Art: The quality, produced expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
Topia: An affix, meaning a place with specified characteristics; denotes a state of being in a place or location.
Culture: The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.
On January 26th, the Dallas Observer hosted it’s third annual Artopia event, billed as, “An upscale celebration of Dallas Art that incorporates food, drink, art, music, theater, and fashion into one evening; a sensory overload of culture, fashion, visual arts, performing arts, and more.”
An underwhelming sensory overload it was. An upscale celebration of Dallas art is was not.
Upon entering the event, we walked into an environment both dizzying and confusing. Any kind of art that was being celebrated was certainly outdone by loud, pounding music, flashing rave lights, and lines of promo tables. The crowds seemed more interested in getting their photos taken and drinking for free than appreciating art.
We stayed (rather than bee-lining back to the car) due to the fact that Artopia aimed to beef up its fashion focus this year. Sadly, it fell short in many aspects.
Designs by Lucy Dang
The runway – all six feet of it – hosted the work of local designers Lucy Dang, Shemara Couture, Ladaska Mechelle and Tre LaVoux Couture, in a back corner of the space. No seating was available for the cramped audience.
While the fashion itself was interesting enough (especially Lucy Dang’s feminine ensembles) the set-up and some of the styling decisions created a feel that was sophomoric and disorganized. Instead of showcasing the talents of these hard-working Dallas designers, the circus-like atmosphere made it impossible to focus on the fashion.
Rather, fashion became another aspect of the cultural mash-up that was Artopia.
Designs by Shemara Couture
Dallas and the people here are, for the most part, sophisticated and culturally aware. Any residents of our city who are informed of and interested in participating in the culture (see definition above) of DFW would not consider The Observer’s event a worthwhile occasion.
Don’t get us wrong. This is not to say that people weren’t having fun; they were. The kind of fun being had, however, had nothing to do with art or culture or fashion. Sadly these terms seem to have functioned as mere buzz words to get people excited about something that didn’t exist in any real way at this particular event.
(All photos, credit Heather Lettieri for DFW Style Daily)