Long-time readers of this journal may know that my wife is a fashion designer. She has fashion designer friends and as such, we occasionally get invited to fashion shows. Last night was one such event. Although I often feel a little out of my element at fashion shows, I take it in stride and always end up having a good time. Last night’s show, though, was a bit different. It ended well, but “a little out of my element” would be an understatement.
Kim’s friend Rio Wrenn designs lingerie, among other things, and was having a show at her workshop-slash-gallery-slash-storefront, R.A.W. last night. Rio’s recent work includes some awesome dyeing of delicate fabrics with rusty items and some of that made its way into the lingerie styles.
When I was first asked to go to the show, my initial (stereotypical male) response was “look at girls in underwear? Woo hoo, YES!” The arrival at the gallery was without event, as was finding seats and whatnot. When the show kicked in, I realized I may have been a bit more out of my comfort zone than anticipated. At a fashion show, you are there to look at clothing, but the lack of clothing when modeling lacy, skimpy, etherial things means you’re also looking at nipples and jiggly bits. And I have no good background or frame of reference for how to act and feel in that sort of situation. I realize they are models and they are used to and comfortable with being stared at — when working, being as objectified as the clothing they are showing — and that’s great for them, but does not help so much with how I feel. In fact, the closest experience I have to such a thing would be a strip club — but there is no ambiguity there. At a strip club, you are NOT there to look at clothes and also happen to also see ladyparts. It is assumed that your entire purpose for going is to look at ladyparts. In fact, money is exchanged to look at ladyparts. But that’s a strip club, not a fashion show with nearly-naked models.
After a few girls walked down the runway, I got more comfortable with the situation, myself, and myself in the situation. I began to focus less on the HOLY COW, NEARLY NAKED LADIES and more on the styles, designs, textures, and colors. Overall, I pushed myself into a slightly uncomfortable situation, a little out-of-bounds from what I normally do, and as a result, I grew.
I feel that I do not have the fashion vocabulary to describe the sorts of clothing I saw last night, but I highly urge you to look at her collection and see for yourself. Keep in mind that I believe that link is to a gallery of an earlier collection; I do not imagine the photos from last night are online yet. You can also look at her portfolio for examples of the non-clothing rust and natural dye work she does. I particularly like the one with shears.