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Thursday, January 21, 2016

#TBT Fashion and Food Diary of 1994

nicole miller fashion

nyfw fashion sketch

I recently unearthed my precious Fashion & Food Desk Diary published by DIFFA as a fundraising project. I loved this calendar. It was my first year studying fashion at Parsons School of Design and my second year living in NYC.

1994's Fashion and Food Desk Diary was the perfect time capsule of 90s Fashion

The calendar was beautifully printed with a collection of the contributions from the top fashion designers of that era. Between weekly entries were fashion sketches from different designers with a culinary theme.

NY Fashion Week was called 7th on 6th then. That year, it took place in April for Fall 1994. The  ones I attended included Nicole Miller, Todd Oldham, Norma Kamali, Prada, Anna Sui and Bradley Bayou. Some names in the calendar and that year's NYFW lineup are still going strong. Some are no longer in the spotlight like they once were, like Richard Tyler and Pamela Dennis. Some took a step back briefly and came back with a roar, like Nicole Miller and Byron Lars. Some have gone on to become mega-brands. Some, like Carlos Falchi, have sadly passed away.

byron lars sketch

What is amusing to me is looking back at my personal diary entries of that time in my life. It reads  like the perfect time capsule of a fashion ingenue cliche in NYC/Paris during the 1990s.

Using a mix of student discounts and Times Square TKTS booth, I went to see Broadway shows Kiss of the Spider Woman and Angels in America. I had dinner dates at Gotham Bar and Grill and Lucky Cheng's. I went clubbing at Tunnel(studios), The Limelight (now a mall) and Club USA. I had movie dates with boys or girlfriends at Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Interview with a Vampire. I attended exhibition openings at Exit Art and dressed up for Wigstock. 

At the beginning of the calendar, there are photos of many fashion icons looking young and fresh. The fashion sketches represent an era when designers still had the time and passion for creating full sketches in the industry. Now, fashion illustration seems to be a pastime of elite artists and bloggers. DIFFA (Design Industries for Fighting Aids) was more involved with fashion then while they are more famous for their Dining By Design events now.

The recipes contributed by the designers in the book (it was also about food after all) also show a more innocent time. There are multiple dessert recipes, pasta, polenta and pizza entries. This seems unusual now in today's carb-fearing fashion climate.

Well, I hope you enjoyed today's lookback into 90s fashion and a personal, somewhat embarrassing glimpse of my life as a new New Yorker. Enjoy the fashion illustration and the history lesson my friends.

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