Austin Sherbanenko loves metal. His fidelity to all things dark, heavy, and grim is not up for debate. What is up for debate (at least to some) is whether or not that love should be translated onto a runway. Ever-fearful of being co-opted, high fashion is often viewed as the underground's enemy. Heavy metal fans are just like every other close-knit group, highly protective of their adopted iconography and styles. When one particularly rabid metal fan I know found out I was covering last night's Odyn Vovk show he sent a text exclaiming, "Tell Beverly death metal is a way of life, not a fashion statement." Whoa there buddy, it's not like we haven't seen corpse paint on a runway before. In fact it's usually so comical it's not a threat at all. All of fashion's grim posturing is strictly editorial--it's not like Kate Moss is going to start painting upside-down crosses on her forehead and wearing gauntlets.
Personally, as both a metal fan and a fashion devotee (or as one friend aptly termed me, a "threadbanger") I feel no threat from trends. The thing about fashion is that things come and go, and yeah it really sucked when I saw Lindsey Lohan wearing the same Maiden 1982 tour shirt I owned, but I got over it. And yes, I wince every time I see a new "goth teen" who just got done darkening her soul on the racks at Top Shop, but that's life. If you are into something cool, guess what? Other people are going to find out about it. If the new fans aren't awesome, guess what? They'll ditch it within a few months and move on to the next big thing. Personally I am excited for all those beautiful black slutty bandage dresses that turned everyone into an instant metal slut to go out of style so I can snag them second hand. I have no shame in vulturing in on the spoils the masses have left behind on their mad dash to the next big thing.
The comforting thing about Odyn Vovk is that while it's been getting a good deal of press because fashion is still having it's love affair with the 90s, goth, and metal, the line's affinity with such things transcends the trend. Rest assured in two or three seasons Sherbanenko isn't going to start channeling Scottish golf chic. His earnest commitment to a vision combined with some truly stellar design chops and some amazing materials quell my potential objections to what he's doing.
Now that that's off my chest...this season's collection has matured. No more leather SARS masks. Instead, we see an icy refinement combined with the mythical warrior dayware. Still, I'm not sure how I feel about seeing a butt-flap on the runway. Hell, I'm not sure about how I feel seeing them off the runway on anyone but a 15-year-old at ABC No Rio.
Regardless, I was backstage before the presentation at the St Mark's Church. Amidst all the hectic preparations I took some photos of the goings-on. One thing I will say, male models are fun to photograph, I guess that's they point, but dudes, can you please let a girl get a candid? Every three seconds I wanted to yell, "Pose hard retard!" But enough about that. Here are bunch of 20-year-old boys dressed like Eladrin wizards on their way to a Mayhem show.
What do you do when life makes you a gay black albino? Work it!
Seriously, this is just what these dudes look like when they are standing around. Never have I had a crowd so aware of every picture I took.
This dude was amazing, constantly in character, walking around like the darkest of the dark. I nicknamed him Grim Teen.
No one knew or cared to learn how to properly lace a pair of Docs
The Jewelry by Derrick Cruz of Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons was amazing
The designer taking care of business
There was but one pair of breasts in the show, but more on those later.
Everyone was lined up and the finishing touches were put on the fellows.
And then it was show time.
The aforementioned buttflap on the runway
And the aforementioned breasts.
After the whole thing was over, the fantasy dissolved in a cloud of smoke.
And a whole fantasy took over and it definitely wasn't mine. Five bucks if you can guess this dude's accent.