|photo by Aoi Fujikawa|
One of the things we had on our Santa's Wish List this year was to see the Chromat Spring-Summer 2016 runway show. These wishes are always a bit dicey, coming as they do waaay before Christmas, but Santa came through, and we had front row seats, for which we are doubly grateful. (There isn't too much left on our Wish List now.)
First, let us give you a look at the finale, when all the models come parading at the same time. This will give you your best view of everything. As you view the clothing, keep in mind that Chromat originated as an extension of designer and architect Becca McCharen, with a structural language forming the foundation of every garment, from the simplest bikini to the most complex 3D printed dress.
To our surprise and delight, the show opened with supermodel Alek Wek, seen below flashing by so quickly that she's a bit of a blur. Wek is wearing a collaboration between Chromat and Intel, the details of which you can read about here.
Just a few details, since you've already seen the show. If you've seen our previous Chromat reviews, you know that Chromat specializes in bodycon on one end of its spectrum, and avant garde grids-to-wear at the other. Bodycon is still the watchword, but Chromat is also moving in other directions as it grows and matures. This piece is along the lines of the stark and severe Chromat that first caught our eyes. Chromat garments function as armor or scaffolding for the body, empowering the wearer to become the strongest most powerful version of themselves. Among the strong, bold women to wear Chromat are Beyonce, Madonna, FKA Twigs, Tyra Banks and Nicki Minaj.
Unlike so many designers, Chromat acknowledges and embraces its plus size fans. Here is one of the designs from the Spring/Summer 2016 Momentum collection. In this outfit, as in several others, we noticed that Chromat is venturing into colors, generally one color at a time.
Chromat is for the woman who isn't easily intimidated, but there is a bit of softness and femininity in this dress mixed with Chromat's open sensuality.
For the final piece in the runway show, we were treated to another Chromat - Intel collaborative piece, this one showing several of Chromat's more high profile characteristics: geometric/graphic shapes, cut-outs, futuristic styling, and non-traditional materials.
For the full effect, and to get a peek at the Intel equipment, we have to show you the back as well.
No show is complete without the people, and in fact the people are often as much fun as the show itself, so let us tell you a little bit about the other guests, and show you some of our favorite moments.
For a nanosecond, after checking in, we were invited to stand on a line (you know how appealing that is), but just for the shortest period of time, and then we were rescued by Patience, who whisked us away to the VIP lounge. Patience (who is well named), kindly twirled on request, the better to show the rows and rows of fabulous furry fringe on her vest, but none of it has come through in the photograph, so we charge you with imagining it.
Seating for the Chromat show started an hour before the 8:30 pm runway show, allowing us and other select guests (thanks to the intercession of Patience) to mingle in the Design Disrupted Lexus Lounge, sipping Veuve Cliquot and munching on beautiful to look at and delicious to eat hors d'oeurves and chocolate bark, hung on meat hooks in a reference to the neighborhood's Meat Packing District roots. To our joy and disbelief, we got to spend some quality time with our favorite celebrity couple, Chelsea Fairless and Lea DeLaria, both of whom turned out to be fixtures at New York Fashion Week's primo events. Lea - fresh of the launch of her new album of Bowie songs and tapings of Orange is the New Black - and Chelsea just got back from Palm Springs where Chelsea coaxed Lea into modeling a few caftans and turbans in the splendor of the desert. Check them out on Instagram: Chelsea is @female_trouble and Lea is @realleadelaria.
In between discussions of the cosmos and the Pythagorean theory, a conga line broke out!
Strange things tend to happen around Lea and Chelsea. Lea has more energy than any five people put together. Anyone who has spent any time around them begins to appreciate how well opposites attract and complement each other. Through another six degrees of separation, when she was at Parsons, one of Chelsea's best buds was a roommate at RISD of our pal Joana Avillez, so they connected when Chelsea visited Providence. Unfortunately, although Jean wanted to take a photo of the turquoise temple of Lea's eyeglasses to show how it matched her turquoise neck tattoo, she got distracted when the dancing started. (Story of her life -- both the distracted part and the dancing part!)
Among the other guests in the Design Disrupted lounge was this trio of gents, obviously enjoying the atmosphere as much as we.
Arabelle Sicardi was also at the pre-show party. Hip and attractive, she also colors her hair grey! Arabelle then adds other shades like lavender and purple. Since so many boomer women color their hair in an effort to hide the grey, it is so interesting and refreshing to see how chic grey looks on younger women. Perhaps when they get older, they won't fear going silver naturally. (Well, look at the role models they have to work with!)
Speaking of young women (and men) opting to go grey, we ran into Coco Layne (@Lolita Bandita) and Tayler Smith (@nottaylersmith) who made the wheels turn backstage at the Chromat runway show. We were invited back to the Lexus Lounge after the show and got to see them just before they headed off to the post-show party in Brooklyn. Both were wearing Chromat and Tayler has slyly worked in a Zana Bayne harness as well. Although we were invited to join the after-party frivolity, we thought we'd leave that to the young folks that particular evening.
Our heads spun with the fantastically diverse crowd this show drew. We had to show you the woman in the polka dot skirt, of course. When we ran into her two days later at another show, she was wearing another show-stopping full skirt.
And how about this striking woman in her amazingly graphic two piece dress?
This photographer had the most wonderful glasses.
While the other trio of men we already mentioned was wearing traditional button-down shirts, this crew went for the more avant gard approach to fashion.
We met this trio of attractive and fun ladies including Eda Levenson (2nd from right) aka Lady Fancy Nails who was responsible for the models' manicures for the past several Chromat shows, including last February's long, pointy black nails.
Here is an idea of the SS16's Momentum collection's more graphic nail look, courtesy of Lady Fancy Nails.
How's this for a Cat Tat?
We met this three-some after the show. Don't you like her necklace?
This very dapper gentleman wore a tee-shirt with a decidedly kittenish image.
At the end of the runway show, this fellow @iamdiddy stopped us for a photo. We gladly obliged despite the fact that his mesh face mask reminded us of Hannibal Lecter. We did want to rip that Adidas vest right off him and keep it for ourselves.
What could be more appropriate than to end the posting with this photo? Besides, it gives you a view of the back of Valerie's red metal cage. More to come. In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it ain't over till it's over.