The lavish Park Plaza Hotel was rank with old Hollywood glamour Friday night as Gen Art presented “The New Garde 2006.” Three emerging designers — Christina Scarbo from Kit Pistol, Hajnalka Mandula of Mandula and Suzy Yun of Unhee — created stage installations with live-model vignettes in different locations around the hotel as the fashion-hungry slinked up and down the grand staircase, waltzed around the ballroom, and cast their eyes up toward the carved-wood ceilings.
At 9 p.m., each stage came to life. We were in the ballroom, staring at Mandula’s giant cocoon of twigs and paper, which looked vaguely like an egg from Alien. Suddenly, models crawled out, wearing shredded tops and bottoms in varying shades of gray — call it “refugee chic,” or maybe it’s more “orphan glam.” One model emerged from the cocoon bug-eyed and full of wonder, as if she had landed on another planet; she really inhabited the installation. The others annoyingly made model-posey faces that said, “Aren’t I pretty when I look at you like this?”
We were so annoyed that we moved to the next room, where Unhee’s giant pirate ship held models in silk jumpers with billowy pirate sleeves. I liked the clothes here best of all, hot little ’60s-esque numbers, but the opportunity for real drama was lost on the boring models, who made halfhearted attempts to re-enact plank walking, deck swabbing and other swashbuckling activities.
Downstairs, Kit Pistol’s Day-Glo set featured AstroTurf, a park bench and a children’s swing set painted fluorescent yellow. Some models chased each other, squirting water guns; others sucked on bright-colored Popsicles or jumped rope. One pushed her Barbie on a swing. It was the most fun installation to watch, though I felt a little pervy to think it was as hot as I did. But it was hot. I liked the flirty ’50s-style skirts with polka dots and the shapely dresses. It kind of summed up what fashion is all about — fun.