Punk-rock, West Coast style accents NFW ready-to-wear fashion show

“Ten minutes to the track,” comes the announcement over the loudspeaker, interrupting the indescribable house music blaring at BMI, a stone’s throw from Music Circle. We all take our seats, iPhones ready to capture every glitzy frame at the Nashville Fashion Week designers’ ready-to-wear show.

This marks the seventh year of Fashion Week in Music City, and organizers have gone the extra mile to highlight the music industry’s relationship with fashion, and vice versa. Holding the event indoors at BMI, as opposed to last year’s outdoor track at Legislative Plaza, was a definite sacrifice in scenery. But the loss of aesthetic appeal was compensated by comfort. (I remember shivering in my woolen trench coat last year.) And thankfully the lackluster ensemble didn’t diminish the work of the designers.

Fauxgerty opened the ready-to-wear portion of fashion week with a non-traditional (i.e. non-leather) version of the leather jacket. Decked out in band tees and high-waisted pants, the models paraded down the runway in homage to rock music and West Coast style. Fauxgerty this season is a retro appeal to groupies and rock ‘n’ roll aficionados. He was badass and worked hard to let us know. (Check out my brief interview with Chrissy Fogerty before the show.)

This year, Shea Steele, Michael Drummond and Lagi Nadeau focus on texture and silhouette. Lagi Nadeau’s British-inspired collection featured a burgundy striped, square-shouldered collarless car coat and lots of metallic pieces reminiscent of Burberry trench coats from a few years ago, but with the sobriety of an autumn-winter collection. .

Nadeau’s show aimed for a modern London-chic aesthetic: strong shoulders, straight pants and velvety sweater dresses with an almost minimalist elegance. And she succeeded wonderfully. She evokes power and femininity in the designs, and the clothes are simply stunning.

Michael Drummond (Project Runway Season 8) was the undisputed star of the evening. The Missouri designer’s ready-to-wear collection included harem pants (Sorry, Bieber. They were salvaged.), black lace and floral-patterned sweaters — pieces that are as playful as they are daring.

The collection appears to be punk-rock inspired. There’s lots of black leather and an almost uncomfortable clash between the different fabrics, each vying for attention. Several of the dresses look like they’ve been torn. And they are long and decidedly sexy.

The outlier of the collection — I’d say ‘black sheep’, but that might fit the theme better — was a silver off-the-shoulder top paired with red velvet harem pants. The model walks elegantly down the catwalk, a hundred envious eyes trained on her, pausing to pose twice before turning around as if fully aware of her uniqueness.

The signature piece, a flowing black kimono with a pale pink dress screen-printed on the back, is indicative of what Drummond is trying to achieve. Her clothes refer to past decades, even centuries, but remain firmly rooted in the 21st century. He is not someone who simply reappropriates, but rather someone who reinvents – a hallmark of a great designer.

Then came menswear. Canadian designer Patrick Assaraf presented his line of ready-to-wear basics. A long parade of handsome men wearing sweaters, hoodies, jeans and tight-fitting t-shirts in black and navy blue paraded down the runway. Gray T-shirts and blue coats clung to muscular bodies. “Typical ready-to-wear,” commented a blogger close to me with an exaggerated look.

It certainly wasn’t the most exciting moment of the night – I guess not everything can be dazzling.

Top photos (from left):

Michael Drummond, photo by Alaina K. Mullin

Lagi Nadeau, photo by Alaina K. Mullin

Michael Drummond, photo by Alaina K. Mullin

Photo below: Fauxgerty, photo by Doug Barry

Diana J. Carleton