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LIVING MY GAP YEAR

Strange Things that Happened while I was Wearing a Stella McCartney Dress

Zuzu Tadeushuk

I was scared of being bitten, but getting pooped on never occurred to me. By the end of the evening I’d fallen victim to both. I was standing in a thin and sparkly gold summer dress on a lawn in Chelsea, NYC, and I carried a parrot on my arm—a Poicephalus parrot, to be precise, that was small and pink and bore the misleadingly sweet appellation of Rosy.

This was the Stella McCartney Resort ’18 presentation, and while presentations are a method of debuting a collection generally more casual and unconventional than a full-blown fashion show, this presentation landed beyond the pale: this presentation was a party.

Tonight there was no slippery catwalk, no solitary strutting under numbingly loud music and austere, distant rows of seated onlookers. On the contrary, tonight there was just mingling, mulling, loafing about in the temporarily-tropically-themed garden of the Theological Seminary on West 20th street. Tonight there was a live reggae band headed by none other than Bob Marley’s second-youngest son, an open bar, pineapple bowling (is that a thing? I’d never seen it until now), and tonight, of course, there were parrots.

My job, and my fellow models’, was delightfully simple: we were to convey Stella’s pieces, on our silent, graceful, expensive frames, among the party guests with their tropical cocktails in hand and precarious heels on the lumpy lawn. This format promoted interaction between the guests and the clothes they were here to view, and also between the guests and the models ourselves, for after an hour had lapsed and it was judged that all the editors and bloggers had had sufficient time to conduct a detailed surveillance of the collection, we models were all allowed to get drinks and explore the garden and dance and, if anyone could figure out how, do some pineapple bowling. And it proved an eventful evening, as work goes. Over the course of the next two hours and one and a half margaritas I quite randomly:

 —was given a booklet of Ginsberg poetry and a kiss on the hand by Michael Avedon, grandson of Richard of that name

—was introduced to Terry Richardson, by David Bellemere 

—got mammoth blisters on my pinky toes that have taken two weeks to heal

—was posed with by Lily Collins (in my capacity as relevant Stella-branded prop)

—was shaken hands with by Chris Rock (didn’t know who he was until the model I was with excitedly explained he was the goofy voice behind Marty in Madagascar)

—was pooped on by a parrot

—was bitten by a parrot

—admired the back of Alec Baldwin’s head from the bamboo pedestal where I was standing while my feet were photographed by the New York Times…

How did an unremarkable girl from the suburbs end up here? How can it be that the modeling contract I signed while still in High School and shy as a mouse wind up working out, wind up being anything more than the scam I expected it to be, a pipe dream? I’m not usually one to feel star-struck or impressed by a lot of famous names in one place, but tonight, I had to admit, I felt a wee bit incredulous.