Sunday, December 5, 2010

Arts and Cultures Initiatives Conference at CUNY

I´m not going to admit I totally enjoyed the 12 hour day of conferences and fashion events seedy and hungover, but I am pretty proud that I lasted until 5.30pm without much to complain about, except that we were running nearly 2hrs behind schedule.
The first day of talks was engaging…very focused on the power of the consumer. We started the day ambitiously with an invigorating talk on the power play in fashion being driven by the consumer, and moved into the definition of style and current fashion. We had an amazing panel of empowering women in style, including lovely Tziporah Salamon who all of the fashion girls met at the cocktail launch and have fallen in love with because of her audacious nature. Our gathered notes defined style in 5 components:
1) Knowing and complimenting your body
2) Studying other people with style
3) Relying on vintage for rare and treasurable pieces
4) Avoiding or ignoring trends
5) Not only knowing yourself, but complimenting your personality and embodying the essence of your style.

The most fantastic quote of the day was "style is me only, fashion is me too", and with that we left a little more confident about our budding fashion aspirations.

The second day of the conference ran a little more smoothly and certainly had mmuch more resourceful information on offer. We had an upbeat and engaging talk by Anna Sui, who explained her identity as a designer as well as the inspiration behind her SS 11 collection. The collection references heavily the 1979 film Days of Summer and definitely put me in a seventies mood for when I come home. I am rushing out to find floaty, floral, feminine prints inspired by a sunset colour palette, soft chambrey denims and Western style tassles.
By far the biggest highlight of the day was glove maker ______ who explained, meticulously and tediously, the lengthy process of crafting a Couture glove. He had a lisp which made matters worse, but he was definitely entertaining (I couldn't keep the innuendous thoughts to myself). Hamish Bowles spoke about curating the Balenciaga exhibition we viewed last week at the Spanish Institute, and although I was super excited to meet him, his talk failed to meet expectations as it was generally just a drawn out reading of the exhibition catalogue.

My favourite speaker was in a panel discussing the values of vintage exhibitions. He was an outlandish Dutch designer who had emigrated to New York to expand his brand. What I love about Dutch people and miss about home is their complete audacity in having no qualms about expressing their controversial opinions. He emulated this all. The most interesting speaker was an artist from L.A. who worked in photo media and technology portraiture. Watch this space for a future collaboration.

As it was the last night for the girls and Kay, we joined them for dinner at a Dallas Texan Barbecue joint near home, where everything served is actually bigger than life (or what is capably edible). My spinach salad was actually a salad bowl serving of mushrooms and leaves, plus half a chicken carcass. Not even implementing mind over matter could have accomplished that feast. I think the most enjoyable and worthwhile thing offered on the menu is if you oorder a Texan margherita, which is actually a bowl-size goblet of slushy ice alcohol for $8. Really hits the spot.

Anyway, now I miss the girls and am spending the rest of the trip with the smelly boys. They're actually not that bad, but I am looking forwards to spending a lot of time travelling on my own to reflect on my practice and perceptions of where it is going.

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