Night Two: CFW's After Parties Continue

Image by Karen Briggs Ladies loll about on an oversized bed Wednesday night at The Beck Agency's "BedHead" After Party for CFW.

Wednesday evening delivered two of the week’s most hyped after parties: The Becket Agency’s “Bedhead” and Project Runway designer Michael Knight’s “Secret Party”, a soiree and debut of Knight’s Fall/Winter 2011 pieces at Social.

Billed as a breakfast-in-bed themed event, “Bedhead” was the most highly attended party thus far in the week.  One large bed occupied the wall adjacent to the main dance floor, on which revelers took turns lolling about and having photos taken. Event organizers upped the ante by flying in Willem Wolfe to spin the affair, The Standard Hotel’s resident L.A. DJ and Billy Idol’s son. Charleston’s home grown DJ super group Electric Friends also came in from their now-home in L.A., to play sets alongside Natty Heavy and Y Not. Cheekily dressed servers in oversized button-ups passed brunch inspired snacks such as skewered chicken and waffle kabobs, while the bars (there were at least three) pumped out daylight appropriate cocktails such as Bloody Mary's, Mimosas and Chambulls.

Both inside banquettes and the outdoor patio were buzzing with new and veteran faces from Charleston’s fete-set. While there were some questionable attendees (did anyone else see the grungy troupe of dancers in circus-like attire?), on the whole, we loved seeing fresh personalities in the sometimes predictable CFW social circle.

NV’s large and confusing layout (a winding hall here, balcony there, another VIP room where?) is always a trick to fill, even by one of the most hyped parties of the week. Case in point: the crowd never really caught on that there was a separate room and bar where Electric Friends was playing. We also wished that the theme was a smidge more pronounced. I was craving a few extra beds on which to lounge or jump, envisioning Bloody Marys and waffles in hand. With such a brilliant theme and a tired Fashion Week crowd, the idea would have been even more spectacular if produced just a bit larger.

Luckily for us, event organizers compensated by ensuring that the drinks kept flowing, service was on point, music golden and anyone you wanted to see was on the guest list.

Meanwhile, down the street, Michael Knight was kicking off his “Secret Party” at Social.

Event organizers drummed up the chatter surrounding this party weeks in advance by refusing to disclose the location or time that it would start. To get the scoop, guests signed up to receive a text message alerting them to the crucial details hours before the event’s commencement. Nice work, promotional teams.

Knight debuted several basic designs as well as “couture” pieces crafted from Red Bull cans. Models stood on podiums and slinked through the crowd in metal adorned frocks, stopping to chat with a patron here, and an interested attendee there.

A few things about this struck me as strange.

Repeating an after party location two nights in a row seemed monotonous at best and lazy at worst. With all of the excitement around Knight’s event and the host’s high profile image, I expected an expansive loft somewhere in the city, an unveiling of a new space yet to seen, or at the very least, a venue not on the calendar for this week’s events.

Secondly, sidling Red Bull can “couture” into the event struck a smarmy chord.

Don’t get me wrong: Michael Knight is a talented designer whose work is to be admired.  What I don’t admire was an after party promising a Fall/Winter 2011 debut and delivering a Red Bull commercial.

We get that Charleston Fashion Week needs its sponsors. So does every Fashion Week, the world over. There is however, a time and a place for marketing. 

Following live commercial spots for Trish McEvoy cosmetics during Wednesday night's shows, this Red Bull plug was simply too much.  If CFW is going to be taken seriously in the international fashion community, the line between design and product placement must be more firmly drawn.  If not, at least call a spade a spade, a Red Bull promotion a Red Bull promotion and a Michael Knight debut a Michael Knight debut.

The good news is that tonight, Night Vizzion and The Music Farm present The Diabolical Biz Markie (Live) at the 80's Glam Jam "Not Just another 80's Party". O-Ku will also host after hours shenanigans with a DJ.

See you there!

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