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Last night, the mysterious event-planning group LVHRD ("Live Hard") hosted their fifth annual fashion duel in Williamsburg. The theme this year: German one-hit-wonder Nena's apocalyptic protest song "99 Luftballoons." Accordingly, two sets of designers—Hannah Shaw, working with some friends, and the collective Love Brigade—were given 99 red balloons and instructed to make a dress that would bring about the end of the world. They had an hour in which to do it, and the entire process took place onstage.
The results: Radically different designing processes leading to radically different dresses, both of which were sort of amazing. Hannah Shaw, who told us she's used to working with unusual materials ("tree bark, hemp, chicken wire"), built an entire mylar-bodiced, balloon-skirted dress within fifteen minutes of the start time. Love Brigade, on the other hand, spent half their time planning, then used the last half hour to construct a hoop skirt stuffed with balloons.
Just when Shaw's party dress was beginning to seem excessively sweet and edgeless, she popped all of the balloons, explaining "It's the explosion that ends the world!" Then Love Brigade's model, who had "Fuck Death" written on her bodice, lifted her hoop skirt and let the balloons fly free. Suddenly the contrast felt very symbolic: Death and destruction versus life and joy. Death happened to be better made, so Shaw (who also told us "I've always been really into the idea of the apocalypse") won.
Steven Alan, by the way, was the special celebrity judge, and we had a very good time trying to imagine what he would have made out of balloons. "Oh, I could never participate in this," he said when we asked. "It would be very stressful for me. Even watching Project Runway makes me stressed out." We sympathize, but we think he'd be great.
· FSHNDL V: The End of the World — TONIGHT! [LVHRD]
· Love Brigade [Official Site]
· Hannah Shaw [Official Site]