cavernous malformation and endothelial cells.
My favorite design, however, was Cryptic, a beautiful flowing design inspired by dynamic nuclear envelope. My favorite part of this outfit was the necklace, which was made to look like the outside of the envelope and was a perfect finishing touch to this outfit.
This past Monday, I emceed the Descience Fashion Show at the Media Lab at MIT. It was one of the major Boston Fashion Week shows. The three people with whom I worked most closely were Patricia, Yuly, and Claire. They involved me in thinking about how the fashion show would work and helping to set the agenda. Patricia and Claire helped me with my lines and made sure I got super good at them, and Yuly gave me a tour of the behind the scenes of the Media Lab.
The overall experience was a little bit hectic at the fashion show (and definitely at rehearsal), figuring out some things that we hadn’t quite figured beforehand and the nerve-wracking moments thinking through the lines with my partner emcee Cindy Reed, but the end product of the fashion show was astounding and it worked out perfectly.
The judges were an impressive group: Michele Finamore, Fashion Curator of the MFA (and one of the super nice women who showed me the building of Hollywood Glamour), Jay Calderin, founder of Boston Fashion Week (who has invited me to some shows this week — can’t wait!), Gabriel Victora of the Whitehead Institute, Sangetta Bhatia, one of the ten most influential women in biotech, and Francesca Amfitheatrof, design director at Tiffany (fancy!).
At the end of the show, I got to pull the winner from the golden envelope, Oscar-style. I’ve been to many fashion shows, but being onstage is such a different perspective, and a lot more fun. This was an educational experience and I would definitely do it again!
At the Descience Fashion Show, I received a generous gift from Cerebella Design. It was a pink bow tie, seemingly a simple polka dot pattern. But, it turns out it wasn’t so simple! It was a pink fabric, but the purple polka dots were made from a picture of starfish eggs taken under the view of a microscope. That one blew my mind away.
It was super fun to get my first real swag gift! The swag bags I usually get are from the dentist, with little plastic toys and new toothbrushes. Sigh.