I was totally confused when I arrived at the Fiorello H. Laguardia High School for Rachel Antonoff’s Autumn/Winter 2011 presentation because I couldn’t find the event within the massive high school. I truly felt like I was a Freshman again on my first day of the ninth grade – which was actually quite exhilarating. There were handwritten posters on the walls advertising where the “Dance” was being held – for a few minutes I feared I might accidentally stumble upon a group of teenagers grinding to Katy Perry for Valentine’s Day – until I realized the posters were part of Rachel Antonoff’s “The Dance” theme. I came across a few other fashionable older women roaming through the halls, and after commiserating with them about the location of the show, I made my first upperclassmen friends that day.
“The Dance” theme was incredibly unique and well-planned by Antonoff’s team (Set designed by Aux Armes www.auxarmes.com): The invite for the show included a yes/no check-box asking “Will you go to the dance with me?” with all of the “i”s dotted with hearts. The decor consisted of ceiling-to-floor streamers, Hostess snacks and candy necklaces at each table, bleachers, a disco ball hanging from the basketball net, and a live band – The Like – performing such classics as The Shirelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”. Antonoff gave Paper Magazine the following explanation as to why she choose to use the school dance concept to present her designs:
“I’ve always loved the idea that everyday can be an adventure worthy of a costume, and I think that’s a concept that kids live by, adults less so. Kids just come up with the most amazing activities in the most mundane spaces.”
The 1960’s sock-hop vibe was not lost on the clothing, which featured valentine and trombone patterned dresses, bow-tie blouses, vests paired with turtlenecks, 60’s style specs, and corsages worn by the models. The accessories were also brilliantly created: tights with lightning bolt, arrowed-heart, or kitten designs on the knees (by Rachel Antonoff printed by Ashley Wokasch) and saddle shoes of all incarnations by Bass and by a line created exclusively by Antonoff for Bass: Bass Loves Rachel Antonoff. The shoes were so timely and incredible that I rushed online to try and purchase some, but it seems as if The Daydream Saddle shoes are the only ones available on sale at press time.
The only difficulty during the event was picking out the models “attending the dance” from the Antonoff-clad press attendees. Although the looks were described by the location of the models in the gym (identified as “Wallflowers on Bleachers”, “Mean Girls on Bleachers”, “Dance Floor Girls”, “Table Girls”, “Band”, and “The Punch Spikers”), these models were not always at their assigned posts – probably because they were genuinely having a good time at the presentation. Cute highlights of the show included male dates in tuxedos, an actual cat (being held by a model posing as one of the “Wallflower on Bleachers”), and the excellent performance by The Like (The Bass Loves Rachel Antonoff lookbook features The Like’s Tennessee Thomas). I also got quite a chuckle watching The Cobrasnake try to convince the models on the side of the room to lounge seductively across the bleachers so he could photograph them. Thankfully, they politely declined his request. Girls at a school dance in the 1960’s would never behave that way.
In conclusion, the presentation was the most innovative event I have ever attended during fashion week. It definitely trumped every other presentation I have ever viewed. Rachel Antonoff successfully transformed “the presentation” – which usually has an uncomfortable, voyeuristic feel – into an interactive and exciting occasion. Check out the video from the event below the pictures!
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