Monday, December 24, 2007

Reflections on Chicago Show

It is the holiday season so like most of the Western World, I've been taking a little vacation. It is time well spent recovering from the Chicago fashion show, prepping for the next and giving myself space to have some objectivity about the whole thing.

Chicago was nothing if not an experience. I undertook the challenge of fashion-at-a-distance with enthusiasm and great expectation. It was a chance to see my dream become reality in a town where I don't have my usual support network. All things considered, it was definitely a success.

I knew going in that this event would succeed or fail on the strengths of the supporting cast, and in here, this show was blessed with star performances. Some of the major highlights were set and event design, amazing dance/fashion performance, live art by Rex and delicious tasting menu.

The sets which were designed and constructed by Beth Gatza, Alex Lesniewski and Stanley Lesniewski turned out amazing! Beth and Alex really put themselves out there 150% to create a beautiful space and stage. The Orphanage is already inviting, if slightly chaotic. Beth went in and rearranged the furniture to create lounges, a bar and a VIP area which brought some tasteful organization to the space. For the stage, she and Alex created 8ft high light boxes that had tree silhouettes (in line with the whole "tree theme" at the Orphanage). These light boxes also allowed for the dancer's silhouettes to cast shadows which added extra ambiance and beauty. Lastly, was the elegant runway they constructed. Lastly, Beth and Alex teamed up to construct an elegant runway illuminated with under lights to add extra magic to the dancers.

Rex himself brought another dynamic element to the evening. He decorated the whole room with his art, which was so sweet to see in person after all these months of experiencing his art through computer printouts and screens. To me, the ultimate joy of art is being with it, seeing the brushstrokes on the painting, seeing it on the wall, and in context to all the other work.

Among his world of paintings, Rex started the evening painting on a original VAGADU dress/jacket. He accompanied that with a canvas he brought along to simultaneously do a live painting too. This aspect of the event turned out well, as it was yet another part of the evening that people were able to be part of and bare witness to art in progress.

Of course, the zenith of all the hard work and months of labor was the dance performance/fashion show. The dancers; Julie Haller, Allisa Zee Hartmann, Cindy Huston, Myah Shein, Lenah Parsons, Johannah Wininsky, Carlyle Wycykal choreographed by Mary S. Burns, took my heart away with the movement and energy that they brought to the room and the clothing.

For me, the most beautiful aspects of the experience were the last minute changes that conspired to create something different than I had imagined. This was so moving because I saw the event take on a life of its own while becoming reality. I thought the dancers would emerge from Rex's projected paintings, at a certain time to demonstrate the inspiration that lead to the garments evolution. This was not to be. The girls began the dance in the audience in their own attire, danced their way up to the stage and gradually-- one girl at a time--got into their first VAGADU outfit. Eventually, all the girls were in VAGADU designs and running around interacting with each other as different Rex paintings flashed behind them on a slide show. One of my favorite pieces also happened to fit me like a glove so I decided that I should wear it and it would give me an opportunity to be part of the performance that I worked so hard to see to fruition.

Overall, it was a lovely night, one that likely no one will forget. With amazing treats to tantalize the bellies of the guest by Chefrain, a visual spectacle that was a feast for the eyes, and movement bearing clothes that left you feeling like you really experienced Rex and his world expressed by so many other artists through their mediums.

To see more photos click here: Photo set 1, photo set 2, photo set 3.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rex Flodstrom Collection

Here are some images of the main Rex Flodstrom collection. Photographs taken by John Martin.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Green Fashion Show

Vagadu is a Green Fashion Project.
Joui Turandot's designs are made from thoughtfully recycled fabrics. Chef Efrain uses cups and serving ware made from corn and other biodegradable materials. All waste from the Chicago Vagadu event will be recycled or composted. We love Chicago and want to keep it green.