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My Personal Account of the Ports 1961 Fashion Show at NY Bryant Park, Feb. 12, 2010.

July 21, 2010
At long last, as promised, I am now writing my personal account of my attendance at the Ports 1961 Fashion Show at NY Bryant Park, Feb. 12, 2010.

On February 12, 2010, almost one week after I quit my corporate job to start my own law practice MAZURKRAEMER business law, I found myself sitting in the third row from arunway at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Bryant Park in New York, New York.   The brand was Ports 1961.    

Just to give a background re: the label, from the Ports website, we learn their tagline is Global Soul, Urban Spirit. Also from the website, “[e]nergized by the international community, Ports takes a multi-cultural approach to design.   Each collection represents a modern culture, associating high performance with luxury and comfort.   Ports attention to detail and modern styling is transitioning the way women dress to accommodate a post modern lifestyle where elegance must meet her everyday needs.” [from a techie standpoint, check out the video embedded in this site to show the collection, very forward-thinking, very neat!!!]

I had been graciously invited to the show by Tia Ciabani, the creative director for Ports.  One week before the show, I had traveled to NY to meet with Tia regarding a legal matter.  We met at the Ports 1961 headquarters/main showroom.

We convened our meeting at a conference table in the Ports’ open format show room (I loved the fact that the conference room wasn’t some barricaded space at the company).   In the show room, with the Fashion Show in only a week, the Ports staff was working feverishly to piece together the 47 looks for the show.

As we conducted our meeting, out of the corner of my eye I watched the fit model try on a look and a crew of people rush over to her, tweaking this and that.    Everyone was very kind and gracious to me.   Each and every Ports employee embodied fashion, sophistication, and flair [contrast this with the boring, dark navy suit/uniform of the lawyer]!   Tia told me that the next day (only 6 days before the show), Ports would fly in tons of models from all over the world, from which Ports would pick the chosen few for the show.

The show room had high ceilings and tons of sunlight –again a stark contrast from most law offices.   The Ports space was fresh, creative, clean, stunning.  In the creative field, what a different vibe and energy.   Palpable.

I flew back to Pittsburgh so that I, on Friday, could attend my last day of work at Meridian.  As I drove home from my final commute , a heavy snowstorm fell.  The Storm of 2010.  I think over 25 inches of show fell over my hometown.  My power also went out in our home.  We had to move in with my in-laws for four days.  I was not certain I would even be able to return to NY for the show on Feb. 12.  On the day of the show, all morning flights were cancelled out of LaGuardia and Pittsburgh.  Finally, though I hopped an afternoon flight and made it to the show by the skin of my teeth, with 5 minutes to spare.

After I wiped the sweat from my brow from my mad dash through Bryant Park in 3-inch knee boots, I found my friend Marisa and finally my seat.  I was like a kid at Christmas, looking through the bags that were left on our chairs.  Inside the bag was a flyer describing the collection and each look.  There also was a pot to plant the package of rosemary seeds that were attached to the invitation.  The flower pot was from Japan, I later learned.   I took off my coat and reveal my Ports dress that I bought the week before and that I just LOVE.   I learned from “insiders” that one is encouraged to wear a designer’s line to the show if you are lucky enough to own pieces of it.  Just a little FYI!!!

To my surprise, the shows are only 10-15 minutes each.  Each design house has only one hour to get in and get out of the tent.   When the show began, the lights dimmed and the music was pounding.  The fog machine started.  The models marched down the runway.

See footage of the Fashion Show (taken by someone else) on YOUTUBE.

I loved the models BIG hair, reminiscent of my high school senior picture.  Their hair was teased and long and wavy.  I was startled at how young the models were though, all seemingly under the age of 20 (seemed more like 16 actually).  The clothes were stunning and inspiring (although I could not imagine wearing some of the accessories to my law firm), but I could not take my eyes off of how picturesque the army of photographers were, all in black, seated together, positioned at the end of the runway, click, click, clicking, pausing in unison when the models rounded the corner.

Here is a slideshow of pictures I took there with my iphone (I wished I had my other  quality digital camera).

Marisa and I headed backstage after the show to talk to Tia.  We were invited to an after party with the staff from Ports and Tia’s family and friends.


The Art of Fashion.  Over the last 10 years, in my practice of law and business consulting, one of my niche industries has been retail, particularly fashion.  I worked on my first retail case in 2004, representing Wedding World, a 17-store, retail bridal chain in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy that was later converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation.   When I worked for Meridian,  a turnaround firm, my most substantial engagement involved the turnaround of a regional retail furniture chain.

As most of us know, in this economic downturn the retail industry has suffered a hard hit.  Consequently, recently, I have paid particular attention to this industry.  Keep reading my blog for more insight regarding retail, from both a startup and turnaround perspective.

My friend Danielle Zinaich

Some business colleagues ask me, “So, are you into fashion?”  There are people who are into fashion and there are people are who INTO fashion; it is a spectrum.  I am the former.  I have always paid some attention to the fashion industry because one of my dearest and closest friends from high school Danielle Zinaich is a fashion model.

Danielle started out in a Pittsburgh agency, went to overseas when we graduated

Danielle Zinaich-my dear friend

from high school and then returned to the States.   A Weirton, WV native, she has attained and continues to attain (even at our old age) unfathomable heights of success in the fashion industry.   She has graced the covers of magazine all over the world and has modeled at New York’s Spring and Fall Fashion Week for decades.  Her campaigns have included The Gap, Limited, Maybelline, Old Navy, just to name a few (all stores where she and I would shop at teenagers at the  Steubenville Mall!!).  I will never forget attending her baby shower at the Chelsea hotel in NY in 2000.   Supermodels everywhere.  Kind of crazy how life turns out.  See some of her covers and print ads here.

I have always approached consumerism, shopping, retail, fashion, in an intellectual way too, trying to figure out why we buy what we buy, why we wear what we wear, what does what I wear say about me.  Fashion is art; fashion is an idea; fashion is a statement.  See interesting interview of Roberta Myers, Editor in Chief of Elle Magazine by Charlie Rose.  I like Roberta and her view.

So there you have it.  I have been intending to write a post on my Fashion Week experience but have been so busy with the new practice, I have not had a spare moment   !!!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Francesca permalink
    July 23, 2010 2:21 pm

    Salene, Great post. Glad to see you are enjoying so much successm



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