milly 2013

You should only go to one fashion show. Just one. Save yourself for one.

Not because I was brainwashed by the speech about how you should save yourself for only one so it’s special that makes up abstinence teaching in high school. I don’t believe sex is like a pizza slice and if you share it with a lot of people then you have . . . a really weird pizza party. A culinary adventure, that’s what I guess you have.

I do believe you should go to only one fashion show because attending fashion shows is awful.

You know how Hemingway said that whenever he imagined heaven he always saw the action taking place at the Paris Ritz?

Whenever I imagine hell, I imagine Fashion Week at Lincoln Center.

No matter how cool you feel going to the show – and I looked tired, and I was also kind of sweaty because that morning I actually thought “fuck the man making me pay 30% more! I’m not even going to use deodorant!” – you will feel uncool as soon as you step through the doors. You will instantly see people who look much better than you. They will be skinnier and they will be taller and they will have all the physical traits you wished you had. They will also be better dressed. It is like suddenly being the uncool kid in the cafeteria again as soon as you enter, but this time everyone is trying to overcompensate by shouting about how important they are into their cell phones. So, you know, it’s much louder.

You know what made me really happy when I got there? Free Fiber One bars. They were the caramel chocolate pretzel 90 calorie kind. People say they’re not better for you than candy bars, but you know what? They are more delicious than candy bars.

I kept thinking about that publicist that said she’d been living on unseasoned chicken and steamed broccoli for months so she could be at Fashion Week. If you need a refresher she told CNN: 

“You want to go to events wearing the designers’ clothes, and you can’t do that with a flabby belly . . . Every woman should get to experience it once, even if you don’t go through what we have to go through.”

And . . . oh, dear, no. Every woman should experience the Paris Ritz, and chocolate French Toast at Norma’s and hugs and good sex, and I think, depending on her tolerance for sand, a sunrise or sunset on a beach. I myself would, one day, like to see a bunch of baby turtles just hatching, and play elephant polo, and eat a $1,000 ice cream sundae, though not at once, or even on the same trip. All of these things seem desirable.

Every woman should not experience NYFW, because mentalities like that publicist’s make it terrible. They make it a scary, stressful experience designed to make you feel age twelve and uncool again. Also, I genuinely suspect that a lot of the women there are quite angry just because they have restricted themselves to 500 calories a day.

I hid and ate a Fiber One bar in the bathroom as soon as I got there. I wish I were joking.

I think the Milly fashion show was the one invite I wanted, in part because the clothes seem so young. I mean not the way Fashion Week makes you feel young, the way love makes Frank Sinatra feel young.


I mean, in addition to seeming girlish, it often feels like Milly designs are channeling an earlier era. Bows and polka-dots, accessorized by pearls, ringlets, and a soupcon of anti-semitism.

I waited in line for an hour. I actually waited in two lines. I’d say the second line was the louder line. I sort of balanced my purse on my hip and tried to read my book while standing up. (Life and Loves of a She-Devil. Fay Weldon. According to The New York Times it is a “tour de farce”.)

And then I was seated. In the second row.

I realize that being in the second row is often seen as some kind of insult among a certain group. I think in one episode of The Real Housewives of New York one of the housewives actually stormed out of a show in a rage at not being in the front row. That seems like the kind of move that happens a good deal at Fashion Week.

But the second row is excellent. And in my case, I’m sure it was a mistake. I hardly even know any fashion words. I had to look up “peplum” to make sure I had the correct definition before I arrived.

I suppose being seated in the second row of a fashion show is a bit like winning a silver medal at the Olympics, but that is still pretty impressive if you were only intended to compete in the Special Olympics.

All of a sudden it felt like being at the cool kids’ table. I realized no one sitting next to me was actually going to be famous, famous, by which I mean “likely to star in a movie with Channing Tatum”. (Is that what it means, now?) Apparently Ryan Lochte was in the front row, but I was not near him and he really doesn’t seem like he’s much of a conversationalist.

But I figured people next to me might be half famous. I thought about turning to the woman beside me and saying, “Are you mildly famous? Do you perhaps host a show on the History channel?” I think that would be fun. I once saw a woman introducing every episode of The Tudors and I have no idea who she was, but it seemed like a neat job.

I didn’t do that. 80% of the words I think of saying to people I never actually speak aloud.

Models began to walk.

They wore a lot of neon. It was all so bright and bold and colorful! Apparently the theme was surrealism. There were a lot of scuba dresses.

I just used up all the fashion words I know, right there.



I don’t think there were peplums there.

The models also wore a lot of neon yellow eyeshadow, which is odd, because I always think of eyeshadow as something intended to make your eyes look larger, whereas neon eyeshadow just makes you look like you’re in the X-Men. Mystique. I’m thinking of Mystique, specifically.

x men mystique

The models also wore those protective glasses you had to wear in 7th grade science class.

Do you remember those? They looked like this. Or this is what they looked like on models at the Milly show.

milly 2013 Pic via Fashion ETC

I remember in 7th grade, I had this science teacher who I, to this day, really don’t think liked me. She made me stay after school once because I had forgotten some element of lab preparation. And after about an hour of sitting there re-doing an experiment, another girl came in. I think she was a year ahead of me. She was one of those effortlessly cool girls who played lacrosse. Apparently she stopped by just to talk, and it was clear that this science teacher, who I was sure hated everyone, was having a ball with this girl. She was asking her if all the guys were in love with her. It was like this really weird scene out of Saved by the Bell, a show I had never, until that moment, found remotely believable, mostly because I thought no high schooler could have such a chatty relationship with their principal.

In that moment I realized that all the issues I thought I could escape when I graduated from junior high were inescapable. It was not, as an adult, going to be enough to be smart, or interesting, or even pretty. I was going to have to – by some witchcraft, probably – figure out a way to make people like me. And I remember thinking “oh, shit.”  Then the teacher turned and told me that I had forgotten to put on protective glasses and I would have to go home with no credit for the experiment.

That was where the part about the protective glasses came in.

I wish I had told myself that leaving the confines of junior high goes a long way in people liking you.

Moving to New York helps, too.

But I still remember protective glasses. It is the only thing about 7th grade science class I remember, other than that lakes make the land beside them warmer in the winter (they retain heat!) and colder in the summer. (I don’t really remember why! Hidden icebergs? Stuff Titanic captains should have known?)

So, that was odd.

Frankly, I got a little bit bored watching the models. They played some song that had lyrics about how a man’s parents would like you because you are “fucking lovely.” It sounded like the kind of song I’d listen to on the treadmill, so I sincerely wish I had paid more attention. I started looking at other people in the audience and making up little stories about how they were marginally famous. Would you like to see them? I took some pictures for you!

I thought this woman was so perfectly dressed, but she did not smile the entire time, even when I tried to wave at her:

I think she is a fashion editor at Vogue Italia who has made great strides in her career despite having the same disability as that girl on that one episode of Boston Legal.

Then there was this girl who wore heart shaped glasses, and did not look up from her phone once:

I think she had a recording device in the glasses and illegal, pirated copies of the show are going to be all over the streets of Bombay by tomorrow morning.

And then I became obsessed with this lady, because she looked so icy and Nordic, like a strong boned aging Grace Kelly who a film noir director would have just loved:

I’m pretty sure she is undead, but she is really careful about it, and none of her parts have fallen off.

And, oh, I almost forgot, I took a picture of one lady eating outside at the cafe before going in:

Isn’t she marvelous? She has seven harem boys and all of them are named “Bruno” because I think it’s a funny name. She pronounces it “Bah-run-oh.”

But this lady, she was my favorite, because, in addition to being beautiful, she was the only one who looked just plain happy to be there:

I don’t know a damn thing about who she is, but I am pretty sure she didn’t starve herself on steamed broccoli. She just looked happy and fresh and I wanted to run up to her and say “how should a person be?” but that bitch Sheila Heti steals all the good lines.

And then the show was over and everyone got up and left. I left really quickly, and I took another Fiber One bar for the road. It is a long road, and I guess we’re allcarrying the Fashion Week fire – by which I mean we will soon turn to eating people, not Fiber One bars. To carry the Fashion Week fire, remember:

fiber one bars

Outside I saw Tinsley Mortimer. She was wearing a neon yellow skirt that I guess we will all be wearing in a year or two. Because we’ll be part of a clone army.

I like Tinlsey Mortimer, not because I’ve ever met her, or because I love blonde socialites, but because I liked her book, Southern Charm. That book seemed to betray such a desperate longing for people to be nice to one another,  as well as the fact that Tinsley Mortimer very, very clearly believes that Heaven is located at 1 West 58th street. This may be the only time Tinsley is grouped with Hemingway, but what the hell. I thought it was a terrific book.

I like Tinsley. I like her because I think, she too is trying to figure out how to make people like her. She reminds me of a small creature with large eyes – a bewigged axolotl maybe – who seems to be shimmying about wanting to be loved.

I have drawn a heart onto this axolotl so you can see how much it loves you.

Whenever I see her I always find myself hoping that life works out for her, whatever that means for her. I hope she goes and plays elephant polo while eating $1,010 worth of ice cream. That seems like it would be something.

I thought about going up to her and saying “I liked your book,” but, you know, I didn’t. I play it real cool.