Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week San José: A Story

Have you ever been to a fashion show? A Mercedes-Benz fashion show?

Well, I have. And the first thing that you think about is what to wear. It’s a fashion show. By definition, you have to be fashionable. But what does fashionable even mean? Is it wearing what is currently trending? Is it wearing what will be trending next year? Is it wearing classics that might not be “on trend” in the moment, but that are socially accepted to be okay?

And what does any of this mean when standing in front of your closet trying to decide what to wear?

The trees outside the runway. Photo credit to Antonio @itsantob

In anticipation of the opening night of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week San José 2018 (whew, that is a mouthful), I had the same dilemma. I am not the most daring of creatures, so I went with a classic floral sheath dress and heeled black boots. I am not a fashionista by trade, I am a storyteller. I’m not meant to stand out, I’m meant to observe those who stand out.

The enchanted forest. Photo credit to NINFO Swimwear @ninfoswimwear

I attended MBFWSJ 2018 intending to tell its story.

This story has some key players. Presented by MasterCard, and produced by LIFE productions, and sponsored by the greats of Mercedes-Benz, MasterCard, Heineken, and Johnny Walker, this fashion week had all of the brains, determination, and intent to be the event of the season.

But, like myself and hundreds of other guests, MBFWSJ also stood in front of its closet and wondered what it was going to wear.

Light show. Photo credit to Deyshell @deyshell

MBFWSJ was dressed to kill.

Just as fashionistas, bloggers, TV presenters, architects, YouTubers, and politicians came dressed by designers such as Efraín Mogollón, Saúl E. Méndez, Juan Carlos Obando, and Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, MBFWSJ came dressed by the best.

MBFWSJ was dressed by Pulse Design Studio, in collaboration with architectural genius, Studio Saxe, an up and coming studio known for constructing high-end boutique hotels and millionaire villas.

Where I went classic with my wardrobe, MBFWSJ went for sensation. Modern minimalism meets organic natural splendor. Digital art meets architecture-inspired decoration. Spectacular LED light panels meet breathtaking, intricate tree motifs.

That is my poetic, fashionable description. But what did really I see? I saw an enchanted forest.

It was gorgeous.

A dream in blue. Photo credit to Deyshell @deyshell

It transported you to a different world.

Isn’t that the point of all Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks? To transport you from mundane life to a world of excitement, breathlessness, mystery, and exposition. And who better to embody this spirit, than the show in San José, Costa Rica, a paradise graced by sun, sand, and palm trees? And they did it spectacularly, as evidenced by the awed eyes and hushed voices of all who entered the main area of the fashion show. It really did take your breath away. And that isn’t even mentioning the abundance of pictures on Instagram. It was a singularly Instagram-worthy event.

But the MBFWSJ didn’t settle with being beautiful, They wanted to tell their story too.

I sat down on the edge of my chair, elaborate, yet minimalist trees spreading their architectural branches above my head, simple white panels shining with the blue light that suffused the entire room. The light panels on the walls, provided just the right amount of stimulus without being overwhelming. There was no doubt what we were there for. As the show started, the crowd hushed and green motes of light sprinkled across the panels.

Under the moon. Photo credit to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week @mbfwsj

A story of enchantment

The moon hung, impossibly huge and detailed at the front of the room. Music, light, visuals, and awe mixed to make us forget where we were, forget the outside world, and focus on just being there and enjoying the moment. Lights, like stars, winked all around us. We forgot about the people sitting around us. All that existed was that moon, those lights, and what was about to happen.

Then the room was awash with red, the suddenness of it brilliant as once again, our breath caught in our throats. Passionate red shown from the walls, the simple panels glowed with it. And the show began.

A vision in red. Photo credit to Deyshell @deyshell

A story of passion

Spanish seductresses and fierce bull fighters, created by Carmiña Romero, stalked around the U-shaped runway, souls ignited with ardor. Bright colors paired with bright white, sleek skirts and tasteful ruffles. Faces stoic, and hair in utilitarian low buns, the models meant business. The music swells, the lights fade.

A story of juxtaposition

Together with a hard techno beat, come John Howard’s models with neat beards and upswept hair. Casual elegance and carefully uncaring faces bring out the masculinity of green, grey, mustard yellow jackets, shirts, and capes. Chiseled jaws and steel eyes leave, the lights fade.

A story of contrast

Efraín Mogollón is the first designer to prefer simple white light panels and deep, soulful music. There is no distracting from the story of sweetness and danger, played out in soft ivory satins, ruffles, and pale pink gloss that slowly bleeds to deep, dark velvets on sharply contoured muses. There is a story of light and darkness, ivory and ebony, hard and soft. Unsure of the winner, the light fades.

A story of adventure

In a change, green light motes dance along the walls, and drums fill the air, chanting driving the energy, as Saúl E. Méndez’s rugged looks start slouching across the runway, rough-spun, yet refined, garments with backpacks making way for casual blazers and board shorts. Finishing with blue electricity and an urban beat, the lights fade.

A story of heartbreak

At first, no one knows what is happening. No one announces the last designer, Juan Carlos Obando. A few lights shine in the darkness, and mist rises from the floor. Visions in red, white, peach, velvety black, and satiny ivory float through the mist, features blurred as if in a dream. A Spanish voice joins the violins, crying about love lost, but never forgotten, as hearts break and heels click. Black, white, and turquoise dresses flow off shoulders, and float around the room. Fabric flows over muscled legs, and long straight hair flows down open backs. You feel this show in your soul. The vision comes to an end, and the lights fade, the mist settles.

The dream ends.

We stand, a smile gracing each and every guest’s lips. Eyes shine. Hearts are full. We leave. Some chatter to each other about the story we just lived. Others walk slowly, with small smiles, and introspective eyes. MBFW is about telling transporting people into a world they didn’t expect.

In the light of day. Photo credit to Deyshell @Deyshell

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week San José did that, and more. They transported us into a story, one with players in design, muses, lights, and ambiance.

In the end, it didn’t matter what I wore. I was not a player in the story. I was an observer. The event would have transported me no matter what I wore. Because it was a story well-designed and executed. It was a story created by masters.

It was a story that I, for one, will cherish. It’s not every day that I have my breath taken away in an enchanted forest, after all.

Originally published at Kat Andersson.

Storyteller — I turn my life into little pieces of fiction. And I turn fantasy into little pieces of reality.