Vice‘s fashion coverage is not exactly traditional. For example, there was that time they had a reporter attend a London Fashion Week show while tripping on acid. And that time they had Terry Richardson shoot a group of scantily clad full-figured gals for their photography issue. And Fashion Cats, the best book ever published. And there is also of course the popular “Dos & Don’ts” column.
On Thursday, Vice will launch their biggest fashion project yet–a web series called Fashion Week Internationale, which is meant to explore the “world of fashion that exists outside the superlative catwalks of New York, London, Paris, and Milan.” In each episode, Charlet Duboc, a charming British Karlie Kloss lookalike with a truly enviable ’90s clothing collection, goes behind the scenes Vice-style of a different fashion week, many of which are in some pretty unlikely locales.
Last night, we had the pleasure of attending a screening of the first two episodes at Vice‘s Williamsburg offices. The first was Pakistan’s Islamabad Fashion Week (fashion literally used to be banned there), followed by Full-Figured Fashion Week, which takes place right under our noses here in NYC. Both episodes, while extremely different, were incredibly eye-opening, thoroughly entertaining, heartfelt and, at times, hilarious. We got a chance to sit down with Charlet (who I feel like could be the next Alexa Chung) and Vice Global Editor Andy Capper to chat about fashion, Jersey Shore, how the series came about, the craziest things they saw and did and what they hope to accomplish with the show. Click through for that and a sneak peek at Fashion Week Internationale!
On how the show came about, Andy explained, “She (Charlet) came up to me and said, ‘You should see this list of fashion weeks. There’s one everywhere all around the world all the time,’ so we looked through and we thought this can’t fail to be good…I think our expertise is not really in haute couture or in fashion, but in finding human stories behind them and luring people in with a tag like ‘fashion.’”
So what does he think of what’s on TV now? “I quite like watching Jersey Shore; it’s just too drunk…I dont see anyone else’s culture…it’s good fun to start, but the more it goes on, it will just be annoying drunkenness in New Jersey.” Andy wants to accomplish more than that with Fashion Week Internationale. “I want it to be as big as possible and for a network to look at this show and think this is a great show for young people and old people, whoever, to watch and for everybody to watch it. It’s not even that I want to be famous or I want the money; I just want to move people.”
The show was a departure from Vice‘s usual programming in many ways–Andy is currently finishing up a documentary they did on the heroin epidemic in Syberia. “I specialize in doing like the really sad ones about drugs and war, so this has been a little bit of a respite from all that.” When I asked him what the most fun part of making the show was, he said, “Seeing Charlet go from the weird girl who sat in the corner to become this really confident, great co-producer, presenter, eloquent…seeing her blossom.”
Charlet, the statuesque blonde who had previously only written for Vice (but tells us she has done “a bit” of modeling and acting), is more familiar with the fashion world we usually talk about. “I follow big fashion weeks like a fiend,” she tells us, but mostly wears vintage, mainly from the ’90s–Guess, Moschino, Versace, Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler are among her favorites–as she feels the high waist suits her slender body shape better. (At one point, during the full-figured fashion week episode, she hilariously says, “I don’t know if I’m going to be the only…empty-figured person there.”)
“I started with Vice because I wanted to write about fashion but my relationship with fashion didn’t really fit with any other fashion publications,” she explained. In Islamabad, Charlet does things like dress up in one designer’s Lady Gaga-inspired collection, talks to show attendees dressed in full burkas and goes to a house party that won’t allow cameras in, which she says was one of the most fun parts of the whole experience. “They fucking go hard out there. I think there’s so much pressure and there’s so much shit going down they just wanna have fun.” She also said a full-figured fashion week after party on a boat was “the best fashion party I’d ever been to.”
The most mind-blowing episode, which we only saw a trailer of, sounds like it will be Colombia Fashion Week. With the goal of exploring the rampant plastic surgery that takes place there, Charlet actually watches someone get a butt implant. And they show it.
If Fashion Week Internationale will clarify one thing, I think it will be that most of the fashion weeks outside of the big four are put on for very different reasons. While New York, London, Paris and Milan are primarily about getting press and making money, the fashion shows documented in the show appear to draw very little, if any, of either of those things. From what I could tell, they were more about having fun and providing an escape for people from the pressures of day-to-day life, whether that involves violence and oppression or being a marginalized portion of society.
The first episode airs next week right here. See below for the trailer and pics from the screening (yes, there is a real bear at Vice‘s offices).
**All photos by TK Stuart-Deely