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Big in Fashion: Let the Church Say Amen

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 31/03/2016 James Sanders
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My fashion education didn't start on the ready-to-wear and couture floors of Begdorf's with my incredibly chic Upper East Side mother and her career obsessed, also incredibly chic, but girl-powered aunt. Thought wouldn't it be fabulous if it did?
Where I'm from, you were either a church boy or a dope boy.
My fashion pedigree comes from the black church. Every Sunday was like a runway presentation and I promise you, industry models have nothing on either of my pastor's wives -- the one I grew up with, and the one at the church I attend now.
That's why this season, I couldn't help but to reminisce because Fashion Month 2016 reminded me of a church convention.
I ended where I started which was at The Gregory getting ready to check out the morning after. Somehow, The Gregory had branded itself a fashion hotel and with the Stylist Caravan located a floor above the lobby, industry people had been coming in and out of the hotel all week.
The Gregory had become my base of operations.
I got looped into helping my friend Arnold. That's what I'll say if asked, but if I'm being honest, I offered my assistance for his two cover shoots that were happening during Fashion Week. That, along with styling one of the Project Runway alums fashion shows, and Arnold Milfort was officially busier than me for the week.
In between shows we jetted to showrooms, which were mostly empty because the stilettorati (a term I use for the millennial PR girls and interns that run most of the showrooms), were at New York Fashion Week's temporary venue around the corner from Madison Square Garden. Arnold's always been one of my favorites because he understands me and how my body works -- specifically, he knows that in a sea of passes, glossies, and the interns that hand them out, once enough time has passed, I need to eat.
And it was lunchtime.
Leather walls in the elevator gave The Gregory a vintage look and feel, making me feel like there was something special about the hotel that I hadn't yet discovered. I suspect The Gregory has all kinds of secrets in a way that entertains any kind of guilty pleasure. The staff, while personable have a quiet subtleness that relaxed me -- which was a good thing, because my room ended up being a mini studio of sorts where we housed a lot of the samples we'd pulled until we got back from the other half of the shows.
There are several elements of church, but a lot of people forget about the last one -- and it isn't the benediction. It's the conversing that happens right after church. People have to catch up. They have to update each other on their week. They have to be seen a bit more in their looks.
The same is why it takes forever to get from one show to the next during Fashion Month. I generally have the same strategy at shows. I begin to gear up for takeoff during the finale walks, but I didn't have to do that at Denny Wirawan. Things must work differently in Indonesia. People must be calmer. Clearly.
There was an elegance about the entire presentation from Denny Wirawan. Each garment was designed with an old school couture construction that made the garments durable pieces of art. And the styling was perfection with each model looking as if their looks were created specifically for them -- which only shows how Denny and his team are masters of fit.
Most of the young people in church hang out afterwards -- that is, if you're one of the in crowd. Being born into a family of clergy, I had been used to going places after church with some of the young people. Church was never really over, not until much, much, later. Such is the case with fashion shows. The after party is a rite of passage. When I first started doing fashion month, the parties were the best part. But this season, the collections were enough for me. Designers had fun this time around and it really showed in most garments that traipsed down the runways in New York, London, Milan, and Paris.
Fashion seems to always be obsessed with another time. This time it seems like fashion was obsessed with the 90s and a bit of the 80s. Saint Laurent was easily one of my favorite collections with the over-accentuated shoulders and extra-mini, miniskirts were to die.
There was an abstract blend of Victorian rich princess vibes at the Dolce and Gabbana show. But Burberry found a new way to do the 70s. And the fur at FENDI gave me life.

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