Austin: City of Event Planners.
The number of immense, yet minutely planned social events continues to proliferate in Austin. Political campaigns and state governance started the trend more than 100 years ago. Higher education, collegiate sports and tech businesses followed.
While music, movies, media, arts, food, fashion and other creative fields started as grassroots efforts, their work was soon translated into elaborate social festivals overseen by indigenous event planners.
South by Southwest, for instance, lassoes music, film and tech into a 10-day event one magazine writer recently dubbed an annual Woodstock for twenty- and thirty-somethings. C3 and — on a smaller scale — Transmission Entertainment have gone from promoting club acts to staging mammoth outdoor festivals. C3 is, in fact, the gold standard nationally and its has organized presidential events larger than anything held here.
It’s been fun watching C3 pick up other local naturals, such as the Austin Food and Wine Festival, a case study in listening to feedback and turning a near-disaster into a masterpiece in just one year.
Austin Fashion Week does not match the complexity of any of these events, but Matt Swinney and Launch787 have improved this showcase for our style scene significantly year after year. The mid-week runway shows and markets, for instance, have moved into the otherwise underused La Zona Rosa, echoing the pop-up clubs set there during Formula One (another example of seamless Austin event planning, although much of the expertise was imported).
For the runway show, the old music venue was arranged so all eyes focused on a U-shaped runway flanked by shallow rows of seats. Areas for standing and lounging rose above these seated zones. Every guest was guaranteed a pretty good view of the eight collections on view this night. The production values, for the most part, were top notch. Go elsewhere for provocative fashion criticism, but I’ll admit I was most impressed by L.A.M.B.’s fascinating patterns and construction, edgy but wearable outfits.