There are tons of moms who work in the fashion industry, but none of them were at “The MOMS” fashion show–which is now in its third season–at Lincoln Center last night. And that’s kind of the whole point.
Well, almost no fashion moms. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a founder of the event and the hyper organized woman behind the fashion circus that is Lincoln Center’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, was there. She helped The MOMS founders, Denise Albert and Melissa Musen Gerstein, launch the fashion show after these “mompreneurs,” who have basically made being a mom into a commercial enterprise (check out their website), came to her for help. “For me and Melissa, this is all about two moms who aren’t in the fashion industry. We had this idea and it’s evolved into a fashion show at Lincoln Center,” Albert–who was decked out in leather skinnies, big hair, and a sequined jacket with matching glitter eye shadow–told me backstage. “[Stephanie] was so instrumental in making it happen. We are here because of her. She’s also a very hard-working mom.”
So what’s the point of the show? Every mom who walked ostensibly did so to highlight a charity of her choice. Moms of all sizes, ages, and ethnicities walked, from your everyday moms-next-door to glam mommies like Amar’e Stoudamire’s wife, Alexis (who is stunning). But the real reason for the show was to sell stuff.
Now, that’s basically the point of every runway show–to sell clothes and accessories. And all shows have prominently advertised beauty sponsors. But instead of MAC and Redken, Cottonelle (makers of toilet paper products) and Whirlpool sponsored this show. Because, you know, moms do all the ass-wiping and laundry in the family. The branding was everywhere, to the point of distraction. But I’m grateful to Cottonelle for the comfy seat cushion they provided. I’m totally bringing it to the Tory Burch show that I’m covering on Tuesday. Tory will understand. She’s a mom.
I should probably note that I am also a mom. And so-called “mommy blogs” tend to make me cringe. Yes, being a mother is the most important job I have, and it takes priority over everything else in my life. I’ve given up career opportunities and perky boobs because of my kids. But I don’t consider it a badge of honor, or consider myself special or different. But any time an event encourages moms to take off their Lululemons (this is an epidemic problem in my Upper West Side neighborhood), I’m all for it.
I hung around backstage and it was a bit different from my usual backstage experiences. First of all, there were children and nannies everywhere, which made for some interesting drama. “Who’s your mom? What’s your mom’s name?” one PR girl said in a mildly panicked voice to a little girl of about four or five. (Not so different from what I saw at Alexander Wang backstage yesterday actually: “Joan! WHERE’S JOAN? We need her, it’s first looks!”)
I chatted up one mom model, Latham Thomas, 33, who’s been in the show since its inception, and whose son, ten-year-old Fulano, was DJ’ing the show (amazing). Thomas is a Cool Mom. Cool Moms are like It-Girls: It’s impossible to put your finger on why, but you know immediately when you’re in the presence of one. I asked her for advice. “The things that happen throughout your day reflect the choices you make when you first get up in the morning. Like super heroes–they don’t go save the day in their civilian clothes. They have an outfit!” Thomas told me. “I think that as moms, we need to put on what our power look is going to be and take over the world like that.” I should point out that she was wearing vintage Pucci sunglasses. Thomas also said to me, “My son says clothes give you power.” Hmm. My son usually says to me, “Why do I need to wear a shirt with a collar on it? I don’t want to look NICE!”
Once the show started, it was a lot like the Heart’s Truth show. Lots of strutting, dancing, hollering, and applause. The children were adorable. DJ Fulano played “Blurred Lines.” The audience brought out their best sequined looks, and I even saw a pink tulle dress straight out of the Sex and the City opening credits. The models were outfitted by Bloomingdale’s and some small designers–but the clothes were definitely beside the point.
It was all about the branding. Some of the models were “brand ambassadors.” One, the Whirlpool ambassador, looked like a mousey librarian in the show brochure, but when she came out on the runway, she was a total glamazon. “Wow, I’m gonna start using Whirlpool,” said my mom friend who came along as my plus one. One particularly awful brochure blurb (for the Vaseline Spray & Go ambassador) read, “Wearing skinny jeans and a silk blouse by Bloomingdale’s, which she was quickly able to get into after moisturizing with Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer.” I wonder if the dominatrix industry knows about this product. Perfect for latex probably.
Click through to see some pictures from the show.