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'Bushwick Zoo' Fashion Event Unleashes Designers' Animal Side

By Meredith Hoffman | August 30, 2012 4:22pm

BUSHWICK — With animal costumes, shimmering face paint, masks and acoustic guitars, a new Bushwick Fashion Week event hopes to put the "cat" in catwalk.

The "Bushwick Zoo" parade on Sept. 22, which winds throughout Bushwick and ends at organizer Nyssa Frank's space, the Living Gallery, will feature designers, performance art and food.

"People can go literally as animals, or they can take it more abstractly...we're all animals, we're all one and the same," Organizer Nyssa Frank said, adding that she hopes the spectacle is the first of many Bushwick Fashion Weekends.

She said she's decorated her gallery appropriately, with "the windows will be painted with bars like a zoo...and I'm hoping we'll have taxidermied animals."

Frank, who envisions the event as a more eclectic version of Williamsburg Fashion Weekend and Manhattan's Fashion Week, said her 5-month-old gallery would host a "cocoon" of dancers weaving "under huge stretchy fabric," a cardboard "life size naked average human body" with holes through which people could stick their heads, and blood sausages from the just-opened Southern joint Mama Joy's.

Designer Christina Walthall will also set up her sewing machine in the space, and Frank will display her own handmade apparel, from denim vests to floor-length gowns.

An after-party will move the crowd to Secret Project Robot down the street, Frank said.

"I see Bushwick Fashion Weekend as a time when Bushwick shops and galleries expres their styles and what Bushwick fashion is...something undefinable," she said.

"It's about an open mentality, not about money, who you are or who you know," Frank claimed. "It's about who has the best costume."

The Bushwick Zoo will occur the weekend after Fashion Week on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 3 — 8 p.m. at the Living Gallery on 1087 Flushing Ave. The after-party will be at Secret Project Robot on 389 Melrose St. Admission is free.