Everyone who’s anyone was at Mohawk Friday night, where Austinites huddled around the illuminated catwalk at Fashion Freakout 4. Crowd members dawned their most fashionable ensembles they could scrounge up for the annual event. I couldn’t turn my head without spotting some sort of fur coat, vest or hat dripping in extravagance. To quote the show’s host Matt Bearden, “There’s only one reason for coming tonight—to judge other women.” Then again, how well can you trust a guy in a penguin suit?
Local boutiques Laced With Romance, New Bohemia and Prototype Vintage Design each treated the packed audience to two vintage fashion collections chock-full of glam and attitude. The crowd silenced to watch model after model strut down the runway in barely-there getups. First up: Laced with Romance. Sheer fabric, wide-brim feathered hats and lace-up boots strung together each look of the opening collection. The models, women and men alike, rocked long, straight hair parted in the middle reminiscent of the ’60s era. Floral patterns and bangles continued the retro feel.
Next came a quick transition welcoming New Bohemia to the stage. New Bohemia’s models took charge of the runway and weren’t afraid to have a good time as they strut their stuff. The same colorful attitude reined true for the designs. The models transformed into actors as each took on the role demanded of their ensemble. Girls adorned in black sequins and feathers pumped up the sass, while guys in structured suits seemed rather sophisticated. Amidst several young, striking models came the crowd favorite. Picture a seasoned, yet highly fashionable, cowboy shuffling down the catwalk. The crowd ate it up.
Music blared and confetti shot across overhead as Prototype’s collection charged in. Was this a party or a fashion show? The models’ breath visible in the spotlight reminded audience members of the bitter cold they were distracted from. Each look from Prototype screamed, “Look at me,” and each model seemed to fight for the limelight, rocking the stage a moment longer than the others. A tiny faux fox draped over the shoulder of one model in a floor-grazing gown. They worked it.
Perhaps to offset the high fashion being thrown at us for the past hour, Gary Glitter cover band “Leaders of the Gang” took the stage at intermission. The show was more uncomfortable than anything else, but entertaining nonetheless. It was difficult for audience members to tear their eyes away from the man. His plastered Elvis-style hairdo couldn’t detract from his silver sequined cape with matching pants held up by packaging tape. No joke.
Back to the show. Laced with Romance though impressive, kept low-key in their first collection. Add chained masks, props and animalistic headpieces, and you’ve got collection number two. If the top fashion designers were to take on a Goth-inspired costume collection, it may look something close to this. Eves glued, all watched look after look in fascination. They still held true to their lace-up boots and feathered hats, but intensified their looks in every way.
We got a glimpse of New Bohemia’s dream wedding in their second run. Bubbles drifted through the air while pink, black, white and nude fabrics overtook the catwalk. The outfits evoked the cute and retro feeling of the 1950s—men sporting structured suits that revealed bubblegum pink socks, women in tapered dresses. Assuming their roles once more, a bride and groom concluded New Bohemia’s showcase with a couple’s first kiss.
Prototype returned with vengeance. Ranging from long, flowing purple gowns to a daringly skimpy, yet somehow acceptable, LBD. The ferocity had only intensified since an hour before, but each draping dress was chic and glamorous in its own way. Prototype left the crowd craving more, but as the cold set in, it was back to reality…. Until the next freakout.
(Fashion Freakout Four took place on February 4, 2011 at Mohawk)