The 8 p.m. time slot during Fashion Week is usually one of the most difficult for designers. Half the people filling the seats are trying not to nod off and pass out, and the other half are antsy to turn up and wild out. To grab someone’s attention and hold it is a feat — and leave it to Opening Ceremony’s first runway show in a long time to make that happen. What happened? Well…this.
Was it going to be Givenchy all over again? The model brushed herself off, looked to be on the verge of tears while people sprung out their seats to pick her up, then trotted forward to catch up with the rest of the lineup. A market editor sitting nearby said out loud to no one in particular, "And she's wearing a chunky heel, too…" And then another one fell. That's when I yelled out loud. I started to panic — watching any human being topple onto concrete is unpleasant, but seeing very skinny, very high-up, very nervous models do it is like watching a row of baby ducklings go over a waterfall. A few people started to watch the show through their fingers (note: I was one of them). And then…
What a trouper. Seriously. To get up after a tumble and then shimmy your way back is really just so...hold on. Did girl just do a battement? And why is she so much shorter than the other models? And that's when we got it. We were being punked. Those heart palpitations we suffered were all a wonderful, mean, awful, hilarious trick. Everyone was like, "We bet that girl who screamed is feeling some kind of way now…" :-[
So these shorter models were not actually models at all. They were New York City Ballet dancers choreographed by Justin Peck. It was a no-holds-barred dance party from then on out. The ballerinas came out in a grouping and mixed in arabesques, chainés, and ports de bras into their final walk. It was a trick that engrained the clothes into our memories (who could forget the carwash skirts flapping as they hit the ground, or the pumpkin-colored trousers that stretched into an extension in a move that you could only dream your body could execute. Everyone left with a huge smile plastered on their faces, and a newfound adrenaline to head into their evenings. As for the shoes themselves, we got verbal confirmation from an Opening Ceremony salesperson (whose livelihood depends partly on how real-world wearable those shoes are) that — yes — those block heels are very comfortable, very walkable, and won’t trip you up…but if you do inadvertently take a tumble, they’re also great for allowing you to dance-recover your way out of those situations.