Some — ahem, everyone in NYC — would say Boston isn't a fashion-forward city. We'd like to issue them a respectful but firm "Fuck you!" While it may be like a little sister in size, Boston ain't nobody's red-headed stepchild. Just ask Rachel Moniz, the Liberty Hotel's GM and the mind behind its Fashionably Late series. "Boston fashion is taking something classic and making it interesting," she says. "I know a lot of Bostonians who are stylish, but they aren't interested in being trendy."
Fashionably Late is a guerilla-style fashion show that's taken over the Liberty's lobby on Thursdays since 2009. Each installment features a local designer or shop. "I realized for such a conservative city there was an underbelly of innovation," says Moniz. "I met designers Michael DePaulo and Sam Mendoza at various (boring) fashion events and started to pick their brains. I realized there was a lack of space to showcase up-and-coming designers."
Best of all, it's free for everyone involved, attendees included. The Liberty pays for lighting technicians, professional hair and makeup (by G2O and makeup artist Kacie Corbelle, respectively), models (booked through Dynasty Models), and music. The idea, Moniz says, is to make fashion accessible. "At the end of the day I just want everyone to have a good time while giving designers and stores a place to show their goods."
I hit a recent edition, featuring Charles Street's VIRA Boutique, for a behind-the-scenes peek into what goes into staging a weekly fashion show. What follows is a time-stamped account of one fashionable night out.
8:25 pm » I fly through the Liberty's doors, past the doorman and some business-casual bros who probably wonder what a girl who'd wear pants with an unintentional hole in the knee thinks she's doing at the Liberty. I'm here for fashion, and, slightly sweaty from my walk-jog from the T, I'm fashionably late.
8:29 » Turns out, that's okay, because so were two of the five models. I'm escorted "backstage" — a small cubicle-lined sales office that transforms into a hair and makeup studio — where I claim a swivel chair to watch it all unfold.
8:35 » A model whose hair has been seduced into a halo of impeccably effortless curls sits barefoot and munches on a salad. She bears a striking resemblance to Taylor Swift and has a boyfriend from Greenwich who drives a BMW. I wish I'd had time to eat dinner.
8:40 » A thin, pretty girl who I'd assumed was a model appears bearing a Stella I'd ordered on a tray. She's an intern working the show. Her headset should probably have tipped me off.
8:45 » I'm halfway through my beer and amazed at the magic the makeup artist and hairstylist are working in their cubicles. Another thin, pretty girl I'd assumed was the intern because of her jeans and granola-y sweater turns out to be a model. I probably should have been tipped off by the hot curler in her hair. All the models now have bright-red lips and va-va-voom curls. They look hot. I'm physically hot and do a furtive pit-stain check. Safe!