Photos by Angela Ashman.
It was the kind of avant-garde spectacle that fashion outsiders would mock. Models, one by one, snipped away pieces of a spiral white dress worn by a model in the center of the room, until she was left wearing nothing but a bandeau top and high-waisted briefs. But performed for the Fashion Week crowd at the Threeasfour show on Thursday night, the production received a standing ovation — led by none other than Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon from the front row.
Of course, they were slightly biased. The models were performing Ono’s performance-art work Cut Piece, which she first staged in 1964 in Tokyo, inviting the audience to cut away all her clothes until she was naked…
The Threeasfour trio of Angela Donhauser, Adi Gil, and Gabriel Asfour named the legendary 76-year-old Ono their muse for spring, and it really was all about her. Besides the re-creation of her seminal work, the show also featured music from Ono’s forthcoming Plastic Ono Band album, which her son produced (think Ono’s signature “eeee-eeee-eeee” wailings over a tribal beat), and Ono’s dot drawings on flowing robes and dresses — our favorite pieces of the show. The collection predominantly consisted of all-black looks, including a few fantastic sculptural dresses over sliced leggings, but ended with a gorgeous white suit — perhaps a nod to John Lennon’s signature ’69 look. Overall, it was a show we won’t forget soon.
However, as far as spectacles at Fashion Week went, nothing could top Rodarte‘s apocalypse-themed show at Gagosian on Tuesday. Models, wearing black lipstick and painted-on tribal body tattoos, walked through clouds of toxic-looking yellow haze dressed in, well, really gorgeous rags. (What did you think you’d be wearing to the apocalypse? A ball gown?) Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who received the women’s wear designer of the year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America this summer, did everything they could to ruin their materials — burning the plaids, sandpapering the silks, and tossing on some paint for good measure. Apparently we were supposed to imagine a woman who was burned to death and then reborn as a condor who has to forage a barren landscape for scraps (you can’t say they’re not imaginative!). But the way they twisted, cut, and shaped the tangle of dark scraps into something feminine and even beautiful was breathtaking.
Celebrities taking it in from the front row included Kim Gordon, Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst, Milla Jovovich, Jason Schwartzman, and every major fashion editor you can think of, including Anna Wintour and Carine Roitfeld. Some had to cover their noses and mouths from all smoke. But as Gordon gushed afterwards to the Daily magazine, “This was the greatest kind of horror fashion fantasy!” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 18, 2009