Special recognition for the softest soft-sell of the month goes to Polaroid for its April 28 Event

: "Image by

Design." Held at Parsons School of Design in conjunction with
New York City's Fashion Marketing Week, Polaroid's "Image" was a fashion show, product demo, photo exhibit, and "celebration of the creative spirit" blended, or maybe thrown, together into one visual presentation. As Polaroid's own press release queried, "What is Polaroid doing in the fashion business?" We wondered as much ourselves, but to no avail. Said Director of Publicity Eelco Wolf, "We are celebrating the drama of the visual, and the excitement created by innovative design, in instant photography and in fashion" Accept that as an explanation if you can, but fact was that whatever Polaroid's motivation, the Event as a whole was exciting and, more importantly, Different. Attended mainly by the New York fashion press and the women's service magazines' ADs and editors, the show spotlighted the clothing designs of three young sartorial whippersnappers: Anna Sui, Vivienne Tam, and Steven Sprouse. Not being of the fashion press, I am not obligated to wax enthusiastic. Suffice it to say that Tam and Sui went the way of bag-lady chic, while Sprouse drew inspiration from those glorious locales where men are men and women are unwelcome. Unlike the other designers' fall collections that graced Manhattan's runways that week, Polaroid's presentation included Harvard Ph.D. Virginia Rice speaking on women's problems with self-image and how instant snaps can help the ladies out; teacher John Schaefer on the natural sophistication of childrens' design sense as manifested through the kiddies' SX-70s; and wacky visual artist Iain Baxter urging us all to "upset the applecart," hopefully while Polaroiding the whole process. All this philosophizing was led off by a dynamic slide show of Sun Series 600 fashion work by Douglas Hopkins (described in Pola-PR as a "nice guy," but don't hold it against him). Hopkins also shot the 20 20 x 24s of Sui, Tam and Sprouse's samples that adorned the walls. On hand at Image with Polaroid technician John Reuter and Senior Publicity Specialist Diane Bair. Hopkins and the impressive 20 x24 were stationed in the auditorium's back recesses to capture eager attendees' images after the show. Response was enthusiastic, as 300 members of the press elbowed each other aside to claim the seamless for a one-of-a-kind portrait from the Big Camera. Hopkins shot for several hours, until the supply of ASA 64 20 x24 color material was exhausted, as was Hopkins, no doubt. Was Image by Design successful in getting Polaroid's target audience of magazine ADs and fashion press people to "think Polaroid?" Apparently. Diane Bair described the response as "fantastic" and added that many people "said it was one of the most creative shows they'd ever seen" So, if your next job calls for a Polaroid as the final, now you'll know why. Additional credits for Image go to Kezia Keeble for coordinating the production and for helping to select the up-and-coming designers; to Click for supplying 28 of the 29 models; and to Lydia Snyder and Louis Alonzo (of Pipino-Buccheri) for makeup and hair, respectively. Incidentally, I continue to hear rumors about the possibility of a permanent installation of one of the Big Cameras in the Big Apple, so if you New Yorkers are interested, lobby the Pola-folks. The camera costs $600 a day to rent and about $40 a pop for materials.

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