By Daniel William McKnight
Twice a year Fashion week transforms New York into an Adderall fueled cesspool of chiffon and silk. Hotel prices averaging in a single night what many New Yorkers pay per month along side the knowledge that after a heavy night of drinking the likelihood of catching a cab home will be, well, zero. Like locusts to a harvest the city is consumed by the great greedy hoard of the fashionista.
Like many long time residents of New York Alexandra Lynn finds that The Mercedes Benz fashion week offers very little substance to the city, “Fashionistas will trumpet it as high art, a celebration of cultivated culture,” says Lynn who grew up in NYC’s West Village and well indoctrinated into the bi-annual scene, “fashion week feels more like a showcase of next years Wal-Mart knock off line.”
However, buried within the dense consumerism of fashion week is hip-hop artist Genesis Be. Moving to New York to attend NYU’s Clive Davis Institute she spent the last 10 years writing music, promoting new acts at clubs around the city, and producing art. In the eye of New York Fashion Week’s storm at The Breslin’s Liberty Hall, Be held the second installment of her show “Canvas Couture.” Personally curating the show Genesis blends hip-hop, fashion, and visual art to create an experience for everyone in attendance, “I micro manage the whole event. The designers kind of do their own thing; they bring in what models they want. But I book the designers, I book the visual artists, I book the DJ’s, “ says Be as a contingency of makeup artists including Flynn Marie Pyykkonen, Juli Akaneya, and Raquel J work their magic behind us, “I’m very particular with who I bring together. I need to make sure their styles mesh. The curation of the event is something that I take a lot of pride in.”
With showcases from UnCutt Art, Renee Xo Rs, and performances by L.J., Young Planet and DJ Petra Be was able to add depth to fashion shows rife with what should now be predictable drama. Unlike many NYC runway shows, those in attendance were part of the action. As Lauren Stucky’s collection paraded its way through a mob of gawkers they also admired the designs of NÜN NYC and PLAGUEspace. An eclectic collection of talent and performance that seems to have become lost in the increasing glitz of over produced fashion shows. When asked about what opportunities lie ahead for her and if she saw potential to host larger shows, “I’m not knowledgeable about fashion week or fashion, honestly. I just know a lot of people who are. I think the timing of Ken Friedman asking me to become an events coordinator is kind of like the universe speaking. I’m not sure why it’s working out but I know it is and I’m grateful for it,” Be admitted.
With the possibility of more events like Canvas Couture, even to the battle hardened New Yorkers like Lynn, there may be a bit of hope in the fashion world, “Newer independent curators and designers can take advantage of the fan fare and textile arts to create events that seemingly have a bit more substance.”
In the end, for Genesis, it began as a way to express what she loves and that makes all the difference, “I started Canvas Couture to reconcile my own personal interests, to fit it all in one space. Music, art, fashion make me the happiest. It’s an intimate fantasy come to life.”