Milk studios during fashion week is Alice in Wonderland, sorta. Or maybe Narnia. Either way, it's snow globes of worlds all under the same roof, contained, separate, unexpected.
Graeme Armour was a frosty, futuristic dream with nods to OpArt and famous villains (or at least I'm assuming, as a "Deville" dress was followed by a "Cruella" dress, and the "Norman" trouser was followed by "Bates" pant). Almost all looks were bold black and white, some (like the Cruella) with graphic print tails that seemed oddly sinister.
But drama was to be expected from Armour, a Scot who credits the country's lack of sun as well as his apprenticeship at Alexander McQueen as inspirations. Even the models in uncomfortable looking updos raced down the mini runway, almost aggressively, as the photographers begged them to slow down. Was it intentional? Perhaps. This was a conceptual presentation, not one intended for retail mass market. But it was every bit as cool as it was cold.
After Armour, walking across the hallway and stepping over the threshold to Lulu Frost meant tumbling down an entirely different rabbit hole. Accessories designer Lisa Salzer’s world was anything but icy: models lounged on oriental rugs scattered amidst leather trunks, record players, and wooden crates. Editors swilled champagne (it was noon) and swayed to the crooning of the Storms while admiring the set design and the vintage fashions from Amarcord.
And the jewels? Incredible. I haven't wanted a sparkling hair accessory since my last trip to Claire's in the 7th grade, but designer Salzer changed my mind. Like all the Lulu Frost pieces, it was eclecticism as its best: turquoise, silver, and Bakelite mixed together, then stirred with love with rescued pieces from flea markets. As in the bracelets and necklaces, the key ingredient was the quill, which lent a western pioneer vibe to Salzer’s deco base. The model wearing the headpiece even laughed as I eyed it and my smile crept in at the corners.
Thankfully she was at the right presentation for that-- a few doors down, she might’ve lost her job.