It is rare when repeatedly attending “exclusive” events, presentations, dinners and shows within fashion to be impressed easily. One must find new angles to gather within these events for the substance and sometimes reason for attending. Enter the Moda 360 Cocktail Benefit for “Friends of the Congo”. This was not just a gathering of the fashion community to see a new line from a designer, drink, converse and leave. The meaning for this affair was much deeper, educating attendees on how much we use from the Congo for conveniences. This was shown through the posted statistic “69% of the minerals found in the Congo are used to produce and power our cell phones”; just one example of the eye opening facts given prior to the presentation of live art and fashion.
Grace Jones, Alek Wek and a dedicated piece presented to fashion icon Audrey Smaltz, were the abstract art displayed masterfully by artist S. Whittaker in the front foyer of the historic Carriage House in Midtown Manhattan. A fitting accompaniment to the beautiful art within the entrance were vivid orange tees emblazoned with the image of assassinated political leader Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. While trying to absorb the powerful expression of art and political activism, a violinist appears on the beautiful winding stairway located in the main room of where the live fashion and art presentation will commence. The violinist finishes a beautiful piece, lights dim and the artist who painted these amazing abstract works appears before the crowd. Explaining her inspiration for the art pieces being trailblazing women who continue to pave a way, as well as her accomplishment of being the first artist to have an installation solely through Instagram, she has sufficiently not disappointed the admirers of her work.
The moment finally arrives for the RTW fashion inspired by native garb from the Congo. The pieces are bursting with color mixed with soft tones and different fabrics all to paint an eloquent picture of how there is beauty within different components of the Congo. Instantly you can see the textiles were selected carefully to have functionality but yet still retain a sense of delicate touch that a woman comes to expect in RTW collections. As the twelve piece collection show came to a close, I was left with a sense of satisfaction for supporting a great cause but also because my inner peace was fed by witnessing amazing new art and fashion from young professionals who still see substance as beauty.