ThreeAsFour Gives Presentations a Bad Rap

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ThreeAsFour, fall 2009. Photo: Imaxtree

Presentations are supposed to be these wonderful things that save designers money, and showgoers time and patience. We're supposed to drift in and out at our leisure, unencumbered by seating assignments and waiting for God knows what backstage. However, after James Coviello's presentation yesterday morning and ThreeAsFour's last night, we're longing for the economy to heal and bring good ol' fashion shows back.

We arrived promptly at 7 to ThreeAsFour's presentation in a gallery space in West Chelsea last night and were instructed to wait by a freight elevator as photographers rode up to the show. The PR rep said it wasn't a presentation so much as "something theatrical." A model arriving late was told she must wait for the elevator since there were no stairs in the building. Noting that if this were indeed the case and we'd easily die if a fire broke out up there, the theatrical bit intrigued us, so we waited. Finally we were let up the freight elevator, funneled along with the crowd through two dark rooms, and stopped in the second by a slight, young brown-haired man. We never understood the propensity of frustrated drivers to stick their heads out the window and scream at traffic, but after 25 minutes of standing there, our inner diva was growing restless and we had to restrain ourselves. The crowd grew increasingly antsy, yet no one spearheaded the running of the skinny-boy gatekeeper, who stood no chance against hundreds of people already annoyed at having to travel west of Tenth Avenue.

At 7:30 we were finally admitted and saw what took so long to set up: Models pretending to slowly trim bonsai trees sitting atop mirrored pedestals. The music consisted of a D.J. pointing a microphone at a speaker producing that inimitable screeching sound (perhaps she lost her humpback-whale CD). We couldn't see the clothes behind the crush of people and beelined to the exit elevator, which wasn't operating. "I feel like I'm in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," a perturbed showgoer said. Yeah, that or prison. No relief could be found in alcohol because, alas, there was no liquor sponsor. Finally we got out, walking past hundreds of people waiting to get in. We warned them to turn back. Or at least fashion some earplugs while they waited.

See the ThreeAsFour collection.