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October 16, 2008 at 12:00:06am

YEONG MIN KIM The Badger Herald

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London style flies to capital If you aren’t one of society’s darlings or the wildly privileged, chances are you weren’t jet-setting around London, Milan and New York this February to witness the raging tartan fever that swept the Fall 2008 pr?t-?-porter runways. Were it not for zealous fashion bloggers and the ever-reliable YouTube, keeping up with the exclusive and esoteric fashion world would have proven to be a rather daunting task for local fashionistas who don’t have the cash, celebrity or connections to set foot in the white tents of Bryant Park. Fashion Fridays, however, seeks to remedy the fashion industry’s inherent elitism this Friday with a full-fledged runway show at the Commercial Penthouse on Novation Campus (2450 Rimrock Road) and an after-party at the Cardinal Bar (418 E. Wilson St.). Initially, Fashion Fridays started out as Madison Fashion Week’s networking after-party in April 2007 but has since branched off into a own seasonal one-night runway series complete with a “Shop and Sip” reception, a runway show with live performances, and the requisite after-party with best-dressed awards and up-and-coming DJs. Being the third installment of this relatively new series, this season’s Fashion Fridays will be united under the theme “London Calling” by paying homage to the predominant British sentimentality seen at the Fall 2008 runway shows. Just think androgynously tailored tweed suits, plaid ball gowns, military-inspired jackets provocatively clashing with ultra-feminine fishnet hosiery, plaid pussy-bowed blouses, voluminous checkered capes donned with gothglam bustiers — and did I mention plaid? “[As] a seasonal networking event and fashion event, [Fashion Fridays] looks at trends making buzz in the fashion industry for the current season,” producer Kristi Moe said. “The runway shows in New York, London and Milan for the Fall 2008 season saw plaid, houndstooth, military, equestrian and Victorian elements.” Basking in the remnants of fall foliage, Madison is certainly in the right season. Although the catwalks in New York and Milan may already be spouting flirty spring florals and summery palm prints, Madison, like the rest of the non-fashion-obsessed world, is still rightfully in the Fall ’08 season. While striving to emulate the professional runway shows of the more time-honored and established fashion capitals but also catering to its Madison populace, Fashion Fridays is able


to offer a unique and accessible fashion industry networking event that effectually engages local designers, models, boutique owners, stylists, photographers, fashion-loving trendsetters and just about any individual who shows interest in fashion. Indeed, New York Fashion Week, despite its exhilarating glitz and glamour, isn’t exactly accessible to everyone. “Our No. 1 priority is to make [Fashion Fridays] easily reachable to the normal person,” public relations coordinator Andr?a Boelke said. Truth be told, a single lavish garment showcased in a New York runway could cost you an entire semester’s worth of tuition at the University of Wisconsin, leaving you fashionably destitute. With reasonably priced tickets and affordable creations sent down the runway by local designers Kayla Garland and Rob Kessler, however, attendees will be able to become a part of the exotic and exciting fashion world without seriously breaking the bank or sacrificing their academic career. “I think that’s the huge difference,” Boelke said. “We aren’t staging this exclusive event; [Fashion Fridays] is for everyone.” According to Moe, Madison Fashion Week and Fashion Fridays aim to continue the momentum on a seasonal basis and foster the growth and collaboration of Madison’s fashion industry. “With the [2008] Chicago Fashion Week canceling in April, and then more recently Milwaukee Fashion Week canceling early this month, a lot of people are looking towards what we are doing in Madison to fill a void and represent [fashion] in the Midwest.” Moe said. So this is to all of you fashionistas or closet fashion devotees out there: Fling on your checkered Burberry scarf, dig out that plaid miniskirt from the back of your closet, and experience London’s style du jour tomorrow night at Madison’s very own runway show. ? For more information about Madison Fashion Week or Fashion Fridays, visit www.madisonfashionweek.com.


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