Saturday, April 29, 2006

Cash for comment on the catwalk

And so to Tight Knickers. Having told me one week ago that they were planning a "world fashion week first" stunt for their debut Fashion Week show, Jonathan Pease and Jesse Margolis had a lot to live up to last night.

Pease described the planned stunt as a "social experiment" and when I told him that I hoped it didn't involve any rats a la Tsubi, he said there weren't any - adding, "But this is one time when you really want to be in the front row".

I reminded him that Tsubi's famous rodent installation of 2001 - when they released 169 rats onto the runway - was one time when you actually didn't want to be in the front row. In fact, having been pre-warned about that stunt, a couple of British buyers actually refused to attend.

So there we were, sitting waiting. Starving in fact due to the inevitable dearth of edible substances that is inherent in every Fashion Week. Many of us had not eaten all day - and if we had eaten anything at all, it was the size of a postage stamp. And so thoughtful of the Tight Knickers crew to place a plastic takeaway container with Vietnamese spring rolls on seats in the first few rows. Fearing they may be part of the social experiment, I didn't dare take a nibble.

So the show starts with a Miss Tight Knickers - a caricature of a beauty queen in bikini top, tiny skirt and TK sash, walking to a microphone at the end of the runway and promising to use her title to do good, something along those lines. She runs off, a couple of dancers come on, one of whom starts breakdancing and then TK bestie Erica Baxter strides onto the runway to begin the fashion show.

Baxter looked ashen-faced and now we know why.

A fairly humdrum collection of jeans, T-shirts and singlet dresses then emerged. That said, there was one nifty cartoon head print in grey and white used in a shirt, skirt, combats and jeans, as well as the brand's signature slogan T's, the most amusing of which ws emblazoned with the words, "How can I miss you if you won't go away?" No word if the T-shirt was a dedication from Baxter to Packer, but we'll keep you posted.

The show finishes and I'm sitting there, thinking to myself, how could that possibly be described as a social experiment, let alone a stunt? What a bunch of twats.

Then the proscenium at the end of the runway lights up with a video of Pease and Margolis wearing what look like black beanies and T-shirts which read, in the first shot, "We are the creators behind Tight Knickers". And then in the second, "We had to rob a bank to pay for this show".

The video continues: they then proceed to pull balaclavas over their faces, run into the bank-like building on the corner behind them and a few seconds later, run out of the building clutching bulging bags.

A few chuckles. The lights come up. And then a half dozen balaclava-hatted guys scramble onto the runway holding bags and start throwing money into the audience. Real money. Apparently $15,000 of it, as I am told later, in $5 bills.

The reaction is amusing. Some are so gobsmacked they're not sure what to do and just sit there laughing. Others rush forward to grab handfuls. One heavily-accented urban style photographer who declined to be named, who is sitting to my right, holds up a handful and squeals, "That's $50!!!". In the madness that ensues, he starts insisting that I and another journo to his right, take some cash. We decline. The other party adamant that she doesn't wany any of it. "Get it away from me - it's cash for comment!"

I reply, "It's cash for comment whether you take it or not!".

For the record, neither journo took a cent.

And just as well. Unbeknownst to anyone, Pease claims that cameras were rolling on the audience and they plan to later release a film of the mad cash grab.

The real question is which bank? Apparently the 15K was provided by a sponsor - a bank, which didn't want their name mentioned. I'm wondering if that might be some kind of sponsorship first?

Hilarious. Baxter may have dipped out on the billionaire, but at least some folk walked away last night with a Tight wad.

Maybe they should have handed it over to all those volunteers....

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