The warm anticipation filled the air. Hansol, my photographer, expressed her disappointment in the lack of A/C and I, wiping the sweat off my forehead, agreed. However, as the minutes passed there was an acquired sense of coolness. It wasn’t resulting from any sort of breeze but from the hip sophistication that buzzed around us like moths around light fixtures. The music was bouncy, electric and definitely ’90s. There was a Grandma’s attic feel to the space with different chairs and couches lining the runways as seats for the guests. Alysse Dalessandro explained that when Benjamin Bradshaw (of Sisterman) was looking for the space he wanted it to be “homey. So how perfect to have a couch and to have [a] hodge-podge of chairs!”
The audience provided a mélange of the androgynous character and it all mirrored early Pedro Almodovar film. The DIY sensibility and defiant mood totally resonated with the Pepi, Luci, Bom crowd, albeit significantly less crude than the movie but nonetheless as inventive as the time it represented.
The look of pride on Alysse’s mother face was definitely a highlight of the evening. She told me that one of the goals on Alysse’s proverbial bucket list was to own and operate a vintage store. Look at her now. She was so grateful that Gozamos was there to cover her daughter’s event that she insisted on buying Hansol and I a glass of wine, even though I already had one in hand.
Before the show, I talked to Alysse and Ben about what exactly I should prepare myself for. Alysse told me it was the first fashion show that The Sometimes Store, The Gaudy God and Sisterman had put on. She wore a black shirt that she “decided was a dress” because she was short enough, with a black vintage hat with veil, and gravity-defying seven inch nude heels. She also expressed to me that the idea for the minimalist neutral look was something that came from observation. “It was just something that we [kept] noticing, [what] we were wearing personally and [that] also kept showing up at our store so we were all noticing this trend; of the nude and black and all these different things. [We] were seeing it and then we envision a show called ‘Maximalism’ which is taking minimalism to the max.”
However, don’t start to yawn yet. She also mentioned that in conjunction with your basic whites, blacks, and nudes, some patterns were also thrown into the mix. “There’s patterns: there’s polka dots, there’s leather, there’s lace. [It’s] under-garments as outer wear, it’s kind of a real mix of neutrals but, again, to the max.” It was more of a deconstruction of the neutral joined with minimalism. The styled outfits had simple tones and patterns. The lack of loud colors allowed you to focus on the architecture of the outfit, what was being said with the silhouette, and how it all came together in a very sleek and clean fashion. Alysse also stated that many of the vintage items were donated by the mother’s themselves.
Sisterman’s obviously busy benefactor Ben found time to sit down with me and answer a few questions pre-show. As always, his transparent thick rimmed spectacles and slicked back dirty blonde hair gave him a Warholian vibe. I asked him to tell me a bit about what he was wearing and he stipulated the he “wanted to wear all black“ which is, in fact, his aesthetic. “All of my stuff [in the show] is black. I don’t have any nude and I don’t have any white.” He also noted that his fringe midriff top was actually being worn backwards in order to get a glimpse of the top’s caption: ‘J.Lo.’ “This is actually new, the funny thing is is that I‘m not wearing vintage today,” which he said was not “an oversight.” He also wore black boots and accessorized with an embellished cross.
“A lot of our stuff isn’t meant to look like you’re wearing vintage, it’s just meant to look like you’re cute or you’re different or you have [a] unique aesthetic,” Ben explained. He went on to describe the fashion show we were about to see as “outrageously subtle.” “You’re seeing, basically, one or two colors the entire time but you’re seeing it in sheer and in mesh and [in] weird cuts and different waistlines.”
I asked him if he was excited about the evening and he answered with an emphatic “Of course! We’ve been spending the last month getting ready for this, we have all of our friends and family riled together helping us. We wondering if there was going to be anyone in the audience!”
I’d ask you to not be a stranger, but do be stranger as always. . . but this isn’t over yet. Next comes the after party and an interview with Kirsten Kilponen, the second half of The Sometimes Store and Matt Kasin of The Gaudy God.