So Street: My journey from streetwear to high fashion and back. Part 7
I got to NYC with a couple of days to spare prior to the Show. I remember even at a distance of twenty some odd years how exhausted I felt. I had gone true the tumble and dry cycle one too many times. All the events of the prior months had started to take a toll on me.
Before coming into the Big Apple, I managed to stay clear of drugs, drinking, and too much partying for a few weeks, trying to develop some physical and mental clarity and focus. I had gotten back to running, swimming and meditation, that had given me the strength necessary to get this show into gear.
Cannon, my stylist along with my publicist had done most of the ground work, I confess I wasn't able to be as hands on as I had been for my previous shows, and that kept me on edge.
One of the worst incidents came after reviewing the music for the show, something that generally I would take upon myself to put together and then hand over for remix. My publicist had hired one of the best music directors in the New York Fashion circuit to put the music together. Whenever I asked him if I could listen to it, he kept putting me off, assuring me that I would love it, he had scored some of the best shows in town: Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui...etc.
I finally got to listen to the songs in the lineup...I liked most of them, they were in synchronicity with the collection ethos, that fluid, sexy, nonchalant, youthful elegance of my Italian childhood, transposed into a downtown sensibility...everything but the opening song, the one, my musical director was adamant about...it was a hip hop song...
Now I like all music when it's good...2Pac for instance ranks high on my list of all time favourite artists, he was an original, an originator, the closest thing to Dylan that rap ever had and there are other performers in that genre that have great style and produce grappling music.
But that song was shit!
All I could hear were the words "nigger, ho and bitch" gratuitously repeated over and over again...WTF! how did that have any relevance to the collection I was showing was beyond me, and coming from a white middle aged music director, who happened to be gay, seemed to be a futile and extremely forced exercise in hipism...Here I was extremely fragile, exhausted, and vulnerable and been bamboozled by New York finest hip mob into believing it was the right thing...I kept silent till everyone but Cannon left the room.
I told him to ask for a remix on the song, in the end we kept the music, but took out the lyrics and instead superimposed a track of sirene-like girls laughing and giggling...The first outing of the show was this collection of ethereal silks in prints resembling the waves of the sea and confettis, It was not the perfect choice, off the cuff, but a better one nevertheless.
In the end I found out that fashion people are not very comfortable with laughter...
By this time my future wife Ilona and I were dating.
We had met a few months before in New York City, (I have spoken briefly about her in an earlier chapter). I was on the way back into the city from an excursion in East Hampton; we met up perchance at a place called Fez in Union Square, she had come into New York looking for representation for her children clothing line, I was there visiting my showroom and sourcing new suppliers.
We were both based in L.A. we started seeing each other almost right away. We each worked on our own projects she on her label, I on mine, our relationship was initially prompted by a surge of sheer lust and passion that carried us through the early stages of our union...little did we know at this time, that soon enough the dynamics of the relationship would change.
The day of the show I set out for the venue a revamped theater opposite Bryant Park, it was a rainy September afternoon in NYC.
The show would be at 8:00 PM, there was plenty of room backstage this time to get everyone ready. Our models line up by now was composed mostly of girls that had already walked for me, I felt confident about the collection and the whole feel of the show...it went off without a glitch, the show stoppers were the hand knitted dresses (see part 6), so much so that I got a few applauses out of that...rare in fashion.
In the end as usual it was over far too quickly for the work that went into, and not quick enough for the nerve wrecking feeling that you got all throughout.
We had been scheduled right before Donna Karan's show, so it was absurd to see how quickly the first rows got out of the venue...on the upside of things, Marie Claire had been one of the sponsors of my show and actually threw an after party at the Royalton which everyone involved with the label attended, along with press, family and friends. It felt good to get it over and throw down a few drinks...however the joy only lasted till the next morning, when I was informed that most of the piece from the show had been taken from the showroom...Stay tuned for part 8