Foregoing a traditional runway show, Elena Velez counter programmed the Super Bowl with a costumed literary salon on Sunday night, calling it “an opportunity to bring the fashion industry into my community of writers and podcasters, public intellectuals, poets and philosophers.” (Full disclosure, I did not make it — not because of football; I just ran out of steam.)
By way of explanation, Velez chatted by phone about her affinity for academic and social critic Camille Paglia and her 1990 book “Sexual Personae.” “I love all the unconventional ways she talks about womanhood and the history of femininity, and how she speaks about Scarlett O’Hara as a very dynamic proposal of past and present,” she said of the latest anti-heroine to be reexamined through her work and during the salon, where a discussion of “Gone With the Wind” was led by “Red Scare” podcaster Anna Khachiyan.
Velez dressed attendees in lusty romantic looks that ranged from a cream silk corset over a high slit cascading ruffle skirt to a Southern belle-but-sexually-liberated busty off-the-shoulder gown, incorporating expensive silks and lowly acetate curtain fabrics, or all the “scraps and splendors” for which the Midwestern creative is known.
“I guess I’m a method actress, I like to create with the same hand and technique as my source of inspiration,” she said.
As a young, independent designer, Velez has been vocal about her financial struggles, but she was able to find sponsorship for the event from indie publishers Passage Publishing and Encounter Books, Ace Hotels and the new social media platform guide:human, which describes itself as a place to share ideas “free from trolling and clickbait,” among others.
“What’s cool is I have been able to build a parallel economy of people excited by my work. I’m fascinated with how we can move fashion into other cultural contexts that wouldn’t identify with fashion immediately but have a care for aesthetics,” she said, bringing up a vehicle for young designers to make money through events and the hospitality space, perhaps. (What if she’d charged admission?) “A lot of people are excited about it who are writers, publishing houses, publication companies and magazines.”
Velez expects EV Salon 001 to be the first in a series.
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