New York Fashion Week: Custo Barcelona, Joanna Mastroianni & Vivienne Tam

Catching up on a few shows from Sunday afternoon that didn't make it into an earlier post...

Custo Barcelona
There comes a point in every Fashion Week where one starts to lose it and, unfortunately for Mina, it happened during Custo Barcelona (mine came a few hours later, but more on that in a bit). Lovely Mina was once again crammed onto the photo riser with a bunch of sweaty, cranky photographers, in a situation one could easily describe as beauty and the beast, which—check out this transition!—was also the theme of Custo Barcelona's fall 2013 collection. There were some cute sweatshirt tops and embellished miniskirts that represented the former, but as the show went own, more and more tended to the latter. Here's what my notes read: "Sir Galahad. Old couch. Cosby sweater. Court jester." You get the point. I realize I'm probably not Custo Barcelona's typical customer, but when it comes to my own wardrobe, I certainly prefer beauty over beast.

Joanna Mastroianni
On a similar note, I attend many fashion shows for designers whose clothes I will likely never wear. This is kind of the point of Fashion Week, I suppose—to go out and see new things and expand one's horizons. I don't know whether my horizons were expanded at Joanna Mastroianni, except maybe for the fact that I learned that there are people who actually wear this stuff. Mastroianni—I'm going to call her JM for now, because that's a humdinger of a last name—is an eveningwear designer of the too-much-detail-is-never-enough vein: Think sequins, textured leather, goat hair, soutache, beading...sometimes all in one outfit! It's a lot of look, but the client-filled audience loved it—JM's final bow received one of the most enthusiastic responses I've seen thus far. As my mom says, there's a peg for every hole.

Vivienne Tam
 It's been awhile since I've covered a Vivienne Tam show, and Mina was very excited to shoot it, however considering the run-in I had with a certain power-tripping usher at this show (I speculated about the size of his manhood on Twitter, in case you missed it), I should be thankful I wasn't kicked out of the venue. (Remember what I said about losing it sometime Sunday afternoon? This was my breaking point.) I'm glad I stayed, because Tam presented a rather thought-provoking fall collection, one that I'm still processing. Known for her strong Asian-inspired designs, Tam turned to punk and pop art, but rendered in black, white, and red (a popular color palette this season), it had a severe look that, at times, seemed to be channeling, or at least commenting on, government propaganda in the face of revolution. Tam decorated dresses with a "Wan Sui" graffiti motif inspired by Chairman Mao's writings; when a black military coat with an arm patch came down the runway, audience members audibly gasped. Perhaps even more thought-provoking were her "pop culture Obama" prints that featured, yes, the President of the United States. Amidst the political commentary, however, were quiet bits of beauty: silk dresses with intricate back cutout details, kilt-like leather skirts, lovely minimal dresses with flattering A-line skirts, and a pretty badass-looking jumpsuit. Sadly, I'm not sure the attendees even registered any of it—in contrast to our previous show, this was the most quiet audience yet.

Photos by Mina Kim

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