Style Over Substance

A view of Omaha Fashion Week from the not-so-cheap seats.

As we drove back from the Fashion Week finale Saturday night, I tried to sum up what we just saw, what we just experienced. And I knew it would not be easy.

There’s this problem with writing about any event involving Omaha “creatives.” Unless you’re overflowing with love, adoration and affection, literally stumbling over yourself with pride while you toss bouquets at the feet of all involved, you’re looked upon as an asshole cretin, someone whose sole purpose is to tear down that which the selfless who put on the show are trying to build, all for the sake of “moving Omaha forward.”

But, I just can’t help myself...

The evening got off to a rocky start. Teresa had bought our $60 tickets months ago knowing that the event would likely sell out as it did the year prior. They were primo front-row seats, located at the end of the runway. Unorthodox I suppose, as most runway shows I’d seen didn’t have seating at the far end of the runway for the reason that would become painfully obvious as we were directed to our folding chairs. We sat down, looked up, and saw a wall of photographers’ asses as they adjusted their camera tripods a few feet in front of us. This would be our $60 per seat view for the evening. Enjoy!

Well, there’s one in every crowd, the a-hole who has to make a big snit about something, and this night that a-hole was me. I explained the situation to one of the gracious volunteers, who immediately saw that there was a problem. If you’re going to sell seats at the end of a runway, you have to put them up on risers so the buying public has a view over the working shooters, who are just trying to do their jobs.

I explained the problem to two more volunteers. It was already 8:15 -- the show was supposed to start at 8 and wouldn’t start for another 15 minutes. Someone ran off to get Nick Hudson, the event organizer. While all this was going on, I expected to be met with a wall of dagger eyes from those seated behind us. Instead, they were seething with rage as well. “We’ve got your back,” said one guy, who was met with a chorus of enthusiastic nods. If I was heading into battle, I would have an army of angry, well-dressed parents by my side.

In the end, it was much ado about nothing. Hudson apologized. The tripods went away. The photographers sat on their asses cross-legged, and order was restored. They even offered us front-row seats further up the runway, but by then Teresa had moved her chair to a different spot and wasn’t budging.

Okay, okay... but what about the actual fashion show?

Before I get into it, here’s a secret -- I love fashion, especially television fashion. I DVR every fashion reality show on Bravo and TLC, from Project Runway to The Fashion Show to What Not to Wear. I’ve even sat through entire episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, deeply frowning as a tearful bride wrongfully chose a mermaid silhouette over a tasteful A-line cut (Why do they always listen to their mothers?).

This steady televised diet of Tim Gunn and Isaac Mizrahi has turned me into a straight, Midwestern version of Michael Kors, but only in attitude and not with a scintilla of actual talent. It is with this snobby persona that I judged every dress and model walking down the runway, tapping my observations into my iPhone. Among them:

Saloon girl hooker costume.

Honey Boo Boo revisited.

Crystal-trimmed collars? Holiday on Ice.

Emaciated girl just learning how to walk on high heels.

Too much swimwear for a fall show.

Sweet Home Alabama? Of course, denim and burlap dresses.

Why can’t all models be this busty? Midwest thing.

Sweet smell of raw sewage.

Seen this before. Missoni for Target?

Modernized vintage = bedazzled flapper dresses.

Avant garde = bird costumes. Black Swan?

In most cases, what the designer was wearing looked better than what his or her models had on. The highlight was the Leggoons “bridal swimwear” (specifically the girls in stylized men's boxers) and whoever’s line showed second to last. I’d tell you the designer’s name except there were no programs, and we couldn’t make out the announcer’s squawk over the lousy PA.

By halftime I’d had too much Stella and was looking for a place to return it to the Omaha  sewer system. Unfortunately, there were only six porta-potties for the hundreds on hand, which meant Moses-and the-tribes-fleeing-from-Israel-length lines. We left the show and hustled up to Aroma’s, but fellow show-goers already had the same idea. The line for the women’s bathroom snaked past the pastry counter, but no one stood in line for the men’s. Ha ha!

We made it back just in time for the second half, the crowd now beginning to thin as tables of people would get up and leave after their designer daughter or their model daughter finished her walk.

“It is what it is,” I told Teresa as we drove up Dodge Street. Sure, it wasn't exactly Project Runway (We've been spoiled by these shows), but at least they were trying, and it will only get better. The fashion was fun, and for the most part everyone was having a good time. We'll be back next year, or as they say on TV, see you on the runway.

 

 

Over The Edge is a weekly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, the media and the arts. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.com.

posted at 07:58 am
on Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

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