Taking a slightly different approach to traditional fashion shows, a diverse group of male and female models posed as part of an exhibit modeled after the New Wave movement on Wednesday evening at the Staten Island Arts and Culture Lounge at the St. George Ferry Terminal.
The show, titled "New Wave Evolves to Couture," is part of New York Fashion Week, which starts today. It is based on the New Wave underground culture that started in the 1980s and continues today. The movement consists of artistic improvisation and subjective symbolism vis-à-vis experimental imagery.
The models posed in front of the "Passenger & Vessel," a site-specific, interactive installation by the Sperm Whale, an a pod of artists and programmers based in New York City. The installation forces the viewer to consider the relationship between passenger and vessel and how this relationship affects travel.
“We are exploring different ways to present and we are in a very high-profile social media time where a picture is very important, so we explore new concepts, new ways to play with light, integrate the light with the models and interact with a presentation that can be social media-friendly," said Victor Quinteros, a fashion producer and photographer, who produced the show.
The show featured a mix of Texan designers: Arefeh Mansouri, an award-winning American fashion and costume designer; Loren Franco, a Dallas-based designer; Benson Roberts, an Austin-based fashion designer and owner of TexStyles Designer Fabric Showroom; and Kimma Wreh, a Houston-based designer.
Angeline Gibson, owner of vintage store So Angeline on 580 Bay St. in Staten Island, came up with the style for the fashion show. Jarad Reed, Tamara Jay and Veronika Shurunova were responsible for the model’s hair and makeup.
After seeing the Metropolitan Museum of Art's spring 2013 Costume Institute exhibition, PUNK: Chaos to Couture, and subsequently remembering his appreciation of the New Wave movement, he was inspired to launch the “New Wave Evolves to Couture” show at Houston Fashion Week 2013. Quinteros, who is originally from Lima, Peru, lived in Texas for 15 years and has been living on Staten Island for two years, which made him realize that the borough deserved to be included in New York Fashion Week.
“This year is very special because the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, all the boroughs are doing something special for Fashion Week and I live in Staten Island,” Quinteros. “I’m a resident here, and I say, ‘Well, I work in New York Fashion Week. Why not incorporate Staten Island into this movement?’”
The models were given freedom to feel the moment and experiment with themselves, conveying an expression of indifference but still being communicative with the audience. Fifteen-year-old Catherine Kousis of Astoria, who is half-Colombian and half-Greek, modeled for the first time as part of the show. She said she appreciated the unconventional form of modeling.
“You have to see what you’re wearing and just feel it,” Kousis said. They don’t tell us how to pose.”
Akosua Afiriyie-Hwedie, 25, of Astoria, who is half-Ghanaian, half-Zambian and raised in Botswana, said she enjoyed being a “standing piece of art.”
“It was interesting to see the random people coming by, who were looking on, kind of confused and then somewhat interested and then enthused,” Afiriyie-Hwedie said.
For Quinteros, the diversity of the models — a mixture of African, African-American, Hispanic, European and American models — only further contributed to the authentic nature of the show.
“I’m so excited to put my identification with this movement and also collaborate in the process, presenting the beauty of the models as they come to me," he added. "That spectrum makes it look very colorful and beautiful.”