On the floor were pieces of carpet in the shapes of pills and jewels, and over the sound system the voice of Barbara Parkins as Anne Welles intoned the beginning of the camp movie classic, Valley of the Dolls.
More than once, as The Blonds’ New York Fashion Week show started half an hour late, we heard Dionne Warwick’s classic opening theme to the movie, “When did I get, where did I/How was I caught in this game/When will I know, where will I/How will I think of my name.” (How many of the young crowd present knew the reference, or had been to a raucous, very gay screening of the movie? Let’s bring those screenings back.)
The vibe of NYFW’s last major show oddly matched the lo-fi mellowness of the song—friendly, relaxed, strangely not frenetic. Sitting front row was Maye Musk, Elon’s mom, in a metallic bodysuit, Candace Bushnell, and downtown’s most legendary scribe (and Daily Beast contributor) Michael Musto.
The carpets (by Wear the House), the theme, and the decor of yet more pills echoing the iconic cover of Jacqueline Susann’s original novel, prepared us for the fashion to come: towering beehives, Afros, and bouffants, sheer bodysuits, mini-dresses, beaded and with glittering hoods, tight and sparkling and dramatic everything. The signature accessories—giant jewel shapes made into clutch bags, clasps, and plonked wherever best to max out on the drama of it all—came in regal purples, deep reds, and lush greens. Christian Louboutin supplied the stratospheric heels.
The Blonds said Valley of the Dolls wasn’t the only inspiration—but also “Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Butterfield 8, Elizabeth Taylor’s style, tumultuous love affairs and her famous obsession with jewelry.” It was, The Blonds said, “an epic tale of what happens when we fall in and out of love and dream the romantic dream of that perfect someone.”
When Pose star Dominique T.A.R Jackson presented the final dramatic look with white faux coat slung off, it was met by an appreciative and rightly wondrous uttering of the word “Diva” by an audience member. “Welcome to the Valley of The Blonds,” the designers said, with a final quote from Taylor herself: “I don’t want to be a sex symbol. I would rather be a symbol of a woman, a woman who makes mistakes, perhaps. But a woman who loves!” This was absolutely how a New York Fashion Week show should be, and how the week itself should end.