As D.C. fashion tries to slide out of the shadow of big sister New York, Couture for a Cure proves that as fashion certainly exists on D.C. streets, it can also seamlessly translate to D.C. runways.
One Thursday night before I left New York, I was out to drinks with co-workers. After I had sipped a few martinis and was pleasantly tipsy, I excused myself to go home and pack for a weekend looking for apartments in D.C. (packing with too much liquor in your system is never a good idea, lest you arrive at your destination with nothing but a pair of galoshes, snow-pants and a bikini. And you’re going to Cleveland. In March. For a work conference.). My ultra-hip, ex-fashion PR co-worker told me “Who cares what you pack for D.C.? No one there dresses well anyways.”
Sure, she probably just wanted me to have a few more martinis and begin ranting about another horrible date I had just gone on (I mean … which one?) but her remark spoke volumes about the way D.C. is perceived in the fashion world. Though I frequently observe well-dressed Washingtonians all over the city, it is obvious that our reputation has preceded us.
However, D.C. is currently experiencing a kind of renaissance that no other city can claim right now. Fashion itself isn’t dying; the old world of fashion is dying. It is being molded into a new beast; changing and evolving. Can’t D.C. evolve with it?
New York Fashion House DKNY showed its Spring 2010 line for the first time in D.C. at Couture for a Cure in late May. The third annual event was thrown to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The event, produced by DC United Player Bryan Namoff and his wife, Nadine, was truly a memorable night in D.C.
The Woolly Mammoth Theatre hosted the event, and it was perfectly placed. A bi-level space, the Theatre has an industrial feel and the lighting gave off the vibe of a downtown loft party. There was room for everyone to view the show without being too large or informal. Everything about the event was on point, to the amount of tickets sold, to the spacing, to the awesome DKNY gift bags given to attendees.
And the fashion. Oh, the fashion. The DKNY Spring 2010 line was a heavily 90’s influenced collection, with lots of rompers, sweatshirt material, heart shaped patterns and sequins. The makeup and hair were clean; slicked back ponytails and nude faces allowed the clothes to be the main focus. The collection was extremely wearable. No Alexander Wang or Rodarte; we need to tread slowly and dip our toes in the (beautiful and sophisticated) baby pool before we can learn to do a backstroke.
The audience seemed especially engaged in the event, clapping, oohing and aahing as an extraordinary piece came sashaying down the runway to La Roux’s “Bulletproof’ (note: a blown speaker on one side of the room caused a slight stir during the runway show, but the models were professional and carried on. C’est la vie!) I also noticed so many fashionable women (and men! We never want to forget the fellas)in the audience, a true nod to an evolution of D.C. style. An after party at the new Buddha Bar rounded out a glamorous evening of fashion and cocktails in D.C.
My favorite part of the evening was when the runway was lined with survivors of cancer, strutting their stuff and looking amazing, healthy and happy. All too often we shell out wads of cash to attend an event with a charitable focus, but we forget the charity amidst the glitz and glamour of the event. Couture for a Cure struck the perfect balance between fashion and philanthropy.