This past week, the internet was rocked by the emergence of Susan Patton’s book, “Marry Smart”, wherein the doyenne of post divorce marriage advice lambasts females for drinking too much and wearing too much black, among other transgressions repugnant to men. In Ms. Patton’s humble opinion, the non-color black is instant man repeller material, and she warns that “anything that makes a woman look like she’s dressing like a man” is to be avoided. Patton goes on to admonish women for failing to wear makeup for the morning jog, and renders such bon mots as “you should dress with more sophistication” and “don’t leave your apartment unless you look so good that you’d be delighted to run into your ex-boyfriend.” Isn’t the point of all this advice to prevent any dude from becoming an ex-anything? Whatever.
In Patton’s opinion, the black wardrobe, that is de-rigueur armor for many NYC babes, is to be eschewed in favor of “chic, flirty frocks in bright welcoming colors”. If you want to nab that high-earner, that is. She warns that “very few people can pull off that black shirt/white suit with any aplomb”. Try telling that to Kate Moss and Angelina Jolie, two babes who know a thing or two about how to rock a men’s suit. Ms. Patton needs a time travel ticket back to the days of silly and emotional mothers like the fictional Mrs. Bennett, whose only concern for the future of her four daughters was the financial status of their husbands, not their personal fulfillment. That is not to say that a self respecting independent woman can’t feel just as powerful and in charge of her own life in a pretty frock with a full skirt. Just ask “Mad Men’s” Joan Holloway. And for that there is a new designer in town more than willing to help a girl out with her feminine man hunting gear.
Prajje Jr. Jean Baptiste, whose atelier, Prajje 1983, premiered at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week last month, with a FW14 presentation off-site at the Dimenna Center in Midtown, is a young designer, originally hailing from Haiti, who has brought the sexy back to colorful and feminine dresses. Prajje 1983’s designs reveal a tacit understanding that the sexiest aspect of a woman’s wardrobe is not color or cut, but money. A woman’s sartorial desirability is at its max if her gown or suit looks like it was paid for with a Palladium card.
Prajje 1983 is about old-world glamour and sophistication, and this young graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design is bringing it back to the fashion zeitgeist with no apologies. His designs are exactly what Ms. Patton has in mind when she encourages women to dress more feminine. His dresses are seductive, sensual, elegant and original. Cut-out backs, sheer blouses, peplums, fur stoles, gloves and long floral printed dresses mix with tailored suits and little black dresses in a way that is simultaneously modern and classic.
This year, Miami Fashion Week, which takes place in Miami Beach from May 15 to the 18th, will premiere the world’s first international platform for Cruise/Resort and Pre-Spring designer collections. Miami Fashion Week is known across the globe as the largest International and Latin American fashion event celebrating both Latin and general market fashion, beauty, music, art, culture and lifestyle. Miami Fashion Week features a crossover of international culture from designers, entertainers, and celebrities from around the world. Prajje 1983 has been invited to participate in this four day event, which is reserved for the best international designers in women’s wear; more than 200 international buyers will be attending, making it the opportunity of a lifetime for this emerging young designer and his developing brand.
The cost of a presentation at the tents at MBFW for a designer can start at $20,000, and often goes well past that, but the pay off can be beyond value. The world’s fashion press descends from all corners for fashion week, so the importance of any size presentation for a new designer, as well as a veteran, cannot be overstated. Prajje 1983 is a very young company, on the cusp of discovery, and the fact that he has been invited to show at MFW is a wonderful opportunity for his brand. The costs, not unexpectedly, are beyond his means at this time, and he has reached out for donations with his own fundraising effort through his company website and social media. He is offering the chance for donors to become a part of the continuing success story by contributing any amount to the cause, and dollars have already started to roll in. The link to the contribution page is at www.prajje1983.com.