Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Fingers and toes

Back when I was in design school I volunteered as a dresser for some of the shows during fashion week. Basically, this meant that I helped models find their clothing backstage and change outfits between each appearance on the runway. It was a lot of fun to see the runway shows behind the scenes, and as a result of the work I was able to see some of the big shows (including Calvin Klein and Michael Kors) from the seats out front. Richard Tyler's show was my favorite. It was held in his enormous Gramercy Park mansion, and we sat on delicate gilt party chairs to watch the models descend the staircase and glide from room to room. It was a perfect opportunity to see his exquisite gowns up close.

At one show I dressed Eugene Hutz, who recently starred in the film Everything Is Illuminated (Did this film actually show in cinemas? According to the website, it's already been released on DVD. It's a great book, by the way.), who was at that time a hot new model sporting a big handlebar mustache.

I don't think Eugene had modeled before, and I didn't have much experience working as a dresser, so I wasn't sure about protocol. At one point I started buttoning a shirt for him, thinking that he would help and we'd get the job done sooner. Instead, he just waited for me to finish. Halfway through the buttoning I started feeling a little uncomfortable, like I was doing something sleazy. Ironically, Todd was also helping out that day, and he was just across the room busy searching for shoes for the female model he was dressing, since the shoes for her outfit had disappeared. He found another pair that fit and sent her on her way. Which I suppose just goes to show that maybe not all the outfits on the runway look exactly as the designer intended them. If the shoes don't match the outfit, that may not have been planned.

The irony of all that runway-going was that once I started actually working for the big designers, I didn't have the time, interest, or opportunity to see their shows. But it was fun to have the experience, and I still find myself thinking about Eugene's buttons and Richard Tyler's gowns now and then.

Kiddo and I had to go across town this morning, and virtually everyone we saw outside was wearing boots. They certainly are the fashion accessory right now: boots with tight jeans, with skirts and dresses, with knee-length trousers and capris. We even saw boots with a pair of very short, baggy, cuffed shorts. I like it all except for the tight jeans, which I think really don't look good on anyone, no matter how tall and thin.
On a completely different topic (fingers), yesterday we received a lovely package from Suzie in Australia. She made Bebe some felt finger puppets and also included lovely fabric and trims in her package. The finger puppets are amazing, with beautifully stitched details. I think they'll be great with Bebe's Noah's Ark toy. Thanks very much, Suzie! You can see more photos here.

And now we're off to enjoy this sunny spring weather. I can't think of a better opportunity to catch sight of more quirky spring fashions, and probably even more unusual boot-and-clothing combinations, than a walk through the East Village. Can you?


  1. I spent the day ogling people in Madison Square and Union Square, meeting up with friends. What struck me mostly was that I seemed to be one of the few with baby attached, who also was its mother. I'll try the EV next, being as it is also closer to home.

  2. That's kind of weird that he made you button the whole shirt! I think that I won't ever forget that story! Tooo funny! Did you see the movie? Or read the book? How was it?

  3. Hey! I was reading your previous blogs so this is somewhat unrelated, but...one of the tools I can't live without is a Xyron machine! It turns anything into stickers--I use it to cover journals, make cards...anything I print on my computer (I'm a mad scanner of vintage textiles and a photoshop fiend). It's amazing what you can do with it...By the way, love your blog...

  4. We read Everything is Illuminated with my book club -- it made for a really interesting discussion: for some reason, there were people out there (and in my club) who didn't like it. I, however, Liesl, agree with you that it was fabulous! Ever read Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay? Different but also a ww2 tie. How was the movie?

  5. Jonathan Safran Foer is one of my favorite writers right now. He's got such a fresh, exciting voice.