The Unbearable Banishment: Faaa-shun

Friday, June 25, 2010


I have an almost maniacal dislike of the fashion industry. It strikes me as an industry that's wholly built on, and feeds off of, the vanity and insecurities of (mainly) women. I am tempted to say that it's psychologically predatory but I'm afraid that would make me sound crazy, so I won't say it. Plus, I've met F.I.T. students in my dating past and they always seemed kind of vapid to me.

Having said that, there's a new public art exhibit mounted by the New York fashion industry that is simply fantastic. It's called Sidewalk Catwalk and it runs through September 3rd. 32 giants in the industry (At least, I think they're giants. I didn't recognize 80% of the names.) dressed mannequins that are mounted on Broadway from 35th up to 42nd St. [It's a portion of Broadway that's been closed to vehicular traffic and made into a pedestrian mall, an idea that I wholly approve of.]

Here's a photo essay of some of the more interesting ones. I can't help wondering if they'll survive the summer. Won't they be destroyed by summer storms or ripped apart by screwball New Yorkers? Better see it while you can. I've uploaded larger-than-normal jpegs so you can click on them for a closer study.

Betsey Johnson. Of course. She's like the crazy cat lady down the block except with a big pile of cash.

Michael Kors. I'd like to see Nursemyra poured into this one.

Nannette Lepore. Does anyone recognize that name?

Victor Alfaro. Another name I don't recognize.

This is made from a parachute, which billows out in the breeze. Clever!

Tommy Hilfiger. Easily, for my money, the best of the bunch.

Jill Stuart. The only mannequin with "hair."

Thom Browne. Seashells. Really imaginative.

This is by Kenneth Cole. I only included it because it's one of the names I actually recognize. But I think the design is kind of lazy.

I believe this one was designed by Parson students. It's better than some of the "pros."

Won't a lot of these be annihilated by August?


Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

I think 90% of that haute couture stuff is just an excuse to see how out in left field the designers can get. No one really wears the stuff they parade down the catwalk, do they?

Hope these last the summer. Neat idea but some of them are plain strange.

June 26, 2010 at 12:24 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Those are fun to look at.
I miss the elegance of the fifties but nowadays comfort is key.

June 26, 2010 at 5:07 AM  
Blogger Pueblo girl said...

"feeds off of, the vanity and insecurities of (mainly) women"

I would DEFINITELY feel insecure wearing any of those...

June 26, 2010 at 5:54 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

(i HAVE to comment wv is: cheri)

as soon as i saw this mentioned in the nyt, i KNEW y'all would hotfootit on over and take some snaps, sugar! well done! i agree with y'all assessment of fashion - it has become some sort of perverse game. i also agree with pat about elegance gone missing. my mother (also a new yorker) always said told me to never follow fashion, but to make my own! xoxoxo

June 26, 2010 at 7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope springs eternal.

June 26, 2010 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

I LOVE your description of Betsy Johnson. One of my childless relatives found a kitten about 4 years ago, and it is amazing how fast she became a crazy cat lady - without loads of cash.

June 26, 2010 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger CiCi said...

Leave it to New York to have the unusual and interesting. Great photos and this looks like a fun exhibit.

June 26, 2010 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger ExtraO said...

These are really cool!!!

June 26, 2010 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger Zen Mama said...

Seriously, the parachute one looks like an overstuffed trash bag from the front and a giant bug wing from the back. I suppose I never have really understood high fashion as is evidenced by the contents of my boring as hell closet.

June 26, 2010 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Ponita: Savannah just sent me a link for the new Paris men's show. awful stuff. Truly unwearable.

Pat: Perhaps 20 years from now, what they're showing today will be considered elegant.

PG: I think they're more "art" pieces as opposed to actual prototypes for dresses. I think.

Savannah: Thanks for the link. The Paris stuff looks truly ridiculous. At least THESE pieces aren't meant to wear.

kykn: Dope springs eternal in fashion.

Cat: My aspiration was to be a crazy cat man in Manhattan but my life took a different route.

TB: This place is fun city, USA, that's for sure. Wait until you see the pics for the outdoor painted pianos! Seriously!

EOM: Actually, I didn't even know about the exhibit! I stumbled across it on the way to work. I wish I could post pics of all 32 pieces.

Mama: My closet contains polo shirts (summer work) button up shirts (winter work) and tee-shirts (year-round at home). That's the extent of my fashion acumen.

June 26, 2010 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

Nice fun stuff!

My wardrobe? Tees and jeans (or shorts, weather permitting!) almost all the time.
Black suits, white shirt and 'fancy' tie for gigs.

(I do like to buy the 'odd' bargain now and then though, but it has to be odd!)

I did all the 'fashion' stuff in the 80's, people would come from neighbouring villages of a Saturday just to see what I was wearing! :¬)

June 26, 2010 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger Everyday Goddess said...

Not much survives the city streets, those should be gone in a new york minute.

i was curious about nanette lepore, and disbelieving her name to be real, i googled her.

i'm a little nauseous now after reading.

June 26, 2010 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Map: It's not difficult to see you as the local standard bearer for fashion in the 80's. You could probably still pull it off if you had a mind to.

EG: Well, that's all very pretentious and precious to me. But if you're going to succeed in fashion I don't suppose there's any other way.

June 26, 2010 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

Oh but I do. I DO! :¬)

June 26, 2010 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger sukipoet said...

I've loved Betsy Johnson for years though hasnt she gotten kinda tame (fashionwise). Of course she is the only name I recognize.

June 27, 2010 at 1:19 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

the fiberglass 'art' projects have happened in several places. cincinnati did pigs, chicago did something, san fran did hearts, nashville did guitars... and my little burg did 250 pound 6' tall fiberglass art beavers. due to the name of the town, of course.

they will last the summer and hopefully be auctioned off to various entties for charties, and find their way to permanent display somewhere. my little community theater got a cut of the art beaver bonanza, and it bought new lights...

June 27, 2010 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger Here In Franklin said...

Coolness. I know that fashion seems pointless, but aren't most jobs?

June 27, 2010 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Suki: Hello, there. I only know of Betsey Johnson because of the crazy factor. I think I remember seeing her do a cartwheel on the catwalk at the end of one of her shows. I know of Kenneth Cole because Mrs. Wife use to work for him.

Daisy: NYC did cows a few years ago but these are a different animal (ha). It's centered in the fashion district and the artwork wasn't open to the public to contribute. Still in Greece, I take it?

Ellie: Most jobs ARE pointless but I think fashion has evil, predatory undertones connected with it. They judge people. I know I'm crazy, but that's what I think.

June 27, 2010 at 6:06 PM  
Blogger Here In Franklin said...

Ha--I love that you called me Ellie because I know that she is a much younger, much thinner, much better traveled version of me. In other words, we're practically interchangeable. :)

June 27, 2010 at 8:12 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

HIF: Jesus. You all look the same to me. Seriously, though, I'm so sorry. I hope you're not slighted.

June 27, 2010 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger Here In Franklin said...

No, Free Man, I think it's funny. (I really do.)

June 27, 2010 at 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As street art? Brilliant! As fashion? Not so much.

June 27, 2010 at 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Sid said...

I love Jill Stuart's one. Yes, it's not as creative as the others but it's fashion I would wear. All the others are more "art" than fashion. That's how I feel ...

June 28, 2010 at 6:13 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

MIT & Sid: It's as if the designers got a different set of instructions. Some of these pieces are clearly meant to be sculpture/art. Take a look a that beauty from Tommy Hilfiger. Others, like Issac Mizrahi, went ahead and created, what could be considered, wearable pieces. I didn't include photos of those because they bored me as compared to the more conceptualized pieces.

June 28, 2010 at 7:04 AM  

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