ABU 5: FASHION TREADMILLS, IMAN AND RATIONALITY
The fifth installment from writer-in-residence Mike Abu. The outsider’s outsider, Abu’s energy levels hit a wall at MADE Fashion Week and he realises what a grueling marathon industry insiders run each season. Welcome to fashion month Abu, the Mount Kilimanjaro of runway shows and presentations. One word: brutal.
I woke up groggy from the night before, super late and in a rush. I looked like hell but that didn’t matter. The key was I was awake, and as far as accomplishments go, that was a necessary one.
I took the elevator up to the 8th floor in pursuit of coffee. The doors opened into utter mayhem. Fashion kids were running amuck at the Eckhaus Latta presentation, and as far as I could tell, they didn’t realize it was way too early to have that much energy. Confusion. Two girls were walking simultaneously on a single treadmill; others were lying on inflatable air mattresses on the floor, nonchalantly chatting with each other like they were at a party. Why the cinderblocks were there was beyond me. It felt more like being in a bombed out apartment in Bushwick than it did a fashion studio. And that’s cool.
Different shows bring different crowds. Younger, less established designers often have more fun with the presentation than the more established lines do. I’m not saying they’re better or worse, I’m just saying they’re different. This became abundantly clear when I walked into the next show, Cushnie Et Ochs. All the kids with high tops and loud t-shirts were replaced with straight elegance and status. Fashion icons like Kate Bosworth were all around me, and our artist Jessica was working on overload. She must have been high as fuck on adrenaline.
After Cushnie, I walked over to the Standard to check out the Houghton runway show. It was on the 3rd floor balcony overlooking Chelsea, and the weather was hot and gross. People were shooting photos with iPads, which is a pretty ridiculous looking piece of equipment, as far as using it as a camera goes. I saw Ryan Stroock Stern, the event planner for the Standard, and he told me I spelled his name wrong in an earlier post. I lied and told him I’d fix it. I high-fived a bunch of people and walked around feeling out the atmosphere. The Standard has a different style of shows for MADE Fashion week, probably due to its proximity to the outdoors. At Milk during MADE Fashion Week, people never get to see the sun, but at the Standard they’re forced to stew in the humid air. The grass is always greener.
For this show, I had a little fun and asked a girl from Sweden to describe it to me. Her English was better than my Swedish, but she admittedly didn’t have an encyclopedic vocabulary.
“Flowers… it’s more flowers….”
“Cool,” I said enthusiastically.
“Cool,” I said again.
“Flowers, color, mute—mute colors. Flowers, color. White. Négligée.”
“Music is interesting. Golden plated jumpsuit. Long dress, back open. More flowers…”
The show ended and I walked back to Milk to watch the Suno presentation. Suddenly, I got a call from Sarah Hay, Milk Made’s editor-in-chief.
“I have a special mission for you and (photographer) Andy (Boyle),” she said. “We need you to go down to the Electric Room and interview Iman.”
We packed up our gear and headed over, stat. We’re good employees, quick to act like Rambo. On the way there, we discussed who Iman was.
“Apparently she’s David Bowie’s wife,” Andy explained, “a supermodel, a real big deal.”
We walked into the Electric Room and the tequila was free, thank God. Iman was standing in the corner beaming like a flower. She had a certain radiance to her, a beauty that you don’t see everyday. It wasn’t necessarily a physical thing either, just something unique that drew everyone towards her like a magnet. I cut in line in front of some girl from Teen Vogue (who later accused me about it, the only reason I know that’s what I did) and asked her a few questions.
Iman was super busy so I decided to keep it short. Three questions sounded about right, two about what she was doing and one that I’d make up on the fly. You can read all about that here
Either way, the interview went off without a hitch and gave me something to tell my sister about. Impressing my sister, finally, something rational to book-end my day.