Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

Rock in the New Year
A Model Fashion Week, Surviving Sundance and Talking Love Letters with Patti Smith
B Y M I C H A E L M . C L E M E N T S
“You know you are at fashion week when the bathrooms have skinny mirrors.” This pearl of wisdom was dropped from the stylish lips of WL Trend Reporter Yona Park as she and I took in the Sass & Bide Fall Collection during the Super Bowl of fashion – Mercedes-Benz’s Fall Fashion Week in New York, which, incidentally, happened to coincide this year with the real Super Bowl. It doesn’t get any more “metro” (or as a gay friend recently termed, “Gaight”) than catching a full day of fashion at Bryant Park and then watching the Giants humble the Patriots over pints at a dive bar in the Lower East Side. Franco Nuschese was in New York trend spotting as well. The Café Milano and Manfacto men’s clothing line owner was seated behind fellow Italian Ermenegildo Zegna at Zegna’s Fall Collection preview. Men looking to modernize their tuxedo collection should get fitted for Zegna’s latest styles, but be pre-warned – people will notice you! Fashion can be similar to sports in some respects. I’m convinced, for example, that like fist fights in hockey and car crashes in NASCAR, fashion gawkers come to runway shows to see beautiful, long-legged supermodels wipe out in their stilettos. At the penultimate Saturday night Rock & Republic show, a model, perhaps blinded by the lights, executed a turn incorrectly and almost stepped into the orchestra pit. The tension was palpable! Mingling with assorted fashionistas in the W Hotel backstage lounge afterwards, her daring escape from Page Six notoriety was the hot topic of cosmo-fueled debate. As inspiring as the fashion was in New York, it didn’t compare to Junko Koshino’s couture
concoctions at the Kennedy Center’s “Japan! Culture + Hyper Culture” exhibition. Organized by the Center’s vice president of international programming, Alicia Adams, the two-week festival showcased a wide range of Japanese arts. Favorites included a soulful robot that played jazz, a performance of Petipa’s fulllength masterpiece Raymonda by Japan’s National Ballet Company, and the food at the opening reception hosted by Ambassador Ryozo Kato and Mrs. Kato (now I know where to get the best four-star Japanese food in the Capital Region). Speaking of four-star: four WL-hosted events at the Sundance Film Festival brought out the stars. Colin Farrell was chill at the Kicking It screening and after party. Promoting a documentary (as well as his feature In Bruges) at an independent film festival provides stark contrast to promoting splashy features like Alexander or Miami Vice. Mary-Kate Olsen was at the party, too, fueling gossip blogs worldwide.
I tried to watch a ten-second phone clip on YouTube from our party entitled, “Mary-Kate Stalking Colin Farrell.” It was just a bunch of lights and muffled thumping from DJ Paul Oakenfold’s set. I sat with Farrell and Olsen. She was simply hanging out with Farrell and his In Bruges costar, Brendan Gleeson. When U2 arrived, the Greenhouse at top of Main turned into a Dublin pub minus the Irish folk musicians. Patti Smith was at Sundance as well, promoting the film Patti Smith: Dream of Life but I caught up with her afterwards here in Washington. The ’70s punk rock icon/artist/ poet came to town for “Love Letters,” an evening of spoken word and songs hosted by Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. Ever humble, she told me, “I’ve never wanted a career and I don’t believe I have one. I believe that I’m a worker and that I’ve always done the best I could.” Smith was invited by Archives director John Smith, who took over last year after working for the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Expect more amazing nights like this from Smith as he unlocks the treasures of Archives. After the concert, WL hosted an intimate dinner at Teatro Goldoni with Patti, John, and some of Washington’s top art players, including Hirshhorn Museum curator Kerry Brougher, Mu Project gallery owner Shigeko Bork, creative connector Phillipa Hughes, and modern art collectors Cindy Jones and Mark Ein. Events like these, along with features like “Welcome to Pollywood,” make this job worth the never-ending deadlines. From art to film to fashion, theater, and dance, WL sits at the hub of the city’s creative communities, giving us the opportunity to play connector and promote our arts scene. If you think The Young & The Guest List party was wild, wait until we get all the artists together!
Readers wishing to get in touch with Michael can email: columns@washingtonlife.com.


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