Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fashion shows

This week our facility is filled with shows related to the apparel industry, and most of the other exhibition halls in Vegas are filled with similar shows. These roll around every six months. Up in the tower next door are two; one filled with shoes (yes, Jimmy Choo is showing off the summer styles) and the other specializing in swimwear and intimate apparel. These are both in the smaller rooms, we don’t usually get to wander around those (unfortunately). One of the smaller halls upstairs is dedicated to accessories: belts, handbags and jewelry. Downstairs is off-price merchandise and the remainder of upstairs is, quoting from the show catalog, ‘powerhouse advanced contemporary lifestyle event that is for today.’ The downstairs show has been open since Monday, upstairs opened just a few hours ago. There are significant differences between these two shows.

Downstairs are lots of small booths with high racks around the outside filled to overflowing with stuff you will find in W@lmart and small lower priced stores. Six months ago there were many Chinese companies, but I only saw one here this time. There are a great many booths watched over by middle aged men wearing black Yarmulkes, and in the food court one line is dedicated to kosher food. There are many hand lettered signs pinned up displaying show specials, such as one on a display of thong panties stating ‘show special – 10 cents each in case lots’, printed t-shirts ‘ 90 cents each case lots’, and some fairly nice leather jackets ‘$9.98 each, 10 per case, mixed sizes OK’. Not having an array of girlfriends that would appreciate the former I was more interested in the latter, as at that price these jackets (that probably sell for $129 retail) were not very high quality, but you could wear them for a year and then toss them away. (OK, supposed to be green and keep using them, yes, you could until the stitching came out then donate to charity).

Upstairs it was about the same as when this show was here last year; white carpets, plastic booths, bare concrete, loud (very loud) techno music and lots of skinny young people. I noticed that I don’t have enough tattoos, my jeans aren’t tight enough (well, not in the right places), I don’t have pierced eyebrows, and my hair not spiky enough to fit in with that group. I previously compared the difference between attendees of the electronics show and the adult entertainment show that were here at the same time last month. This month I can see even bigger differences between middle aged men in black suits and yarmulkes and skinny (really skinny) people in almost painted on jeans, yellow sneakers with glitter (if you don’t have these, looks like it’s the coming style), tattoos, piercings and funky hair.

I had lunch with my fellow programmer, eating at the Chinese stir fry counter, which is much improved over last show. He wanted to wander a while, I was having problems hearing and my ears hurt from the loud base beat blasting down. We walked in a smaller curtained off area at the back towards some different music and some type of fashion show going on, but the aisles were very crowded. It all jammed up about twenty feet from the show area, and I looked to my left to see what type of clothing was being exhibited. I found myself nose to . well, not another nose.

I was very surprised to see that this was a swimwear booth, and there were two models on a platform right next to me. I’ve been trying to figure out how to describe this, so let’s see if I can say it in a round about way. I don’t know why, but to show off their swimsuit line a decision was made to have the suits painted on these models rather than just have them wear the clothes. I was pushed right up against this low platform, to find the top of my head a few inches below the navel of a very shapely young woman with a painted on swimsuit. My eyes were even lower, and my nose was just a few inches away from an area it is not usually that close to. Unfortunately these outfits were not the full painted suits that Sports Illustrated or Playboy has; to preserve modesty (what, modesty in Vegas?) these young ladies were wearing a little triangular patch of cloth in a strategic location. Let me emphasize the word little, as this triangle could not be much smaller and still be visible. As it was, the models couldn’t walk around much without this patch of cloth, shall we say, disappearing. The young lady I was right in front of was painted with a very nice multi-colored tiny suit, with the little triangle painted as well so it almost disappeared (but close examination showed it was there, and with my nose just an inch or two away it was challenging not to closely examine it) (come on, I’m a guy, it needed examining). The fine art of Brazilian waxing was also evident. I looked up to find that other portions of this young woman were right above me. It was a marvelous example of the art of silicone cantilevered over my head. Again, a colorful top was painted on and here two small circular band aids were applied over strategic areas and painted over as well. I guess that I don’t spend enough time in the adult oriented clubs here in Vegas (never having been to one at all), as I was most impressed, both with the outfits and with my being so close (without having to lay down some cash).

After a few long minutes the crowd unfortunately moved and I was able to move a few steps forward, pausing in front of the booth next door. This booth was advertising a canned energy drink (one I had never heard of) and it was being ignored. Most of the crowd was trying to see around the side curtains to the fashion show; I never got that far, and have no idea what fashions were being shown. I paused to talk to the two guys in this booth, and turn around and examine the young ladies from five feet away instead of an inch and a half. They were equally impressive from this distance, probably more so because I could get an overall view instead of seeing isolated segments.

Unlike the SI girls that were airbrushed these suits were painted on with small brushes. There was a young woman touching up areas and another applying glitter to selected areas of the swimsuits, just a few flakes at a time. Being guys we spent a few minutes discussing paint and glitter application techniques, and wondering if they would let a few volunteers do that part of the work for them. This part of the crowd was now pushed back from the platform and a large number of people were taking photographs. It was a surprise to me to see that most of the people with cameras were women.

Sorry ladies, this booth only had women’s swimwear. I don’t know if there was a men’s suit booth on the other aisle that would also be modeling similar ‘clothing’. But there are several larger booths in the main hall dedicated to male underwear; last time there were several handsome young men walking around booths modeling these clothing articles. Strangely enough there were more men at these booths examining the models than women. But I guess in the clothing industry there are all types of interests.

Oh – it appears that J was part of the group that stepped back, and was able to use his Iphone to obtain a few images. Here you go:

I walked back up later in the afternoon to see just what fashion show was being held around that corner. We had also heard that Snoop Dog was in the house – he has a scheduled show tomorrow at the Hard Rock, and supposedly came by to push his clothing line. He was also supposed to perform a bit. There was nothing going on then, either in that small exhibit area or on the rest of the floor. I did notice that the two women seen earlier were still up on the platform, and a third girl had joined them (of course I looked, come on). But what was funny was across the aisle. There were a number of guys lined up staring at the girls but seated at the sales tables across the aisle were several girls employed by that company to take orders. It was the look on the face of one very attractive blond, as she looked over at the swimsuit girls and the crowd they were attracting, that was pretty funny. It was a mixture of intense dislike, either for the girls or guys, couldn’t tell, and disgust about the display. Truthfully, she was much prettier than the swimsuit girls, but she did have quite a bit more clothing on.

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