Move over New York, Paris and Boston, Martha’s Vineyard is hosting its own fashion week for the third year in a row, and it’s getting bigger and better.
“For this being only our third year, it’s grown quite large,” says Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week organizer Trena Morrison. “This year there are 13 events over seven days, starting on September 16 and going through the 22nd.”
Morrison, an island transplant, has been on the Vineyard for about six years. After living in New York City and working in the fashion industry, she was eager to try to create a fun and fashionable event on the island.
“I just love fashion, and the towns are so separated, I wanted to do something to bring everyone together, to create a fashion community,” she says.
More than a dozen events are happening in towns all over the island; many pair cocktails and dinner with fashion shows, trunk shows or entertainment, such as movies at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center. On the marquee are “Lagerfield Confidential,” “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” and “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s.” The final day of the show, Sept. 22, features a bridal soiree at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown, where everyone, with a $10 donation, can sip a glass of champagne while shopping for the big day. That night, artist Traeger di Pietro talks about the inspiration of fashion during a mini fashion show at The Field Gallery.
There are several trunk shows scheduled, as well as fashion shows. See box for listing of designers who will be on hand.
“Trunk shows are when a designer is featured in a boutique and usually they are featuring their current collection, and trying to get rid of older merchandise at lower prices,” says Cape fashion blogger Amy DuFault. “It’s a nice opportunity for the designers to connect with their core customer and for the boutique to get feedback as to fit and color preferences.”
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, there are fashion shows where models hit the runway in flashes of color, movement, and sometimes, even a little dancing.
“Fashion shows are like any other form of art or entertainment — they’re an opportunity for clothes to move and have personality and for designers to see how their pieces look going down a runway which translates to how they look on street,” DuFault says. “It’s also an opportunity for people who never get to see clothes off a hanger or in a magazine to get to look at them from a different perspective; throw in some deep bass beats and you’ve got yourself theater.”
Morrison is equally passionate about the fun and excitement of attending fashion shows in person, a very different thing than watching “Project Runway.”
“It makes one giddy to break out those heels, and don a fabulous dress or outfit that under normal circumstances you wouldn’t have the opportunity to wear,” she says. “And it gets you to start thinking about what you are going to wear and if you need to go out and shop — locally of course, for an accessory to complete your look. I also think it gives people a chance to change their opinions of the stores, boutiques and designers. Sometimes the perception of what the stores carry is misconstrued to think that that store just carries items for young people or vice versa. I always encourage shops to present a collection of looks for a somewhat wide age range.”
You don’t have to be a total fashionista or Anna Wintour to enjoy seeing gorgeous clothes on the runway.
“Is it interacting with others or just seeing the clothes and accessories in person that makes it fun?” Morrison asks. “I think both. September on Martha’s Vineyard is celebrated by many islanders because it gives everyone the chance to get together and spend some quality time together instead of trying to find a date and time with everyone’s hectic summer work schedule. And its fun to see everyone dressed up — we get to oooh and ahhhh over what our friends are wearing, as well as see what the stores will have for the fall (and) winter months.”
And if all that isn’t enough, proceeds raised from Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week go to Angel Flight, a charity that flies seriously ill people , along with a companion for each, to treatment.
“The event, while fun and fashion-filled, has a charity at its core,” Morrison says. “We want to help create awareness for Angel Flight and build the fashion community all in one week. It comes right after New York fashion week, and right before Boston. I have New York City vendors coming to do trunk shows since they will be slowing down. All this means more money raised for Angel Flight (www.angelflightne.org).
A detailed schedule and photos from previous Island fashion weeks are posted at mvfashionweek.com.
“Most events you can just show up to, but some that have limited seating, you should get tickets ahead,” Morrison says. “There will be great swag bags with a crazy amount of products for those who buy tickets for VIP seating. It’s a great deal — a wonderful gift bag, a great seat and a cocktail!”
Cape Cod and the Islands hasn’t often been associated with high fashion, but Morrison believes there is great fashion here.
“There is something going on every single day,” she says. ” Fashion shows and great events happening at night. By combining dining and fashion we want to provide a different sort of experience — for men too. You can think of it as a date night: have a nice dinner, listen to some great music — both local and non-local — see a fashion show on the boardwalk at Sandbar and Grille, you don’t have to dress up! And you get to support Angel Flight. We really want people to jump on a boat and take a mini-vacation to see some fashion on the Vineyard.”