WHAT’S IN YOUR CLOSET: New York City’s “Queen of the Night” Susanne Bartsch will debut her Bartschland collection Friday night at Runway 7, during New York Fashion Week. About 600 people are expected to be in the crowd at Sony Hall.
”In typical Bartsch-style, I didn’t plan any of it,” she said. “My FIT exhibition came about in that way as well. I said to Valerie Steele, ‘This would be a good thing to do — show club people wearing things and actually living life in them rather than just show things that show the talent of a designer,'” referring to her 2015 “Fashion Underground” show at the Museum at FIT.
The Bartschland collection’s inspiration sprang from sifting through boxes and folders filled with invitations, posters and fliers from Bartsch-hosted events at the Copacabana, the Delano Miami and other locales, as well as the invitation to her 1995 wedding to David Barton. Inspired and nostalgic for that artwork from the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s, she created collage prints from them and worked with a friend, who has a manufacturing facility in Peru. The open-sized, gender-fluid interchangeable styles are all about the prints. One jacket, for example, has a collaged print that includes a few cocktail recipes as they had appeared on the invitation for the “Libations” party she hosted in the late ’80s.
As for where it will be sold, Bartsch said she has no idea — yet. Buyers, of course, are welcome to attend the show and can place orders afterward for spring deliveries. Bartschland will also be sold online. “This just happened really fast. The clothes showed up two weeks ago,” Bartsch said. “I haven’t gone out to try to sell it all. It just happened now.”
Her pandemic closet cleaning led to the collage prints and the Peruvian manufacturing connection and a Runway 7 Fashion contact created a certain happenstance. Stylist Phil Gomez is collaborating with Bartsch, too, for what is billed as the “Look” collection. “It’s like the dots were connecting perfectly. If I had had to find someone to do all of this for me, it would not have happened,” she said.
Bartsch will have some of her New York nightlife friends walk in the show. Elements of her burlesque show will be included as well. Bartsch is also including the work of six “very cool underground” designers — Casey Caldwell, Dope Tavio, Guvanch, Jessica Jade, Kim Mesches and Sho Konishi. “It’s just about giving a platform to people who are talented but don’t have any exposure,” she said.
As for her outlook on fashion, Bartsch said with a laugh. “I don’t really think about it. It’s much more relaxed. Look at what all of the couture houses are doing. In a way, it is going more toward street, if that’s the right word for it. It’s not as serious anymore. The whole thing is more relaxed. You don’t have to have a multibillion-dollar backer behind you because of the different platforms and social media anymore. It’s like people don’t need agents anymore. They can do things by Instagram.”