Williamsburg Fashion Weekend

Neighborhood: Williamsburg
Type of Place: Designers

Williamsburg Fashion Weekend: Show by Dear Birthday, Treehouse, and Sodafine

My companion and I made our way into the art space hosting a triple-header fashion show of local designers, and I could hardly stop smiling--though the show had not yet begun. The eclectic crowd--of various ages and, gasp, body types, with widely varied modes of expression--did not represent the usual show-attending suspects; but that is a shame. This crew looked genuinely receptive and creative, backing up the belief I've always held that fashion shows are in fact forms of art.

I wouldn't expect any argument about that from the designers featured here--Valerie Soles of Dear Birthday, Treehous's Siri, (designer of the Sirius line), and Sodafine's Erin Weckerle--all of whom display unbridled art and joyful creativity in their work.

Five outfits were offered from each designer. Dear Birthday kicked things off with demure dresses, folky vests, and a fairy-like vibe; indeed, they claim "fairy tales, folk dress, and nature" as primary inspirations. (Appropriately, they, like all the night's designers, keep their processes sweat-shop free and environmentally friendly.) The color palette this time around leaned mostly toward creams and browns, with delicate embroidery, some Peter Pan collars, and vests that said "mountain hike" without a trace of "corporate office." If Tinkerbell became an eco-friendly feminist, she'd wear these clothes.

Next up was the Sirius line: fun, feisty, and figure-celebrating creations, often constructed with vintage materials. Sirius hits from the show included a purple jersey slip dress with vintage-quilt embellishment and a green halter dress, blinged up with the designer's trademard lighthearted sexiness by way of vintage black sequins.

Sodafine's Weckerle has "official artist" pedigree via an MFA in painting from Yale. Perhaps she also studied psychology: The black abstract patterns adorning her clothes here looked somewhat like happy, trippy Rorschach tests. I loved her pinkish-cream puff-sleeved gauze blouse with a wrap skirt sporting the Rorschach pattern; a cowl-necked tunic, also Rorschach-ed; and a sleeveless shift dress in beige patterned with black diamonds.

As each model completed her walk, she sat down on a big blanket; by the end of the show, all the models--reflecting, like the crowd, various ages and ethnicities--were together in a festive picnic pile. What was not to love here? The show was slyly called "The Sky Is Falling," but it left me feeling hopeful, charmed, and inspired.

  - Pamela Grossman; Oct 19, 2008

Williamsburg Fashion Weekend
Brooklyn, NY

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