OPINION: The “Master Piece” Fashion Experience

With the help of numerous social media platforms, users often channel an identity other than their own. During the 2015 Haute Couture Show in Paris, Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf used broken picture frames and draped them over models as they walked the runway. Just as Miranda Priestly said in The Devil Wears Prada, “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.” In the case of The “Master Piece” Fashion Experience, “[Combining art and fashion]? Groundbreaking.”

Embracing fashion as an art form is not anything new to the global industry. Quite frankly, the narrative is one that has been told time and time again.

Social Graces Social Club hosted The “Master Piece” Fashion Experience which benefited the Arthritis Foundation. The backdrop for the evening was Silver Street Studios – an art gallery featuring stark white walls which became lost in translation amongst the showcasing artists.

“[We aim to] take the fashion world and incorporate different elements, different worlds,” said Manuel Candia, the show’s producer.

Big shoes to fill if you ask us!

“[…] the idea is to create themed fashion shows to elevate the fashion shows to the point of creating an experience,” Candia explained.

Using a bold statement such as “creating an experience” to describe how an organization is trying something ‘new,’ in this case, combining fashion and art, painting models’ faces and having a select few carry empty frames down the runway does not ensure you, the organization, are creating an experience.

Candia also told STRUTitup he and his team wanted to “break away from traditional fashion shows and show guests something different.”

At the core, fashion shows connect emerging and established designers with audiences – buyers, media, consumers – to tell a story, bring emotion and hopefully leave all attendees with a memorable impression.

The When Worlds Collide Productions team made assumptions about the audience:

(1) Long runways are impressive even though on the surface, the purpose is unclear.

(2) Having a host read designers’ resumes before models walk the runway will engage the audience.

(3) Bringing in talent from another city rather than invite the hundreds of Houston-based designers and brands to participate.

The solution?

Host a runway show at an art gallery, combine art on a blank canvas (the walls) with models’ faces acting as another canvas ultimately taking away from the reason why an audience attends runway shows — to view the designs.

The opportunities for designing unique, never seen before experiences intended for the specific groups in the local fashion community are endless, but the “hype” needs to match up to the overall execution.

With a background in marketing, Candia said he likes to create and produce different experiences.

“Fashion designers choose to be part of my shows because they want something different. Guests come to my shows expecting something different as well,” he stated.

I left Silver Street Studios asking ourselves this question: “What was different about this show?”