A horrible new disease is afflicting the fashion crowd. Some are calling it “bleacher butt”; some are calling it “fashion fanny.” Either way, it’s not so pretty. There is one principal symptom: Your posterior flattens out dramatically. Two distinctly rectangular edges form on either hip. The overall look reminds me of the early 1960’s, when women used to wear panty girdles under tight slacks, thereby acquiring a square butt. It’s very Bauhaus.
The origins of this affliction can be traced to the shockingly surreal delays at last week’s fall fashion shows.
I sat for what seemed like an eternity in a tent in Bryant Park next to Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Farrell. We chatted. We shared concerns about how hard it was to find a decent narrow-legged flat-front trouser. We got to know each other. His wife had a baby. She raised it. We stopped speaking. We made up. One of my teeth fell out. We grew old together waiting for Zac. Three-quarters of an hour into the wait, rumors began to swirl.
“Apparently they are waiting for somebody,” said a passing paparazzo. Who could it be? Which macher de la mode had the editorial or buying power to delay the proceedings and keep hundreds of people trapped in a tent in midtown Manhattan? Anna Wintour? Bloomie’s Kal Ruttenstein?
“Ashantiis coming in! Ashanti is coming in!” Mayday! Mayday! This frantic message suddenly began to crackle forth from the walkie-talkies of all the adjacent attendants.
“Who’s Ashanti?” asked several fashion professionals in my row as they shifted from one cheek to the other.
The gorgeous songbird, her buttocks annoyingly unflattened by fashion fanny, eventually wiggled into her seat, and the parade of Posen bias-cut and pleated glamour gowns began.
Credit where credit’s due: Marc Jacobs is definitely Lord King Bleacher Butt. The long wait that typically precedes his 9 p.m. Monday shows is as much a part of New York Fashion Week as Suzy Menkes’ sausage-roll hairdo. However, last week saw all previous records broken.
At 9:10, I skipped into the Lexington Armory, plonked my butt on the bleacher and prepared to spread. I kibitzed with Barneys fashion director Julie Gilhart about her fox terrier’s tumor removal and about the frenzied sales of the Duro Olowu neo-hippie frocks ($750) at our place of employ (Barneys). Everyone at Fashion Week seemed to be wearing one, and the runways were littered with copies. A half-hour turned into an hour. The seating attendants clutched their clipboards with white-knuckled paws and fielded questions from spectators.
What was causing the delay? Beyoncé and Jay-Z were already in the house; so was Debbie Harry. Grudgingly, a Jacobs flack admitted that what we were actually waiting for was THE CLOTHES.
As I contemplated all those gorgeous garments still on the cutting-room tables of some factory in Italy, my booty began to throb. The metal benches which added such a high-tech je ne sais quoi to the overall mise-en-scène were engaging in a heated dialogue with my glutes.
To add insult to injury, we Barneys execs were skwunched up against the Bergdorf people: THE ENEMY! This is like seating Princess Diana next to Camilla Parker Bowles. In the 1980’s, this kind of faux pas would have been unthinkable. Now that we dynamic fashion professionals all take second place to celebs, nobody seemed to care. “Hello! Nice to meet you!”
An hour and half later, even Li’l Kim’s pert bottom had flattened out.
I stared at the people opposite, looking for signs of white-hot fury, and noticed something strange: There was none. In fact, everyone in the room was smiling idiotically, me included. We all had a strangely blissed-out look. Drew Barrymore was plucking lint off her dark hose (an important trend for next year), Beyoncé had an itch in her weave-but neither was complaining.
The show began just before 11 p.m.
The next day, the fashion world was hissing with indignant, how-dare-he fumings. But all the rage sounded suspiciously phoned in. The truth is, everyone in the room enjoyed it; they were happy to turn off their stupid cell phones and Blackberries and do nothing for two hours except enjoy the communal Abfabulousness of it all.
Oops! I nearly forgot: the clothes.
The Marc Jacobs show was epoch-making and revolutionary. He put his models in oversized children’s togs, low heels and dark hose. Very Tim Burton–Edward Gorey. Marc’s new infantile chic signifies a gorgeous and much-needed change. It’s hard to imagine who will actually buy these doll clothes, but so what? It was just such a gigantic relief not to have to look at the same beanpole models stomping their tired, silly, late-90’s circus-pony walks up and down the runway in six-inch heels. Thank God for something new.
Marc Jacobs, my bum forgives and applauds you!