Friday, July 6, 2012

Fashion Week: Bread & Butter

Putting my swag to work, my press credentials and I entered Tempelhof Flughafen, transformed into Bread & Butter, Berlin Fashion Week's massive exhibition space on the site of the defunct, Albert Speer designed 1934 airport terminal. There, beautiful people like me were buying, selling, photographing, observing, and enjoying all that the fashion world has to share. No one left the scene without an imprinted cloth bag filled with catalogs, business cards, or stickers emblazoned with evidence like "Officially Stylish."

This is Berlin's Art Basel, and in some ways, it is grander. Comparing one place to another is always silly, but both provide the raison d'être for a number of people inside the fashion and art galaxies. While both provide ample opportunity for both cognescenti and vagabond, Berlin's shabby chic flows throughout the festivities. There is always a bit of pretense at these gatherings; still this is more down to earth than a fox hunt, golf tournament, or country club wedding. On the other hand, there was a polo match going on while I was checking out the Converse high-tops.

The fashion included the accessable things -- boots, jeans, jackets, and belts -- that everyone will buy. At Art Basel, nobody who would be caught hanging out with me will ever buy anything they see there. At Art Basel, there's nothing good to eat. At Bread & Butter, I scarfed down an organic currywurst. I left with a tie-dyed shirt, a Desigual sack, and a frog keychain.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2012

Once again, it is Fashion Week in Berlin and Mercedes-Benz is the primary supporter of the catwalk. I'm no expert on fashion, but I know the difference between fashionable and Façonnable. And so, if you are a commoner, you know that Hugo Boss will be present, as will 100 other designers that you have never heard about.

Fashion, being competitive, depends upon creative re-interpretations of creative interpretations;in other words, last year's 14 centimeter collar must inevitable yield to this years 11 centimeter collar. Cobalt must step aside as pomegranite did in order for havarti to overwhelm us in a jumpsuit. Hunkemöller will reveal its new Dutch influenced lingerie as the clean cuts of Burce Bekrek display the latest ideas from Turkey.

I first attended Fashion Week about 6 years ago, and I've been festering over the indignity caused by being moved from my first row seat to row three. Despite this humiliation -- in front of all my fellow journalists -- not to rub it in, but I could still see better, or should I say be seen better, than 90% of the others in the room.

Despite my sarcasm, as the grandson of two tailors from depression era New York, I grew up working a bit in my Uncle's tailor shop, and it was important that I looked presentable, that my colors matched, and that there was no soap behind my ears. My country has strayed a bit from this, and when I am forced to endure punishment at a shopping mall, I see these values distorted like a contortionist at Cirque du Soleil. In my Miami, this translates into garnet and gold Florida State University baseball cap, the orange and green t-shirt of the beloved U, and the orange and blue gym shorts paraded about by the devotees of the Gators. (Of course, the color palette should be used whenever possible according to the PR department.)

Fortunately for all those attending Fashion Week, they will see designers whose models, despite the apparent brillo pad piled onto the head of an angular frame, would not be caught undignifying themselves with anything other than the latest designs -- or jeans.