Full disclosure: I am not a social butterfly by nature. I wasn’t born into it. I’ve always been a little bit of an introvert, but, alas, I’ve chosen a career path in which being that awkward, huddled ball in the corner is not an option. (The reason why I’ve chosen to be a model and what it’s like to be one is a topic to be discussed in entries to come.) So, I’d like to break the ice with my first contributing editor post addressing a subject that has become an important one to me and pretty much anyone who finds themselves wanting or needing to go out in a city like NYC.
Polish Up Those Paws — At fashion parties, you often do the kiss on the cheek (two, if you’re in Paris) as a greeting, but when I met Anna Wintour (once in her beautiful, airy office in the Condé Nast building in Times Square, and again at my friend Eva Chen’s cocktail hour to celebrate her becoming the editor-in-chief of Lucky magazine), each time she gave me her hand to shake and not to kiss. And, when Carine Roitfeld wanted me to meet Riccardo Tisci at a CR Fashion Book party, she led me by her hand through the crowd, and the whole time, I couldn’t get over how soft and beautiful her hands were. Additionally, if you’re a fidgety person like me who likes to make a lot of gestures — it distracts my mind from getting too nervous — your hands and your nails are going to get a lot of exposure.
Chipped nail polish may have been a thing when Mary-Kate Olsen was making her subversive-collegiate-chic statement with that Venti Starbucks Americano cupped in her black digits around NYU, but nail fashion moves on. It’s important to have trimmed, well-maintained hands for any social event. A clean coat of a sensible polish color that matches your outfit is nice, but if you don’t have the time, even a clear coat or just clean, buffed nails is fine. But, if you do have a free moment, that nice manicure will be a treat for you. Trying something fun like a cool nail-art design or decals can even provide you with a surprising icebreaker at a party as well. (Trust me, people will notice and compliment what fun nails you have if they match your personality.) I’m currently loving Revlon Graffiti Top Coat, which glides on with various sizes and specks of glitter that give it a paint-splatter effect that looks borrowed from Jackson Pollock’s paintings.
Phones Off — To be honest, I am not the best at this rule. I’m a smartphone addict, and my iPhone and virtual communication sometimes feel more real than my physical life. But, once that glaring, white light is shining directly on your face, it can read as a big "I’m not available or interested in being here" sign tacked on your forehead. When in social settings, it’s best to allot your interaction with the phone to a minimum so you can have more face time with that person next to you. Except, of course, if you want to take a photo to post on your social media or get contact information for potential business or romantic opportunities… But, remember: #latergram exists, so you don’t have to figure out what filter will bring out that sheen on your skin while you’re standing in the middle of the party.
Balancing Comfort & Style — I know firsthand what wearing six-inch stilettos all day is like: It's never pretty. And, when you’re at a social function limping around on your swollen feet, which are covered in blisters, or constantly smoothing out that strange wrinkle that keeps gathering around your crotch when you stand up, it’ll never look too great, either. Last fall, when I was still recovering from my fractured ankle, I matched my beautifully fitted, long, black Alaïa dress with flat, strappy Grecian sandals for the opening night of the Azzedine Alaïa exhibition at Palais Galliera. Yes, I was a little disappointed not to be wearing a pair of intricate, laser-cut, sky-high heels, but at least I didn’t have to do the flamingo (when your feet begin to feel sore, so you stand on one foot and then the other). But, I felt so comfortable the whole night — enough to stay out until far past my bedtime. It was one of my smartest fashion moments. And, when Karl Lagerfeld sends girls out running down the stairs in handmade, beaded gowns and tennis shoes for his spring couture collection, you know it's true.