Julia Frakes is a model, blogger, and student (in the middle of midterms, we might add). Catch her blogging here and tweeting here.
From personal moments ranging from the mundane to the monumental, this sweater has seen me get my first Fashion Week kiss in a smelly cab in February 2011, occupy Wall Street, occupy Scranton, inadvertently flood my downtown NYC apartment, canvas for the Barack Obama campaign in Northeastern Pennsylvania, hang out with Senator Bob Casey at a seven-person rally (hurrah!) in a law-office lobby, make a cameo in a 2011 issue of Vogue (as snapped by Phil Oh at a Karen Walker show), be rescued from the Hôtel le Bristol elevator floor in Paris, go on the orchard prowl to a pumpkin patch, phone-bank at an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union for an Obama for America NY/PA strategic summit, and take my grandma grocery shopping.
One of my very best friends, the talented and dashing Mr. Marc Sebastian Faiella, texted me as soon as the first round of the Rodarte for Opening Ceremony collection began to trickle in store. As a massive fan of Kate and Laura (and, of course, of Humberto and Carol and Team OC), the equation for this collaboration was, at the outset, already more than a set of linear parts. I imagine it was something to the tune of: 2 Mulleavy Sisters + (Humberto Leon x Carol Lim) + 2 Black Frame clients + 1 dreamy Autumn de Wilde lookbook + (East Coast x West Coast) x anticipatory buzz = Rodarte 4 Opening Ceremony.
You can't really tell from this angle, but the sweater has a swirly-twirly non-gradiant barrier that meanders much like a serpentine steel Richard Serra sculpture. Its V-neckline is the perfect measure — just low enough to frame a Pamela Love pendant necklace, yet high enough so as not to require a scarf for modesty's sake. The sweater is the perfect weight to carry you through the seasons, such that it has seen the insides of a gazebo, a sukkah, a manger, a greenhouse, and, as of this week, in the midst of university midterms, a fire engine.
Rather fortuitously, aforementioned Parsons' star student Marc (to whom the knitted lineage of this sweater lays claim) had just arrived back stateside after a summer spent designing with the Kenzo atelier in Paris and killing it as a model at the PFW shows. And, this particular weekend, he spread word of his dear friend and former F.I.T. classmate Jillian Mercado's fundraising quest to replace her stolen wheelchair. (Actual important side note: Please read her inspiring story, here). The staggering synchronicity of this sweater hereby comes full circle: The electric wheelchair that Jillian desperately needs to replace in order to sustain her pro-active life and enterprising career covering the New York scene for PMc Magazine is manufactured at Pride Mobility in Exeter, just a few miles away from where this above photo was snapped on Wyoming Avenue in Kingston, P.A.
The serendipity of this sweater's roots presses ahead. The fashion writer/producer/wonderwoman Rebecca Suhrawardi (of Vogue India, Vogue UK, Harper's Bazaar UK, etc.) happens to be family friends with spirited supporters of Senator Bob Casey. And when she chanced upon Jillian's wheelchair fundraiser post I had shared from Marc's Facebook wall, she swiftly recommended exploring the possibility of contacting the Walkabout Foundation, a fantastic organization that her dear friend Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster created to fund paralysis research and donate wheelchairs to people in dire need. (I promise, there's a point to this exceedingly extended anecdote.) Anyhow, last year, I had intended to attend a Walkabout Foundation premiere event with my fellow Next Talent Boardmate Kyleigh Kuhn (unfortunately, I missed out on the extraordinary opportunity due to a last-minute scheduling hiccup). Be that as it may, that same year I felt tremendously blessed to hang out properly with Kyleigh on set at Patrick Demarchelier's studio in Chelsea, as we appeared in a Vogue editorial together just a few months after that happenstance NYFW Vogue cameo in this very same sweater.
The culmination of this Rodarte for OC sweater's non-causal alignment of odd coincidences is manifold. I feel like Blaise Pascal's paradox of probability, or Bruno de Finetti's finite additivity, or some sophisticated theorem could expound upon this chain of events. Or, it's just a sweater and my midterm-weary brain is forecasting false associations in an eleventh-hour attempt to come up with something semi-cool to say about why I love a fucking sweater.
(But I really do love it, loud.)