April 20, 2024

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Coveteur’s Culture Editor Records Her First NYFW

10 min read

Wednesday, February 7th

“You look new,” a man told me after offering to light my cigarette outside the Interview Mag x Equinox party at Casino. I couldn’t tell if this was a dig at my arguably parochial turtleneck or if the post-flight fatigue gave me an uncharacteristically dazed air. I doubt it was a compliment—I’ve never heard of a nearly 30-year-old ingénue. Either way, he wasn’t wrong: this was my first time at New York Fashion Week.

I’d arrived at the event at 11 p.m., fresh from LAX. Having only consumed JetBlue’s pop chips and a few small plastic cups of ginger ale in the last 24 hours, I was praying the party would at least have some hors d’oeuvres I could graze on. As I politely elbowed my way toward the bar, I saw two mustachioed male models do some discreet key bumps and thought to myself, “damn, this definitely isn’t going to be a food crowd.”

Courtesy of BFA

I scan the partygoers and the first familiar face I see is Alan Cumming’s (I don’t actually know him, but I consider his performance as Floop in Spy Kids a tour-de-force). I look at who he’s talking to, and I see an actual familiar face: Jordan Emanuel. I worked at Playboy for over three years, and Jordan was our 2019 Playmate of the Year. I catch up with Jordan. We reminisce on the “good ol’ days” and exchange catty gossip about Playboy’s C-Suite team.

I was too hungry and the crowd was making me fussy, so I made my way to the exit. Shoving through the dense and incredibly attractive horde, I passed Sophia Lamar and Christeene (proper New York icons). I bummed another cigarette from a very kind man whose name I forgot, and he started up a conversation with me about the Nan Goldin photo on my Medea bag. Hari Nef sidled up with a pack of cigarettes; she pointed at the Goldin photo and said, “He cuts my hair” (referring to Jimmy Paul, the subject of said photo). I introduced myself, and she held out her hand in such a way that I couldn’t tell whether to kiss it or shake it. Feeling tired and charmless, I grabbed her palm from the side and rang it like a bell. Jeremy O’Harris and Natasha Lyonne came to join Hari. Afraid of confessing my love to Lyonne, I took great pains to keep my mouth shut.

As I waited for my Uber, I eavesdropped on all the conversations transpiring outside the party. “I loved you in that Scpiarelli gown.” “Thank you!” “Did you see Taylor Swift’s Scapierelli outfit at the Grammys?” “Leave it to Taylor to make Scapierelli look cheap. And that watch choker?” “What about those fucking fisting gloves she was wearing?!” Well, someone had to say it.

Courtesy of BFA

Thursday, February 8th

I started the day with an editorial meeting to outline our NYFW coverage at our New York offices in SoHo. I had been told a week prior that we would be covering Elena Velez’ show on Sunday—a show with very limited and competitive press access. I was informed it would be a “salon-style” conversation about the book Little Women. As a diligent journalist, I had pushed my glasses up my nose and spent the preceding week re-familiarizing myself with the March family. Remembering Velez’ mud-wrestling spectacle last year, I was confounded as to how she was going to make this family-centered novel on genteel poverty an edgy spectacle, but hey, artists are nothing if not surprising.

During that Thursday meeting, I received the official press briefing and realized I had a bone to pick with my boss. “It’s not Little Women. It’s Gone with the Wind!He said, “Oh yeah, some kind of book like that.” With two days left to prepare, I would have to rely on Wikipedia and my memory of reading the book in 5th grade to prepare me for the salon. I also subscribe to a few film podcasts and was fully informed of the film’s disastrous production and Hattie McDaniel’s historical Oscar win (and the Academy’s accompanying heinous treatment of her).

A few hours later, the editor group chat is ablaze when our Senior Style Editor says, “I was talking to another journalist about the EV show—turns out there’s a rumor going around that it’s Antebellum-themed. They’re scared to touch it.” I looked at the call sheet we were emailed. The only names I recognize are the two hosts of the controversial podcast Red Scare. I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach—this had all the makings of edgelord showboating. We just had to wait and see.

After a long day of work, I decided to pop across the street to paw through the Courrèges store (we don’t have one in LA yet). I’ve had my eye on a leather mini skirt that’s never in my size on The RealReal. I tried on their signature skirt and cropped jacket pairing. “Love the skirt, but the jacket is a bit snug,” I told the shop assistant. He replied, “It’s supposed to be worn open, so it fits best a bit small.” I blurt, “Well, Fran wore it buttoned up on The Nanny!” Regardless of whether or not I was right about the jacket (I was), I knew the set was out of my budget, so I said a sweet goodbye to that perfect mini skirt.

Friday, February 9th

I arrived backstage at Willy Chavarria’s show around 2:15pm to interview hairstylist Joey George on his concept for the show (I interviewed him over the course of five shows during NYFW; you can read the full editorial here). I was then whisked through a sea of PAs carting lighting equipment, PR girlies texting feverishly, and models kiki-ing with MUAs and photographers. I had a quick interview with Joey George as he prepared to mount a dramatic red wig on a model named Erica, who was playing “Mother of the Haus” on both the runway and in Chavarria’s film Safe From Harm. George is charming and eloquent (I love when my interviewees speak in sentences I barely have to edit from the transcript). As models were being photographed for the lookbook, I got a preview of Chavarria’s collection—cowboy hats, wool, houndstooth, leather biker jackets, and details with Catholic overtones. Stunning.

Joey George backstage at Willy Chavarria.

Andie Eisen

A lovely PR girl named Ellen saw me eyeing a table display of perfume and swooped in to give me a sample. She explained that Willy paired with Perfumes de Marly to elect ‘Haltane’ as the signature scent of the show. “It’s a citrus oud. It’s technically a men’s perfume, but it feels very unisex. The contrast between light, dark, radiant, and shadow–it’s really bringing Willy’s experience into a 360-degree creative vision,” she explained. “Like Smell-O-Vision?” I asked. She indulged me with a, “Yes, exactly like Smell-O-Vision.” She told me they are planning to scent the entire show. Having seen the cavernous size of the warehouse, I asked how they were going to achieve this. She said they were going to simply spray about 15-20 bottles on everything in sight. “Don’t let anyone light a cigarette in there,” I cautioned. She laughed, but I wasn’t joking–after all, Zoolander is basically a documentary about the fashion industry.

Models backstage at Willy Chavarria.

Andie Eisen

Saturday, February 10th

I arrived at the Lapointe show at 3 p.m. in NoHo. As a non-influencer and non-celeb, I utilized my cloak of anonymity to shamelessly eat an XL almond croissant as the guests settled in for the show. It left streaks of powdered sugar all over my pants, but given the circumstances, I could easily be mistaken for a sloppy party girl who pulled an all-nighter. The show featured a loosely interpreted “Back to School” theme–very Jenna Rink if you ask me.

Lapointe

Andie Eisen

Runway finale at Lapointe

Andie Eisen

I strolled over to St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery to see the Dauphinette show at 5 p.m. I met up with our Social Editor, Sarah, and Newsletter Editor, Maraya, and collectively we oooo’d and ahhhh’d over each meticulously crafted detail in Cheng’s designs.

Sarah and Maraya at Dauphinette

Andie Eisen

Dauphinette

Sarah Lou Kiernan

Dauphinette

Sarah Lou Kiernan

After dinner and drinks, I threw on a leather dress and a pair of heels before trotting off to Brooklyn for KidSuper’s “formal attire” opening party. I was meant to attend with a colleague, but they had such a bad date earlier in the evening they needed to go home (been there). The party was in full swing when I arrived, and the new storefront looked inviting and delightfully kitsch. I had a glass of wine and chatted with two PR girls on the terrace. Emboldened by a few drinks each, we overshared about our lives and gave each other advice in the form of girlbossy platitudes we knew none of us would follow.

Sunday, February 11th

Trying to make the most of my time in New York, I bought a ticket to a matinee show of Cole Escola’s play Oh Mary! at the Lucille Lortel Theater. As a longtime fan of Escola’s comedy, I knew their reimagining of Mary Todd Lincoln as a crass, alcoholic floozy with aspirations of becoming a cabaret star would be an unmissable spectacle. The show was a deftly-crafted display of camp with a sitcom-like penchant for low-brow punchlines and farcical plot twists, and Escola’s cartoonish facial expressions paired with a Mary Todd wig were enough to elicit belly-laughs from the audience on multiple occasions. Knowing I had the hotly gossiped-about Gone with the Wind salon later that night for Elena Velez, I felt Oh Mary! was a suitable pregame for my increasingly civil-war-themed Sunday.

At 6 p.m., I took an Uber uptown to the Elena Velez show. Camile and I spent nearly six hours at the Upper East Side townhouse home for Velez’ lookbook shoot and the following salon conversation about Gone with the Wind. I would spend the next two days writing a comprehensive review that was ultimately killed right before publishing. Alas, the internal politics of the fashion world are sometimes simply out of your hands. For all the things I’m not allowed to say, I highly recommend Rachel Tashjian’s review for the Washington Post. What I can say is that for the sake of myself and everyone involved, I really wish it had been Little Women-themed after all.

Elena Velez Salon

Andie Eisen

Elena Velez Salon

Andie Eisen

Elena Velez Salon

Andie Eisen

Monday, February 12th

I stopped by the Diotima showcase after working at our SoHo offices. Models were staged in a white cube gallery in Chelsea, rotating around the perimeter to show off the designer’s signature crocheted designs. I saw Joey George in the crowd and interrupted his conversation to get a few soundbites about the hair styling. He broke down how he achieved the jellyfish-inspired silhouettes that mirrored the designer’s new collection (read more here). We chatted briefly about the imminent return of sidebangs before I had to skip out to make a dinner reservation back in Tribeca.

Diotima

Sarah Lou Kiernan

Wednesday, February 14th

I woke up at 6:30 a.m. to attend my final backstage interview with Joey George at the Alejandra Alonso Rojas show at Casa Cipriani. We made our way through the labyrinth of backstage hallways until we got to the palatial staging area. I drifted around the craft services and snapped some shots of the collection on the rack. After putting the finishing touches on the models, George walked me through the naturalistic, girl-on-the-go styling inspired by Peter Lindbergh’s photographic work (read more here).

The show started and Alejandra’s fall looks employed naturalist colors and foliage-printed designs. I could write it off with a Miranda Priestly-esque: “Leaves? For Fall? Groundbreaking,” but the collection transcended predictability with its beautiful women’s suits, delicate knits, and unconventional silhouettes. I knew the white, elbow-length leather gloves worn to push up the sleeves of an oversized green sweater would give Camille “awoooga” eyes—it certainly did.

Courtesy of Alejandra Alonso Rojas

Backstage at Alejandra Alonso Rojas

Andie Eisen

I spent the rest of the afternoon in the office, carefully poring over drafts of bottomless fashion week editorials. A coworker mentioned heading off to a Valentine’s Day dinner with her fiancé, and I couldn’t help but reminisce about my missed connection from six days prior. How could I let her go? I couldn’t go back to LA without seeing her at least one more time. Leaving work at 7:00pm with no plans ahead, I followed my heart across the street to be reunited with my one true Valentine: the black patent-leather mini skirt at Courrèges. She’s everything I’ve been looking for, and I didn’t want to lose her again. I did the cursory math in my head to figure out how many therapy appointments I would need to cancel to break even. It came out to six weeks, which I deemed manageable. I took the plunge, and I have no regrets. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness was a damn fool.

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