ABU 3: THE KIDS FROM TUMBLR & TIME SPACE CONTINUUMS
Today’s fresh juice from writer-in-residence Mike Abu, the stalkers stalker, the wanderers wanderer, join him in floating around the corridors of charm aka Milk Studios during MADE Fashion week –
Day 1 was Day 1, but it was an unofficial Day 1, so Day 2 was really Day 1 despite it being Day 2, and that much was clear to me.
Other things were a tad bit hazier.
Questions like, “Where did I sleep last night?” and, “Where am I gonna sleep tonight?” passed through my head. Luckily there wasn’t time to focus on such trifling matters—I had work to do.
The first runway presentation was Creatures of the Wind. Backstage was a rush of last minute preparation, an army of hair and makeup artists going to town on 17 year olds as stylists thrust them into garments. It’s a complete and utter scramble to see, another instance of chaos all around that I only bear witness to.
I was the Mary Celeste floating in the Bermuda Triangle.
Out by the runway, people were starting to filter in. I saw a random girl sketching in the middle of the room and realized she must be Jessica Repetto, the artist Milk Made brought in to sketch and draw famous people. I walked up to her.
“What the fuck’s going on?”
“Not much, how the fuck are you?”
We got along well. Turns out we had a lot in common, including a propensity to accidentally hurt ourselves at every opportunity. We discussed various injuries and ailments as an eclectic art crowd in crazy clothing found their seats. Jessica told me that she draws people who she finds inspiring, and that she gets high from the rush of illustrating.
“It’s like free drugs,” she explained. I could tell she was addicted. A flock of photographers and videographers fluttered to and fro, snapping away at whatever caught their eyes. I scribbled random notes to myself in my moleskin before taking a seat in the back. As the lights dimmed, the crowd grew silent, eagerly anticipating what was to come.
Like a thunderstorm, 60s pop began reverberating off the walls, and the room lit up like lightning striking. The models walked into the room following a geometric pattern on the floor, showing off their colorful clothing and captivating the crowd. At one point I thought of a crazy carousel, another of the Enchantment Under the Sea dance from Back To The Future. I turned to the girl next to me and asked her if she could describe what was happening.
“I don’t know how to describe this,” she said, followed by, “a lot of pinks and greens.”
“Thanks,” I replied, as if she’d helped explain anything.
An a capella version of Unchained Melody kicked on, and I noticed more than one person quietly singing along with it. (Personally, my favorite version of that is by Sha Na Na, but that’s beside the point.) The show ended with one black dress, the only dark piece in the collection. Just like that, it was over.
It’s strange to think about how short runway shows last. Months and months of preparation, days of setup, an armada of stylists and journalists, all for something that lasts around five minutes. I tried to explain that to my dad but he couldn’t quite wrap his head around it. How could five minutes be six months? Old sane people just don’t understand.
Next we headed over to visit Katie Gallagher, who was getting ready for her show at the Standard Hotel. I hadn’t seen her in almost a year, so it was nice to say hi. Workers were dumping flour out onto a runway as models got their nails done backstage. Kalvin and I walked out to the balcony and soaked in some sun for a moment, as we both knew vitamin D was the official vitamin of Fashion Week and had we had to rep it. I talked a few minutes with a kid whose Tumblr page is called Vogue Adventure, and he explained to me how to get over 100,000 followers.
Step 1: Be cool.
Step 2: Be one of the first people to know about Tumblr.
My interest waned as I realized I lacked the necessary fundamentals. Fuck it. Besides that, I had to get back to Milk for Costello Tagliapietra’s show. Jessica was already there, picking out the right people. My photographer, Andy Boyle, directed me around for a couple shots, mostly photo bombs of famous people. We walked up and down the runway until the show was about to start, and took our seats in the back by the riser.
The show was okay, noisy prints, sashes and clavicles walking to new-age synth. By the time it ended, I was already late. I sprinted my way back to the Standard just in time to watch the final walk. The room was packed to the brim, and the heat made me feel like I was close to passing out. I pulled it together, because I thought it was a little early in the game to lose consciousness in front of a crowd. That’s more of a Saturday activity.
“It was hot,” Jace Lumley, another Tumblr star, told me, “both literally and figuratively.”
Exhausted, I said goodbye to a few friends and worked my way back to Milk. We had a few drinks in the Milk Bar as I explained my new concept of metric time.
According to my calculations, it was 79.16673 o’ clock.
Photography by Andrew Boyle