Remember when Kim Kardashian broke the internet? This last week I experienced something far more meaningful and eye-worthy when Neiman Marcus’ Ken Downing broke the runway in Seattle (er Bellevue to be exact). What do I mean by that? Obviously, he didn’t literally break it because the man is slender. What I mean is that he took my love of fashion and the runway, and pretty much threw it on the ground and showed me how it was done. Or, for the sports minded it was like he blocked a shot in basketball with an emphatic “get that out of here”. The whole fashion show at Neiman Marcus was on such a different level that I don’t think I can ever look at them the same again. Here’s the why and how it was such a great experience.
How Neiman Marcus’ Ken Downing Broke the Runway in Seattle
Who is Ken Downing? For those not in the know, he’s the Senior VP and Fashion Director at Neiman Marcus, and he’s amazing. I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t know a lot about him before this event. Like how he graduated from Seattle Central and is from Burien, WA (holler!), or how he tackled the fashion industry with ambition and grace to get where he is. Many of the fashions that you wear today could have been because Ken Downing had a hand in it.
I actually thought I was going to a meet and greet, so when I came down the escalator at Neiman’s (amidst thousands of origami-like butterflies) and saw a bright pink runway and a glass of rose I knew this was something special.
Here are just some of the reasons why this show (and Ken Downing) were everything.
He was IN the show.
Literally. The whole show he was working the runway while he was describing the fashion. Even before the show started he was walking up and down that pink carpet talking to his audience. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen fashion introduced like that. Almost like he was walking with the models, or chasing them in the best way possible.
The Storytelling Was Superb
Just because he was physically in the show doesn’t ensure greatness. It was what he was saying and how he was saying it that made the fashion come to life and created excitement. Which is what any good storyteller can do. Like his Aunt Eunice that used to go out with umbrellas on Capitol Hill for protection. I could just picture her as he was interweaving her story with the look he was introducing :-D.
The Fashion and Lessons Were Brilliant
When Print Goes Too Far It’s At Its Absolute Best
You get into trouble when you mildly mix prints. Go for it!
Pile on the Jewelry
When your finger is so heavy that it can’t take the weight, and there is no more surface area for rings, that’s when you stop. Load it up! Don’t be afraid to mix in costume pieces either.
Fashion Should Make You Feel Good
Rules really don’t apply. In the end, it’s what makes you smile when you step out of your door.
Seasons Don’t Matter
Wear suede in the summer, or a big jacket, or white any time of year!
More is More, Less is a Bore
I loved this quote of his and blogger/makeup artist Mimi Banasik wrote up this wonderful post on why that phrase is now her mantra. You can also catch a backstage sneak peek on her blog since she did all the eyebrows for the models :).
He Gave a Fall Trend Report
Platform Shoes and the Seventies (still)
Denim and Laser Cut Denim Hems
Bomber Jackets Over Everything
I am sooo excited about this trend. My hunt for the perfect bomber jacket starts now.
Fabric Wrapped Around Booties
Lace is Still Big
I have a thing for lace, and when I saw this Chloe dress (with wings!) my heart about leapt out of my chest. So beautiful!! It was my favorite look of the show.
He Rolled With It
When something needed an adjustment, Ken jut took care of it ;). I love how he seems like a perfectionist and yet laid back at the same time.
Unfortunately, the show got off to a late start and I had to leave slightly early to get back to work (from glamour to gingivitis, a day in the life of this blogger/dental hygienist). I was bummed to miss his last couple of looks, but even more downcast that I didn’t get the chance to meet him afterward and snag photo ops like my blogger friends. However, I’ll take 45 minutes of a Ken Downing show over none at all anytime!
I would place my bets that if I spent time with him IRL, he’s just as fun, colorful, daring and inspiring as his fashion :).
For more on this fabulous show check out 7 Things I Learned From Ken Downing from Obsessed by Portia. You can also check out his Instagram account @KenDowningNM or his very active Periscope @KenDowning
What are your favorite looks from the show or trends you’re excited about?