austin fashion week
Earth, wind and fire on the runway: Elements of Avant Garde at Haven
Chaos was the keyword backstage at the Austin Fashion Week Elements of Avant Garde show Friday night. Stylists busily transformed models into animals and elements while workers busily finalized the venue. The show took place at Haven Lounge (located next to Frank on Colorado Street) and also doubled as the lounge's grand opening. Paintings were hung and furniture rolled into place just in time to welcome VIP guests to the event.
The evening began with a less-chaotic hour of mingling, drinking and photo ops before guests could peek behind the elusive black curtain. Butterfly Entertainment's Brianna Fleet opened the show with a video of Austin hair stylist Ivy Kim's signature avant garde work. After the video, Kim performed two styling demonstrations on models that would walk in the show later that evening. During the demos, which took place in one corner of the runway, dancers were added for depth, but ultimately distracted from Kim's live work.
With the demonstrations complete, the runway show started with four male models representing animals and elements. After their collective final walk, the women hit the stage. Kind of. Given their intricate hair styles, and apparently ill-fitting shoes, the walking was slow, often uncoordinated and more about balancing than strutting. These little bobbles were unfortunately overshadowing of the hair creations, at least at first.
Once the models got a better grip on the runway (with the help of male models serving as escorts) Ivy Kim's avant garde styles shifted back into focus. Her work, inspired by the elements, was impressive in its intricacy, size and creativity.
Despite some clear missteps in production, the show resonated with guests (many of whom were hair stylists or supporters of the models) and showcased a unique talent that can be otherwise overlooked during a week where anticipated collections from signature designers take center stage.