I attended the much talked about Island of the World Fashion show the week it was in town at the Sheraton Ballroom. As a rule I decided not to attend anymore fashion shows at least in the Caribbean. Why you might ask? Well why spend money to see someone’s idea of fashion paraded on stage by someone who thinks they are a model in someone’s lame idea of a show? But as fate would have it I broke my rule and attended. There were 2 prices $40 and $75 VIP. I asked the young woman what’s the difference? VIP gives you a closer seat to the run way and other nice things. So silly me I bought the VIP ticket and it was there that the drama began!
1. Show to start at 8pm but at 8pm doors were not open as yet.
2. $75 did not give you a complimentary drink. Had to purchase at the bar.
3. At 8:20pm when they decided to open the door to seat VIP ticket holders were in the same entrance line as the $40. No separate entrance.
4. Once inside you got your dog collar and was ‘escorted’ to your seat. But the only difference in the $75 seat and the $40 seat was the VIP was seated on Resin Chiavari chairs the others were on banquet chairs…Whoopie !!
I realized that the ‘producers’ first problem was a simple thing always overlooked known as the Front of House management. The show actually started at 8:40pm and realizing that the coveted VIP seats were not filled the producer of the show invited the $40 persons to sit in the $75 section. i guess to FILL the seats! Problem number 2 – they just devalued the most important seat in the house by offering freebies to the masses. Under normal crowd rules and mass objection to that move a riot could have started.
The stage was simple, left and right LCD projection screens with a horribly drapery center stage and around the room. So much for production value. Good lighting and music however filed the room.
The dancers opened the show with much pizzas and costumes that could have been better presented and set the tone of the show with color and energy but alas the fashions were far from the imagery of the dancers and you felt like you were watching a fall collection at NY fashion week.
Our Caribbean designers suffer not from ideas or creativity but from access to quality fabric to produce their garments. It was depressing to see model after model parading monochromatic colors after colors – black, brown, beige, straw, leather, white, black did i say Black already?You get the picture. Most ideas were very good. They just lacked the finish to inspire you to go and buy!
The male fashions left much to be desired. Again nothing designed for the guys to wear so they were restricted to underwear most of the time. Again nothing for you to go out and buy the next day or right after the show. Even the women got bored after seeing the guys in underwear again and again and again! One good aspect of the show was they included full-figured models on stage to show the real person how she would look in the garments. THAT was a big plus to the production!
I could go on but you will probably be bored reading this blog as I was watching the show. My final thoughts:
1. Front of house is important in a high profiled production as the IWFS. Pay attention to it- create your FOH staff just to focus on FOH. Treat your VIP like VIPs It was a rip off just to pay for the production. And NEVER devalue your VIP status by allowing the lower paying customers in the VIP area! sacrilege!
2. A fashion show is more than a skinny model coming down the runway showing you a designers sewing talent. That was the 80s. Fashion now set style, set trends, it tells you what is wearing now and what you will look like if you step outside of your fashion box. That did not happen.
3. Don’t clutter the stage with unnecessary props. The entire night I was hoping someone would use the 2 lifeguard chairs on the stage. No one did.
4. Get rid of the drapery and place your imagery of the show as the backdrop. The imagery to the sides were wasted and did not give the designer much highlight and copyright for the onstage production.
5 Create a VIP seating area and offer servers with drinks, have a meet and greet with designers and models after the show for VIP, make them feel that the $75 was well spent!
6. Get fashion for men. Men actually spend on fashion more decisively than women. They see it they like it they buy it. Women has to go through the BFF committee to decide if the outfit ‘fits’ and that usually takes 5 or more fittings of different outfits!
7. START ON TIME. Nothing devalues a production more than a late start for any reason. It’s like a culture in the islands that it must start late because we are islanders! Bullshit! 8pm means 8pm in any language and on any time piece.
I broke my rules and paid the consequences. Will i go back to another fashion show? Maybe not but I do believe in third chances. But that chance is valuable. Third time is a charm. And charm me they must!