At the WW Club, The Fashion Forward Stir It Up
Mixed prints, bright neons, cherry red sky-high hot rod shoes. Loud, ostentatious and flamboyant, recent designs in womenswear have looked like fever dreams for attention-seekers. Architectural and sometimes uncomfortable, the clothes and shoes for women that have trended over the last few years have been brash, bold and generally meant for someone who would rather make themselves heard than wait to be announced. Someone who moves, seeks, and greets with the subtly of a scream from across the room.
For so much female fashion self-aggrandizement, menswear has remained demure. A tailored suit, an unexpected accessory, the perfect cuff: details that mark a man as fashion forward don’t shout about how great he is - they whisper it. Masculine style is defined by understanding what governs classic design and then paying homage - or subverting - those rules with a knowing wink. Forget the ahistorical neon-pastel combinations touted as a must for women this spring; menswear enthusiasts hit forward-thinking notes in their wardrobe by playing with very old ideas about color, fit and form. They push the boundaries of male style by stirring up its elements until the staid becomes surprising.
How fitting then that at an event dedicated to celebrating menswear, the WW Club: A DC Style Speakeasy (hosted last Thursday night at the Water Street Project space in Georgetown), interests that define disparate parts of DC’s creative community were mixed up and mingled too. The brainchild of hosts Katie Warren of GoKateShoot and stylist Elise Peterson of It's Vintage Darling and Style Me Elise, the WW Club was both a menswear showcase for local designers and a whiskey tasting; an art exhibit pop-up, a burlesque show, a converted-warehouse bash, and a much-needed excuse for DC to put on something unique, creative, and most of all, fancy.
Revelers in vintage outfits, club kid wear, men’s suits, and high-end street wear mingled with each other while dancers peppered the crowd performing swing moves to Notorious B.I.G’s “Mo Money Mo Problems.” The original artwork from New York, Philadelphia and DC artists on display showcased a wide variety of mediums and subjects: from abstract painting and photography to a huge sculpture installation that incorporated water flowing from the ceiling. Fashion designers and local boutiques like Dr. K’s, Federal, The Good Kin, Jack Spade, Alton Lane, Hugh & Crye, Ginger Root, and It’s Vintage Darling showcased looks that ranged from classic Americana to tailored prep, and stylists were on hand to talk about how to incorporate new looks and elements into one’s wardrobe. Whiskey flowed freely, and the fantastic performances from singer Alison Carney and burlesque dancer Cherrie Sweetbottom brought everyone together as an audience, anchored the party and gave it a feeling of cohesiveness.
Of course the classic elements of a get together were all there - the main thrust of the evening was to talk, dance, drink, and feel dressy. But just as adding a colorful sock punches up a conventional suit, so too did the variety of elements at the WW Club create a party scene at once familiar, and yet entirely new and unexpected. Seeing so many well-dressed representatives of DC’s visual art, fashion, photography, dance, performance, and whiskey-enthusiast scenes in one place made the sum of the party greater and more interesting than its parts alone would have. Even the speakeasy theme, with all of its implied exclusivity, felt turned on its head when applied to such a uniquely inclusive event. Standing on the street corner after the party had ended, groups of people in their most dapper duds gushed about the whiskey and burlesque, Alison Carney’s performance, the art, and most of all, the clothing. For a rigidly styled city like Washington, DC, the WW Club’s effort to stir it up turned out to be a great fit.
Photo credit: GoKateShoot
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