What would one say of a Motley's Crüe of New Yorker's filling up a studio space in the famed Garment District/Hell's Kitchen on an overcast late summer evening at the end of Fashion Week? Some New Yorkers might say 'eh' and shuffle on being as oblivious as a classically unbothered Big Apple native. Some other inquisitive folks may be too busy looking for modern social media personalities and questionable overnight sensations. However, both groups may miss the bigger picture. On September 14th in the quaint tucked away confines of EZ Studios, there assembled a curated collective of models, beauty artists, clothing & jewelry designers, singers, bloggers, editors, photographers, art directors, food & alcohol vendors, stylists, artists, creative directors and writers. The bigger picture is that the attendees of this soiree make the city what it is. What is this city? The city is a melting pot and an enduring collective of people, talents and ideas that are consistently seeking to preserve ways for everyone all in the name of opportunity and expression.
Before Disney, McDonald's and AMC Theaters moved in, the Hell's Kitchen area was the stuff that trip cancellations to visit New York City were made of. Drugs, prostitution and crime seemed to illumine the area as did the seedy peep-show lights back then. Well times change. While many say the city has become a petri-dish for the wealthy and an overcrowded mass of frustration, gridlock, subway delays and at-capacity reservation lists, to roll with the punches, while exhausting, speaks to the dexterity of New Yorkers. The sense I got when perusing through the September 2016 Issue 21 of W42St Magazine was that this is New York.
Appropriately dubbed The Style Issue, W42St Magazine's September 2016 not only brought some redemptive stylish street cred back to the "wicked West Side" but the aforementioned creatives at EZ Studios that evening also helped bring the story full-circle. See what makes neighborhoods run together are the collective contributions of all its inhabitants. Now put that in the context of a magazine that celebrates a neighborhood. Those creatives came together to assemble this recent Style Issue of W42St Magazine under the creative direction of Mykel C. Smith and christened the issue in the true essence of the magazine with fashion, art, music, food, drink and camaraderie.
This event to celebrate the issue was appropriately held towards the end of fashion week when everyone was seeking a chance to just deprogram and unwind. However, the influences that keep cool New York City neighborhoods going were not toned down. Refreshing wines from Cloud Nine, rum from newcomer Stolen Rum offering up its deep-smoky flavor, a smooth and sinewy live R&B performance from Grammy Award-winning beauty Kendra Foster bedecked in lovely jewelry from Jane Kaye and the non-stop flavorful sounds that moved the crowd from Cloak Dagger all conspired together to make for a materialized embodiment of what this Style Issue was all about. To add to the experience, Smith organized awesome gift bags with items from companies like the quirky Enchanted Beauty and the tech-friendly HandL to make the attendees' stomp through the city a bit more palatable.
The W42St Magazine Style Issue followed in the spirit of its namesake which took fashion, art, deals, culture and diversity (modern Hell's Kitchen) and seemed to somehow update the sex, seediness, grit and aggression (old Hell's Kitchen) into sensuality, beauty, edginess and accessibility. Redefining and bouncing back beautifully without missing a beat, isn't that essentially New York?
The W42St Magazine Issue 21 Style Issue is still available now at any hotel, restaurant, health/fitness club in Hell's Kitchen and at this link here.
*All Photos courtesy of Dave Mack www.fanbro.com