Last night at Artisanal House, a renovated Chelsea town home turned gallery, Victoria Bartlett presented her Spring 2013 VPL collection to close friends and fans. But in true VPL style, this was no ordinary presentation; rather, it was a fusion of art, fashion, and whimsy, a combo the designer has mastered. Bartlett transformed the modern space via art by jewelry designer Jill Platner (who also co-hosted the event with Il Buco’s Donna Lennard). And while some guests weren’t exactly sure how to navigate around the jeweler-cum-artist’s giant moving honeycomb sculptures that dangled from the ceiling, Platner encouraged them to interact with the works. “It’s meant to move! It’s meant to be touched!” she assured. Bartlett enlisted a little audience participation, too. The designer asked some of her closest friends, like Arden Wohl, Julie Gilhart, and Tomoko Ogura, to model her new wares. Each picked out her favorite Spring 2013 VPL dress to flaunt. “We’ve got an army of really strong women!” said Bartlett of her models. “They’re all like family.”
Above the grateful hum of editors noshing on free tacos at MAC and Milk Studios’ eighth-floor Surf Lodge, you can almost hear the question on everyone’s mind: What genius dreamed this all up? Credit goes to MAC exec Jenne Lombardo, who figured it would be wise to give fashion weekers a place to hang out between shows, and Surf Lodge co-owner Robert McKinley, whom Lombardo convinced to creative-direct the space. “There’s always that lag time,” McKinley noted, as a motley assortment of fashion types gobbled the Sam Talbot-prepared repast. “And we just thought, well, what do people need during fashion week? Something to eat, something to drink, a place to sit down, a few computers to work off of….” The Lodge provides all of the above (all miraculously free of charge, from cocktails to coffee to meals) and hosts the occasional Valentine’s Day photo booth or dance party. McKinley also came to the seemingly obvious conclusion that the fashion flock would rather be attended to by people with a bit of style—and got Loomstate to provide the servers’ special vegetable-dyed dresses and Jill Platner to make necklaces for them, too. A nice touch, but honestly, you had us at free tacos.