Leading up the event itself, buzz was building. Would this event mark the downward descent of the Fat Jewish’s cultural currency, or an upswing that proved his long(er)-term relevance? There was only one way to find out: ask a dad, of course. We sent a certified father of FOUR into the front row frenzy, and asked him to give us a first-hand review of what he saw. Our resident fashion photographer Ally Lindsay captured the commotion.
NAME: Ed Bartlett
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION? Taoist
FATHER OF: 4
Painting my new water shoes pink.
Piece of clothing that best defines your personal style?
Blue jeans and Birkenstocks.
Did you see anyone you recognized at the show?
Most memorable thing you saw come down the runway?
The Fat Jewish’s top knot, standing erect.
What would you say was the “mood” of the show?
On the surface: light hearted.
Deeper down: serious commentary on “The Fashion Show”.
Best accessory you saw come down the runway?
No need to overthink it.
Five adjectives that defined the show?
Arch (as in slyly saucy, pleasantly mischievous)
What do you think the Fat Jewish was saying (or trying to say) about “Dad Fashion”?
In Dad Fashion there is no cachet for the new or trendy: just good, solid functional clothes that don’t look too bad together. The absence of dad’s only items (baby packs, strollers, whips) was surprising.
What is Dad Fashion?
What do dads have to teach us about fashion?
The function of clothes is to cover the naked body, not interfere with an activity, make gentle statements of personality—they should be aesthetically pleasing without grabbing for attention, and not cost an arm and a leg.
Is the Fat Jewish…
a) A Visionary
b) A Con Man
c) A Button Pusher
d) A Comedian
ANSWER: Based on this show he is a performance artist, using his reputation for outrageousness to make sly social commentary. He should be proud.
I think that calling this a “fashion show” is a misleading label. Certainly there was the form of a fashion show: a runway (with AstroTurf), models wearing clothes, people watching. But in almost every other way, the show broke the conventions and expectations of a fashion show. The clothes were not new designs. They were common clothes, off the rack, matched up in ways designed to represent types of middle aged menswear and middle aged men. The family barbecue guy, the business man, and much-generic casual dress of men who don’t think deeply about that perfect outfit. The models did not strut their stuff but walked deadpan with mostly slouchy posture. None of the peacock here as in the usual fashion show. In short, just plain guys dressed in un-self-conscious outfits: real people, real clothes moving as your regular Joe moves.
The audience was, I think, made up primarily of the fashion press and followers interested in fashion. Billing it as a “fashion show” organized by the Fat Jewish set the frame for an irreverent and amusing event. But it was not a show that reached for laughs by being any form of the outrageous. (The most outrageous thing in the show was the Fat Jewish who came out at the end with his tall, erect top knot.) There was a fair amount of laughter but it was laughter related to the breaking of the rules of serious fashion shows.
For me, this was successful as a performance art piece. I think the Fat Jewish should feel proud of this subtle and subversive show.