Walk 5 Fashion Show was this past Saturday at the beautiful Detroit Opera House. The best description I could come up with to describe the show in one word is ratchet. People I spoke to said they got dressed up and paid $50 to stand in line for over an hour waiting to gain entry. The security staff at the Opera House was rude to models in the show and at one point refused to let them enter the building to dress for the show. I was granted press credentials but never received a press pass. I had to figure out where to sit on my own and was also treated rudely by security after being given incorrect instructions as to where I was to enter the show. The staff working for Jelly’s World and Iced Crystals were running around like chickens with their heads cut off; clueless and unable to locate each other. This is a classic example of the right hand not knowing what the left was doing. Now, they may have been confused as to what capacity I was serving in when I arrived, because I was looking fabulous of course, but that’s why you should provide your press with press passes. That way you will know who is who, where they should sit, etc.
Did I mention the show took place outside? Thank God it didn’t rain and the temperature dropped from scorching hot to hot enough. Otherwise it would’ve been a sweating, hot mess.
The show was supposed to start at 8:30 pm, but in true CPT fashion, it didn’t start until 8:45 pm when the Walk Dancers appeared and performed a loosely choreographed routine featuring Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj songs to open the show. The stage featured a projector that was projecting upside down for the first few minutes of the show until the engineer who had installed it came back with a ladder to correct his snafu. After a very quick welcome by Dominique Reighard (America’s Next Top Model), who did less work than the DJ did, but likely got paid more money, the show finally started with Brickhouse Designs. Walk 5 staff didn’t pass out programs to the audience until 10:30pm so you had to pay very close attention to the projection on the screen against the back of the runway to know who was up next. I may be wrong, but I do believe that programs should have been passed out either upon entry, check in or to people while they were waiting in line.
There was a performance after the intermission by TraVon, whose mic didn’t get turned on until the song was about 20 seconds in and his voice was barely heard over his pre-recorded track. There were many other sound issues during his performance, but he kept it moving, just like a professional. It was pretty obvious that TraVon is in need of vocal coaching because he couldn’t keep his tone consistent during a live, outdoor performance. It’s also obvious that they failed to do a sound check with him before the show.
Gwenation saved our eardrums with her performance before the second part of the show began. But due to limited time and the fact that she was supposed to perform a lot earlier, she only sang one song. Manner later took the stage before the final part of the show. He reminds me of a cross between Musiq (when his hair was long), a black version of Justin Bieber and a male version of Nicki Minaj. He was somewhat talented. He was also smart enough to bring two handfuls of his own fans and family to the show (which he referred to as Mannequins) to cheer for him and sing his songs off-key, like it was his own personal concert. This was good because no one else in the audience seemed to know who he was. Nor did them seem to be heavily into his performance.
One of the models lost her pantyliner on the runway at the beginning of the show, where it remained for at least two more collections. I’m serious. I have it on video. It just slipped right out of her panties and landed on the runway. There were more than enough visible tags, butt cracks, nipples, areolas, bras & panties throughout the show and of course no spanx for those who needed them. Mostly, I saw similar clothes that I’ve had in my closet for the last 5 years versus any new hotness. I was hoping for more haute couture. Instead I was greeted by a lot of been there before. Fashion shows are supposed to introduce you to things upcoming in fashions and trends; not show you clothes you already own. I saw a lot of women in the audience wearing the same clothes that were on the runway. Very little of what was featured during the first 3 rounds was actually “designed“, with the exception of the exquisite bow ties from the Alexander Collection. Mostly the first 3 rounds of so-called designers were actually boutique owners who had clothes that were all sewn and manufactured by someone else, that were sold in their boutiques. Clothes that are DESIGNED don’t have tags and they typically fit the models a lot better. The audience was more excited by seeing the child models strut their cuteness, than they were about any of the clothes.
One of the best designers was Diane Berry. Although she couldn’t save the show from its ratchetness. She’s a talented designer, but she isn’t Jesus. The fourth round of the fashion show should’ve been the first round. By the time real designers took the stage the audience had started to disperse, so a lot of people missed the best part. Beulah Cooley closed the show with her fabulous take on evening wear and I was actually on the road to impressed. But not as much because I had to wait too long to get there.
As hard as I tried not to be critical of the show as a reviewer, they made it too easy for me not to. Jelly’s World and Iced Crystals could have gone to many schools in Metro Detroit to offer an opportunity to up and coming fashion DESIGNERS, who actually draw designs, select fabrics and sew them into clothes that don’t have tags in them and fit the models appropriately. There are so many up and coming fashion designers in Detroit that would’ve loved to showcase real haute couture and show new trends in fashion. Unfortunately, they were somehow passed over for the chance during Walk 5.
Walk 5 was better than the worst fashion show I’ve seen, which I blogged about in Fashion… Not Forward. However, Walk 5 was nothing compared to the many excellent fashion shows I’ve seen, including Fashion In Detroit. The stage and runway were very nice. Overall I give the whole event a 4 1/2 out of 10. At the end of the show, I couldn’t help but think that I had missed out on home cooked buffalo wings, (Cass Tech Alum) Big Sean and the MJ tribute at Bleu for this fuckery. The most exciting part of the night was when the fireworks went off at Comerica park and lit up the night sky.
This critique is all about the teachable moments in the show. It’s not meant to make anyone look bad, but instead point out areas of improvement to make the Walk Fashion Show better than it was and has been since its inception. It’s also a teachable moment for anyone aspiring to have a fashion show in the near future. We’re so easily pacified by mediocrity in Detroit that it really saddens me. If we keep supporting the mediocre, that’s all anyone will ever give us. And those of us that work hard to step up the game, never get recognized for it, because everyone wants the same thing they had before. To truly be successful, we have to be willing to get ahead of the curve instead of behind the eight ball. The way we do that is by being more creative and forward thinking, not by imitating what’s already been done. Walk 6 is scheduled for December 2012. Hopefully it will be indoors (huge bugs, the size of birds, swooped down at the audience at one point) and showcase something other than a lot of clothes people are already wearing.
~ When you know better you do better.
*The views of this blog are strictly those of Super Woman and not anyone else’s. You’re entitled to attend whichever events you’d like and formulate your own opinion about them. It is your money. However, at Super Woman Productions and Publishing, one of our goals is to provide higher quality events for those who prefer them. A model search is forthcoming for Sequins and Suits, on August 16, at Crave Lounge. The designer is Mark England*