New York City is home to many cliques. Such small pockets of culture show a side of New York most of us never see. On Thursday October 30, 2014 the night before before Halloween – a night many of us coined “Devil’s Night” from the 1994 blockbuster The Crow – was the perfect backdrop for the steampunk-inspired Masquerade Monster Ball fashion and art presentation curated by The Set NYC with runway shows and side exhibitions from artists Nina Tokhtamon Valetova, sculptor Sylvia Nagy, Vogue Italia featured artist Swain McCaughrin and music by DJ Joe Terra . It was yet another lovely benefit for children’s charity Freedom Ladder held at Holy Apostles Ballroom’s goth-style setting in Chelsea.
Thomas Estler is the owner/ creator of Abolitionista!, aka non-profit organization that partnered with the F.B.I. (that’s right. The actual Federal Bureau of Investigation) to create both entertainment for children and raise awareness at the same time. This is geared toward children, so the medium used is Japanese styled Manga art; like a comic book. Abolitionista! Tells the story of two best friends, one disappears. The other, much like a Nancy Drew novel, follows clues, that drags her through the underground of human trafficking. The purpose is to teach children how to recognize recruitment dialogue, how to deal with predators and whom they can turn to for help. As per Estler, homeless children are the most vulnerable.
Where else, other than Chelsea, can we dress as bad little devils and party in God’s house? New York’s most creative were on hand. Fashionistas, mansionistas, artists and models were all on hand.
The night began with a cocktail reception, small talk and big dreams. Guests donned their fitted best, placed a mask over their eyes and remained conspicuously anonymous in plain sight. Older Victorian clothing, steampunk garment get ups, and a fantastic Phantom of the Opera were displayed on this epic night. The church was full of corsets, garters and patent leather boots.
The first fashion and accessory presentation to take the runway was Aly x Joshua (“Aly” is short for Alison) by a very talented designer Kelly Farley. Aly x Joshua is BoHo inspired, SoHo created, glam clothing, huge statement necklaces of varying colors and accessories. This is the type of line that epitomizes a laid back-to-edgy form of street style.
Models included dancer and video gal Satoko Mori, beauty queen Rebecca Landrith and Akira Edwards as a stunning Wonder Woman.
From what I noted, Aly x Joshua’s staple is the epitimous “Candy Skull” design. Kelly, who is the owner and designer of Aly x Joshua, is an FIT graduate and has a very clear vision of her work. As impressive as her work is – I was awed by the theatrics of the runway show. Aside from Los Muertos faces created by MUA Brando Ballone, the models were nearly typical people. The collection’s models were of varying heights, shapes and sizes, not entirely “Heroine Chic”. Very exciting!
We were also very impressed with accessory and costume designer Jane Noriega and the always beautiful Berit New York, whose founding designer was a total sweetheart backstage. We effectively went from BoHo Chic to Park Ave class. She displayed elegant gowns and accessories. Her line was something from an easier, classier time. Jane Noriega’s line is red carpet worthy!
While working our way thru the crowd we met Katherine Gleason, the author who has penned a very exciting book called Anatomy of Steampunk. Steampunk fashion is inspired by industrialized Western Civilization during the 19th century. Originally a literary genre, steampunk has become a an aesthetic art form.
Everyone looks at fashion and costuming with an individual perspective, as demonstrated at Set NYC and Monster Masquerade. When artists come together for a good purpose, like raising awareness against the dark world of trafficking… all the better. Thanks again to Pim and Set NYC for another fabulous night!!