Fashion Week 3.1 Phillip Lim_Moynihan Station_Penn Station
Before the 3.1 Phillip Lim Fashion Week Show inside Moynihan StationWith all the negative press surrounding Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week this year (designers not showing, the commercialization of the experience, the questionable return on investment for labels, the over-saturation of events), off-site fashion shows can still offer a glimpse of an earlier era. They can also provide designers with greater creative license on the show environment, which can be more difficult to come by in the standardized tents at Lincoln Center. This option provides a middle-ground, with shows transforming from an industry event for buyers and media to celebrity-studded, commercial events.

Yesterday, we attended the 3.1 Phillip Lim show in the historic and landmarked Moynihan Station, the Post Office across from Penn Station. Although many of the shows from the tents at Fashion Week are live streaming this year, the mystique of the fashion show continues. The crowd has changed somewhat, however. Racked’s description was apt, applicable to the scene outside 3.1 Phillip Lim yesterday. Kerry Folan writes, “Personal style bloggers now mingle with industry veterans. Old-fashioned brands embrace social media. Outrageously dressed street style stars and celebrities get as much attention as designers.” Although I worked in the fashion industry for many years as a buyer for Calvin Klein and other brands (with a stint at Fashion Week in 2003), I attended the show yesterday purely because a friend is a designer for the 3.1 Phillip Lim women’s line, and because of my architectural interest in Moynihan Station.

The walkway into the show
The walkway into the show

Bloggers and photographers were snapping away at the entrance, but I didn’t recognize anybody out there except for the daughter from the show Homeland, Dana Brody, all dolled up (and looking great). My photograph was taken about a dozen times, including by InStyle. My clothes are not “hot off the runway,” but timeless pieces from French brands mixed with things from my closet circa 1996.

Photographers on the runway before the show
Photographers on the runway before the show begins

All of this cacophony was overshadowed by the space of the 3.1 Phillip Lim show itself, in the James A. Farley Post Office Building (also known as the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Station). Instead of using the classic Beaux-Arts interior, the show took place in the industrial space of the building. Factory-style skylights let in natural light, concrete columns painted over in gray supported the ceiling. The models emerged from temporary spotlights and made their way around the columns. Water was spread all over the floors to enhance the “urban” feel (to the chagrin of the shoe designers, whose shoes came back splotchy).

My fashion buyer days are over, so I won’t comment too much about the style, except that the collection looked impossibly cool and very commercial at the same time. I hoped with these photographs to capture the ethereal, digital quality of the models rising from the gray, urban landscape inside Moynihan Station, instead of focusing on the clothing itself. Let me know what you think!

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.