Well it was certainly the slowest show I’ve been to all year. In fact it was probably the slowest fashion show I’ve ever seen. And this is coming from a guy who sat through Hood By Air’s thirty plus minute slow motion trainwreck last fashion week.
Engineered Garments Spring/Summer 2014 show wasn’t just slow though, it was silent.
I’ve never seen a retail space more devoid of noise than Nepenthes Garment District storefront was on that afternoon. From the moment that first model stepped out to the intentionally uncomfortable close (in which designer Daiki Suzuki abstained from taking a bow leaving the audience to sit for roughly three minutes watching a blank wall in anticipation of a man that would never come) the show was entirely silent, save the steady purr of spotlights and the echo of hard bottomed soles striking the hardwood floor. The models, which consisted mostly of Nepenthes/Engineered Garments employees, and friends of the brand, would step forth from behind the white canvas partition and make the slow march down the line before returning back behind the fold, a process that took anywhere between three and five minutes depending on the model. The show was akin to watching a painting as you walk across a gallery, only instead of you moving, it was the painting.
At this point, a break from tradition is just par for the course for the Engineered Garments team, but the overall effect of the slow show (which I should add was their first show ever) was, for me at least, far more impactful than your standard runway show. Instead of having to watch blurred models bound down a track for a few seconds while I crane my neck to catch the slightest details, EG offered us a chance to let it all soak in. Had the paisley sportcoats and patchwork parkas that designer Daiki Suzuki debuted that day simply whizzed by at a standard runway pace, the entire show would’ve fallen into a floral lined abyss, but the deliberate pace ensured that no back-zipped anorak, or prison striped trousers would be lost on the viewer. Despite the show’s uncommonly long run time, my first thought when noise finally returned to the space was “Hey, can I see that again?”