Best In Show

It sounds like an award a prized poodle might win at those ever-popular dog trotting shows, but this time “Best In Show” makes reference to another type of prance-centric event: last Friday’s IIDA’s Product Runway hosted at Cleveland Westside’s Battery Park Wine Bar, which we won.

The Third Annual ode to the ever popular Project Runway starring Tim Gunn involved just under 20 local architecture and interior design firms paired up with representatives from related product companies in Northern Ohio.

This was the first year that my architecture firm, studioTECHNE|architects, was asked to participate by the local Mohawk Group rep. It was like being asked to the prom: tickets paid for, dinner and drinks provided, only we had to make our own dress.

But the dress, it turns out, was not to be.

In what is a male-dominated field (I’m referring to the architecture profession, the jury’s out on ID) and in a male-dominated office, it only made sense to stand out in the see of female wanna-be top models and deem a male to be our office’s model. Although we immediately toyed with the idea of putting him in a kilt, we decided that, like in architecture, truthfulness of form was essential in fashion and thus our male model required a very masculine suit (sorry Scottie boys!).

And thus the hard part began.

The cause is blurry; the effect was that I became the head/only seamstress navigating through a sea of confusing/uninformative patterns and atypical clothing materials. In true Project Runway fashion I tossed aside those impossibly thin paper cutouts and we crafted our own design as an office of skilled but novice fashionistas.

The result is/was, with full modesty, astounding.

The last time I touched a sewing machine was around 4am sometime during the spring of 2009 whilst preparing for a Greek Sing show. I remember it going poorly. That was also the last time I used a pattern. I remember that not being the most enjoyable encounter either. And the last time I tried to sew pieces of carpeting material together? Never.

That said, exempting surplus thread winding around the bobbin, the thread forever falling out of the eye of the needle and the machine making a sick cow mooing sound occasionally, the process was fun, and dare I say, repeatable?! (Yup, I said it. The day after the show, still high on my horse, I bought up the lot at JoAnn’s and am itching to get back on the Singer.)

In conclusion, our outfit was indescribably awesome.

The boys made an exploding, spring loaded cane that doused onlookers with hole-punched flooring fibers; Matt, the model, fashioned himself a new-aged top hat; Marco, principal turned cobbler, made the most impecable pair of red rubber stair tread shoes ever known to man (seriously, if only etsy was cool enough for these Italian loafers we’d never have to build a building again! Maybe Christie’s will take ’em!); our Mohawk rep crocheted a killer scarf and corsage (see what I mean about that prom feeling?) and if it weren’t for her I’d be writing about architecture or something today, so thanks Shelly for being studioTECHNE’s partner in fashion crimes!!!

’til next year!


For complete photographic coverage, turn your pupils here.

For a tips-of-my-new-trade tutorial, look here soon-ish.

For an intimate viewing, book your ticket to Lincoln Center ’cause this baby is going to NYC’s Fashion Week come September!!!

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