Bleached performing “Think Of You” at the Chloë Sevigny For Opening Ceremony Autumn/Winter 2013 Presentation.
The last time I was at St. Marks Church-In-The-Bowery, it was to see some of the most legendary poets of the last century read the work of the late New York School poet Ted Berrigan. From Alice Notley to Jim Carroll (you may remember Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Carroll in The Basketball Diaries), some of the greatest New York Poets of the last 50 years were there. What I’m trying to say is, St. Mark’s Church has some serious history, which is why the fact that Chloë Sevigny chose to have her Opening Ceremony autumn/winter 2013 presentation there today is so significant. One of the city’s most famous children, Chloë Sevigny is an East Village girl to the last, and choosing to have her presentation on the same hallowed ground where Patti Smith first performed is a statement that she understands and is contributing to her city’s history. That she also cast her presentation with some of the most influential female musicians alive today also speaks to her desire to do something unlike the usual runway show + live band scenario that we’re used to seeing at New York Fashion Week. Kim Gordon, playing with DNA’s Ikue Mori, played alongside newcomers Bleached, an all-girl California valley girl surf rock band; Lizzi Bougatsos’ I.U.D., a two-girl drum project; Lissy Trullie’s band, Thinner; and Light Asylum’s Shannon Funchess playing with Rafael Radna. When i first heard about this musicians-as-models-as-performers concept, I was really excited to see how Sevigny was planning to pull it off, and I was not expecting what she came up with. The bands were arranged around the church on five stages, and played in a round robin style in the shape of a pentagram, at least according to Bleached lead singer and guitarist Jennifer Clavin, who we chatted with after the presentation. The theme of rebellion permeated the collection in both nuanced and overt ways, the most obvious of marker of which were the signs that two models on each of the stages were holding up. Clavin explained that each band had been given the signs the day before and were asked to decorate them. The result was a mixture of band names, song titles, and obscene non sequiturs encircling the room, lending the whole undertaking a slightly bent vibe. The collection, on the other hand, is straight forward and wearable, with 60’s and 70’s silhouettes that looked right at home on the go-go dancing models in the middle of the room, but would also look completely right on a regular, albeit fashionable, girl walking down and East Village street.
Models at the Chloë Sevigny For Opening Ceremony Autumn/Winter 2013 Presentation.
You would think that a presentation as involved as this might overshadow the collection itself, but strangely the whole thing just highlighted the old is new again vibe of the collection. Also striking was the fact that Sevigny herself stood on stage with the other models, wearing the a navy mock turtleneck that further investigation of the show credits revealed is actually a onesie, a calf-length, leather-look skirt made of black coated material, and a pair of black and white patent leather chelsea boots. She stood, arms crossed, on the platform where the altar would be, looking over the proceedings like a general. The rest of the collection consisted of a lot of mod silhouettes, from babydoll dresses in gingham to sailor front trousers and bell coats. You could see the models taking off running at any moment, a well-heeled version of the Paris student riots. The mule is clearly having a moment this fashion week (see also Alexander Wang), and Sevigny’s patent flatform clogs were a striking and modern departure from the very vintage feel of the rest of the collection. Also represented, although minimally, was Sevigny’s men’s line, a reinterpretation of Vision Street Wear.
Another high point for the collection is really in the details. Rarely is hosiery one of the most interesting things at a presentation, but Sevigny has included in her line a collaboration with Emilio Cavallini to create unique bodywear, incorporating prints, strong lines, and subtle designs. The devil is really in the details, and this collection was full of little surprises. Weird touches, like pins in the shape of the ankh, the Eye of Horus, or even twin cherries adorned collars and lapels, and surprising colors and patterns like baby blue and pink gingham kept the classic silhouettes feeling fresh.
Don’t take our word for it though. We caught up with sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin of Bleached after the presentation, and they gave us their take on the whole experience. Watch below.