Goodbye MBFW at Lincoln Center, Hello Shock-Value on the Runway!

By Anna Spiewak, Contributing Fashion Editor

The last ever fashion week at Lincoln Center under the Mercedes-Benz umbrella has closed with a bang!

The Fall/Winter 2015 IMG Fashion Week took a bow, Feb 12-19, bidding farewell to its main sponsor Mercedes-Benz, which is pulling the plug next season, and to Lincoln Center, which is ousting the fashion event from its venue after five years, in light of complaints from New York City Parks Advocates.

As if a fashion apocalypse has unfolded, designers might’ve taken this as the season that anything goes on the runway, and anything did: Multi-media assemblage outfits, skirts made out of potato bags and feathers, plastic outfits, metal outfits, shirtless male models, naked female models with painted-on outfits, naked male models, strutting in just a cape while holding their, um, ‘package.’ And this was mostly from students and breakthrough designers.


The first day of fashion week started the evening with an offsite show (Hudson Mercantile) by Hanley Mellon, a husband and wife duo, Nicole Hanley Mellon and Matthew Mellon. The couple, catering to the more upscale, Ralph Lauren-like crowd, played it safe for the evening, with a collection inspired by their lavish travels, this time to Antwerp, Belgium. The European inspiration included suede wrap dresses, stripe chiffon shirts, and very Katherine Hepburn-style baggy pants paired with a wide belt and silky flowy buttoned-down blouse.

Rail-thin Mrs. Mellon, who made the models look meaty, was on hand with her young son Force Hanley Mellon to greet guests. Among the guests walking around the room with models at the center posing as mannequins, were Creative Director of Marie Claire Magazine and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia, as well as Melrose Place and Gossip Girl actress Kelly Rutherford.

Midweek, on Tuesday at Lincoln Center, Zang Toi, The Art Institutes and Lupe Gajardo showed their stuff.

Old timer Zang Toi played it safe this season with black dominating the runway, with some hints of earthy greys and browns. His biggest risks entailed sweater-dress minis paired with childlike thick stockings adorning the female models. Preceding the minis were tailored suits adorned with faux-fur collars, for men and women, wintery cashmeres and wool tops.

Following Zang Toi, the student show of The Art Institutes stepped out of its comfort zone by opening the show with a special female guest battling a rare immune disease, walking the runway on a walker to the tune of applause and a standing ovation, as she modeled an outfit by student designer Nina Perdomo. Her strut was followed by a display of the younger generation taking risks in clothing material use: from latex filament wrap, to plastic, to multi-media assemblage, the Millennials underlined their trademark belief that they can do anything, and they did.

The last show of the evening was by a Chilean newcomer Lupe Gajardo, who held her own in originality. She used the inspiration of birds, the homeless, the streets and dressing out of necessity with her collections showcasing dresses and skirts made of potato sacks with large pins holding them together, to sweaters adorned with bird feathers. Skirts were made of different patches of denim creating a 50 Shades of Blue effect.

And finally, on the last day of fashion week, closing the night and the end of Mercedes-Benz Fashion week at Lincoln Center was a show that will be talked about for a while. Art Loves Fashion, presented by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, showcased seven designers, making it one of the longest fashion shows in one sitting. But the audience was not disappointed. The presentation featured collections from “the world’s freshest and artistically inspired designers in support of a great cause,” according to the program’s pamphlet. The show was exciting and daring.

From sophisticated streetwear by Mister Triple X, showcasing bunny ears and S&M-related gear, to sculptured couture by Li Jon showcasing metal dresses, to House of Byfield, which brought the Nerd look back with glasses, bow ties and briefcases. But no collection shocked as the last one of MT Costello, by sibling designer duo Stephanie and Michael Costello, an alum winner of Project Runway. Their collection included a model dressed in a flowy robe and stilettos dragging through the runway as if she were drunk, only to stop in front of photographers, disrobe and reveal a painted on outfit only. She stood revealing her goods before strutting backstage. But the biggest shocker of the night was a young platinum blond male, clad with just a hooded metallic robe and his penis in hand, adorned with gold jewelry, the penis that is! While this trend might have been started in Paris by Rich Owens a month earlier, who presented the naked penis to the world, it was a first in New York. And with that as video blogger and creator Rocco Leo Gaglioti of Fashion News Live stated after the show: “NY fashion week will forever change after this show.” Oh it will. Watch out designers, come next season in September there’s a new shock value standard to uphold now.




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