The venue was brilliant. It was way downtown in Manhattan in a parking garage at 25 Beekman St. I never heard of a fashion show held in a garage before, but it worked perfectly. There was a big open space on the first floor to do the actual show with plenty of room for benches for observers to sit and watch. Two large elevators brought down the models for their last roundabout.
The upstairs was used for the after party. I sat behind three hugely successful young rappers who were the entertainment: DJ Sremm, Swae Lee, and Slim Jxmmi, and their group is called Rae Sremmurd (it’s based on the name of their record label but spelled backwards). They are all from Tupelo, Mississippi, where Elvis Presley was born, and they were polite, charming, and friendly.
I spent a lot of time talking to DJ about his ninth-grade teacher, Ms. Betty Scott, who taught him to say sir to his elders, and he still does it. I swear he was as polite a young man as any I have ever met. His father was a preacher, and so is his stepfather. His mother, who he adores, sang in the choir, and DJ played the drums during the services.
Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi grew up hard but have learned to enjoy their success. Both of them wore stylish rose gold Rolexes, which looked great. Swae Lee has gone out and bought himself a G-Wagen. DJ is saving up for a house in Tupelo where he can ride horses and keep animals. They all send money home to their parents. All of Tupelo is proud of them and it should be.
When I first started to make money, I bought expensive clothes to remind myself that I did not have to rely on J.C. Penney as a style guide. Turns out that my three new friends are on the same team. DJ says they hit every mall at every location they play. They are big on Jordon and Puma sneakers. I always liked Pumas, but I thought they were out of style. Now I know better, and I’m going out as soon as I can to buy a pair.
The crowd was excited, attentive, ethnically diverse, and gorgeous. A number of the fashion editors were wearing Baja East and looked beautiful. There was one guy sitting near me who was very good looking and knew it. He had lots of tattoos, including one on his neck. I hope he’s ugly by 35.
The only thing that made me crazy was that everyone, men and women, wore black. They looked like they had just come from a wake.
I really liked the clothes. I love to shop with women. I have found that if you are there when they put them on, it increases the chances of being there when they take them off. The bad news is, it can be really expensive. I am one of those men who hate to see a woman having a tough choice. I end up saying, “Hell, get them both.” These clothes are made for women with good taste but who might not have perfect bodies. The clothes flowed nicely, often with a deep narrow V, but the Vs are not so wide that side boobs are a risk. The dresses were cut loosely around the waist and hips; that’s practical because it’s a lot easier to stay fit and trim above the waist than below it. They were pleasantly colored, not affected, and very wearable. There was a black hip-length jacket with gold trim that I’d like to have made for myself.
A lot of the models wore headscarves and looked great. A lot of the tops were semi see-through and were lovely. My wife was a successful runway model in the ’80s. She is tall, strong built (her mother enlisted in the Marine Corps the day after Pearl Harbor), and blond. The problem was that people looked at her and not the clothes.
The Baja East models looked intent on showing the collection to best advantage and not themselves. When they weren’t on the runway, they smiled and were approachable. It was just an exceptionally lovely evening for style and presentation, and the designers and planners deserve applause.