After last season's turn-the-tables collection, where models and editors traded places, Imitation of Christ went to the other extreme for
Fall 2002. Set in that bastion of Upper East Side elegance, Sotheby's, the
show drew a crowd that included Lou Reed, Jimmy Fallon, Natasha Lyonne, and
avant-garde muse Isabella Blow. The audience was given catalogs that
detailed the 31 outfits, each named for a piece of contemporary art and
written up as if it were going on the block. The actual garments did finally
appear, on models who adopted frozen poses on a rotating stage as an
auctioneer took bids.
There were some charming pieces on display: lovely Grecian-draped dresses, a fetching skirt that looked as though it were made from an embroidered tablecloth, even a kicky little black lace skirt perfect for IoC fans like Lyonne or Chloë Sevigny. But in an era full of pastiche, handcraft and ethnic references, when IoC should be at the top of its game, the clothes were unfortunately overshadowed by the heavy-handed commentary on Big Issues.
At the end of the show, the lights dimmed and green lasers began playing around the room to the strains of Pink Floyd. When one fashion editor took out his lighter and held it up, in the classic "Freebird" gesture, it was hard not to feel as though you were trapped in freshman year of high school.