Date: May 22, 2007
Marketer: Gen Art, Eos Airlines, and slew of other brands
Venue: Hammerstein Ballroom
I am a T-shirt, jeans and sneakers kind of girl, so when Gen Art CEO Ian Gerard invited me to the Gen Art Styles 2007 Fashion and Awards show, the first thing I thought of was, "What will I wear?"
Each year Gen Art, an arts-and-entertainment organization that showcases emerging talent, produces a fashion show where up-and-coming designers from around the globe compete in a number of categories including menswear, accessories and evening wear. (Unlike last week's Wishbone fashion show, none of the models could snack on their outfits after strutting down the runway.)
Ah, the swag
Stepping onto the quick strip of red carpet spanning from outside Hammerstein Ballroom to the lobby, I was escorted to my seat, which gave me clear view of the runway. I rummaged the shiny black bag of swag from Gen Art and all its sponsors, including the Body Shop, New York Magazine and Perrier, to name a few.
Eos Airlines was the main sponsor of the event. The luxury high-end airline only flies 48 passengers at a time in 757 jumbo jets from New York to London. Each guest has a suite within the plane, complete with a seat that folds out into a 78-inch bed and 21 square feet of personal space. It is also known for its exclusive "blue velvet" rope service, where guests can feel like rock stars, as they are escorted from their car to the gate -- jumping security and check-in lines.
And Eos wanted to bring this experience to Gen Art. Using the same blue velvet ropes, the accessories on display for judging were closed off, as were the first few rows in front of the runway, providing "blue velvet areas in a very crowded atmosphere," said Roberto Lebron, director of corporate communications, Eos.
The airline also made sure VIP guests and the 10 judges, who decided the night's winners, were seating comfortably in lounge chairs laced with the Eos logo.
"We just took away the crowds," Mr. Lebron said.
Jet-setters and fashionistas
Gen Art says it caters to the jet-setters, fashionistas and the sophisticated. Aware of this demographic, Mr. Lebron and his Eos colleagues knew that Gen Art's Styles fashion show would be a venue for them to show off their lavish brand as well as support those guests who have been loyal to the company since its first flight in 2005.
"We're investing our dollars in supporting things they [Eos customers] do and Gen Art does that on a broader scale," said Adam Komack, senior VP-marketing, Eos. "It's to grow and help our guests grow as well."
And Eos nailed it. Hammerstein Ballroom was bustling with fashion industry bigwigs, models (professional and wannabe) and designers such as "Project Runway" season-one winner Jay McCarroll. Waitresses sporting either tight EoS black t-shirts (which were included in the swag bag) or white Peroni tops served seemingly limitless mimosas, Champagne, golden daiquiris and beer. Bartenders whipped up rum concoctions using one of the sponsoring spirits, Tommy Bahama Rum. Flashes went off echoed throughout the building as photographers tried to capture shots of the party.
Aside from Eos, Peroni was another Gen Art newbie sponsor. Because of its high-fashion identity as well as its large popularity in downtown New York's Meatpacking district, Gen Art decided sign on with Peroni instead of Stella Artois this year. Peroni "ambassador" Marco Seminaroti was happy with how well-received the beer was at the fashion show.
"Most of them were drinking Peroni because it's a drink that's very refreshing," Mr. Seminaroti said. "You have a lot of people drinking beer. ... They chose Peroni over mixed cocktail because it's the perfect drink to have in any location where you don't want to kill yourself with harder drinks."
DIY fashion show
Unlike Eos and Peroni, Perrier and Acura have been longtime supporters of the Gen Art Styles show. Acura brought one of their recent SUV models to the backstage after-party, where people can have their own faux fashion shoot. Each photo taken was displayed on two large plasma screens. Perrier made sure no one went thirsty with the endless bottles of sparkling water from their booth set up at one corner of Hammerstein's lobby as well as at the bar.
Surrounded by the high-end and fashion-forward, that this is the high-class, jet-setting lifestyle Eos was trying to target. And although I'll probably choose sneakers over stilettos, it was fun to experience a flashy night with fashion.