I truly want to express the level of foot dragging and internal kicking and screaming I went through to finally complete this article. I want to preface this write up by professing my sincere respect and appreciation for Joe Malaika as an extraordinary designer and a local fashion visionary. When I think of a male designer breaking barriers with patterns and styles that transcend traditional gender guidelines Joe has always been the first name that comes to my mind in Boston and across New England for that matter.
My feelings are mainly due to how disappointed I was by the turn out and overall production of the show, NOT Joe's collection; which was in fact quite brilliant. In it's 4th season I had extremely high expectations for Excessive Fashion 4 especially after such a spectacular season 3. I cant help but wonder what outside influences were aloud to permeate and cloud the plans for 2016. Turning a clear and successful showcase into muddy waters. What planning committee gathered to execute such a flop? With strong backing from several high profile charities, local boutiques, notable local celebrities, and a top notch press pit how did it all go so wrong? Are my standards suddenly too high? Based on all of my previous viewings of Joe's shows and his affiliate events I wonder why things went so left. Were people just not thrilled about trekking to Woburn? Was Banana Republic just not enough to draw the crowd?
What I felt was initially a well crafted and cost effective attempt to bring mid range fashion to the masses in a metro suburban setting had quickly tuned into a chaotic and disorganized trade show nightmare. A cautionary tale of when doing too much goes wrong. EF4 would have benefited tremendously from a less is more approach. Something chic, sleek and intimate. If you attend as many shows as I do then you know having a fashion show on a huge scale rarely generates actual cash revenue (there aren't too many eventbrite ticket holders actually purchasing the $800 + garments that float down to runway ), These shows are more about being scene and the social exposure that can be garnered from seating A-listers in the front row. Head designer and coordinator Joe Malaika has such a strong and dedicated following under his belt it would have been easy to scale this back and still gain the maximum exposure needed to deem it a successful event..
Of course the last minute cancellation of the primary entertainment act certainly didn't helped things. For what seemed like months in advance Joe had fabulous glossy colorful double sided flyers touting the appearance of Tessanne Chin (Voice alumini 2013). Promotors far and wide went to great lengths to note the singers exclusive appearance. Her impending performance seemed to lead the marketing train far beyond the actual purpose of showcasing fashion. In what would be considered the 25th hour she was a complete no show and with tensions running high and the show running very far behind the lack of energy and disappointment in the room was palpable.
Honestly, I wasn't there to see Tessanne and I certainly had zero cares if she showed up or not. In my opinion all of these shows have way to much singing, dancing, comedy and not enough FASHION. So what I do want to delve into are the clothes because that is why I made the journey. Banana Republic at this point just seems like a placeholder for EF. I have no idea why they don't opt to showcase an actual designer vs cookie cutter clothing made en mass production. I appreciate that the BP presentation provides the audience & potential consumer a general forecast of mainstream clothing trends for the season but it was very boring and uninspiring this year.
Soooo enough of the bad - here is where it gets good. REAL GOOD. Joe Mailaka's collections shut it down. The colors, patterns, embroidery details and fabrics were phenomenal! From previous collections involving logo emblazoned angel wing peplum dresses and tshirts, leather padded shift dresses in heavy tones of purple & cream, petal pushers pants in spring floral, the clingy lycra royal purple phase, I have loved it all. Joe has veered in such a stunning and bold new direction it is quite inspiring. Every single piece was a treat for the eye,
TO BE CONTINUED ...............