LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas is a hotbed for glitter and shimmer. Even before you touch down in Sin City the lights of the mammoth man-made monstrosities - that erected anywhere else would be a sore to your eyes - signal you into a never-never land that suspends you in time and place.
Walk off the plane and through the McCarron Airport and the whistles, jingles and quirky digital bells of the slots welcome your arrival to a world that somehow is able to live in the vortex of rat-pack inspired culture of luxury and tacky, trashy gaudy gimcrack. It’s where men and women can return to their childhood exuberance but the playground is strictly adult.
Enter the PGA Expo. It’s a golfer’s wildest dream full of the newest equipment, fashion, gadgets and gizmos. While Orlando, “the happiest place on earth,” holds the primary position when it comes to showcasing golf wares, the more intimate Vegas expo emits a vibe that is amplified by the energy and buzz of the very venue.
The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino opens its Italianate doors to anyone wishing entry, but the site of the 2011 PGA Expo was nestled almost covertly inside one of the many ballrooms of the vast five-diamond property that sits on prime real estate on the Vegas strip.
That didn’t deter or derail more than 200 golf vendors, buyers, and media members from making their way from the casino into the show. In addition to the top names in golf equipment, training aids andaccessories, golf fashion turned heads as the expo coincided with Las Vegas“Fashion Week.” MRket, MODA and ACCESSORIES: The Show* were located in adjacent ballrooms at the Venetian, and a few miles away at Mandalay Bay, PROJECT, “the world’s preeminent contemporary fashion trade event” as they tout on their website, strutted models down runways in the latest consumer apparel looks for 2012.
I took in all the fashion I could fix my eyes on to see as many trends and looks as I could for what to expect next season. Gallivanting around the show floors much of the afternoon alongside Golf Digest’s Mr. Style Marty Hackel, a seasoned vet when it comes to golf apparel and all things fashion, I will tell you the fashion-focused golfer has hit it big! The golfer can take cues from the runway, but it’s the fairway where the styles have to be not only fashionable but functional. The apparel vendors at this year’s PGA Expo have the formula right.
Fifty percent of the showroom floor showcased 2012 spring fashion lines. Old school names in the industry like Bobby Jones, FILA, and adidas/Ashworth capitalized on an old school throwback style. While new names like Grace & Game and Kikkor Golf displayed a fresh new cutting-edge approach to links looks. It was common to see lines incorporate pops of color and neon hues with more understated traditional patterns and palettes. Lace was one of the trends seen in women’s apparel, while with the men, patches evoking European soccer leagues and athletic teams were a theme.
Much more to come as I break down the look books! But for the fairway fashionistas, we won big in the desert…and lucky for us, what happened in Vegas certainly won’t stay there as the runways take to the fairways in 2012.