Recapping the super bowl of fashion.
(We arrived mid-fashion week since I had work)
Compared to our first NYFW attempt, this time around was definitely smoother. Our accommodations didn’t flake last minute and stayed with my aunt again. My cousin, Brandon picked us up from the airport and honestly, that set the tone for the rest of the trip despite the fact that it took us 45 minutes to get our luggage. (JetBlue gave us the wrong carousel number so we were waiting at the wrong one forever!)
Upon arriving, Brandon gave us the good ol’ New York welcome with black coffee and the best bacon and egg bagel sandwich I will ever have. We then set off after getting comfortable in the apartment to our first tasting, Vida Verde
. The owner was incredibly fun and super down to earth, but the food was on a new level of fresh.
When it comes to Mexican food, I really didn’t think the East Coast had anything on us, but boy, was I wrong. Our first item on the menu was the epitome of unexpected: crickets. Seasoned and topped with lime, yes, we had crickets. Now I’ve always seen people with phobias of heights freak out but never have I experienced my own anxiety to the extent that I did with my phobia of bugs. I was shaking, my heart was racing, hands were clammy, and after much persuasion and cheering with the manager, I tossed it into my mouth.
As unexpected of a dish it was, it was just as unexpectedly good. The texture was there and the flavors made it for a rewarding bite. Though I couldn’t get the leg to budge as it sat wedged in the back of my throat, I was super proud of myself for overcoming my fear than anything else.
The rest of the menu completed the experience with their ceviche, which you have to try for their jumbo shrimp and fresh scallops, and their variety of tacos with homemade tortillas. Vida Verde’s take on elevating Mexican flavors is like no other. Nothing makes food more enjoyable than knowing the amount of passion and love that’s put into creating their dishes and that’s exactly what Vida Verde accomplishes with every meal. It’s comforting, and it’s refreshing to indulge in familial flavors in a way that you’ve never experienced before. This is definitely at the top of my list for places to dine whenever I’m back in the city.
We spent the rest of the day walking around, shooting, shopping, and getting matcha whenever we found a spot. What a way to start NYFW.
Our second day is where the fashion fun finally began. We went off to Chelsea Market since we didn’t get to stop by last time and after having not the best lunch, we separated at midtown and rejoined Jnel where we prepped for the Rochambeau show. Somehow we survived our Lyft driver’s traffic avoidance techniques (similar to that of the Indiana Jones ride) and we headed backstage with Oribe.
It was my first time ever being backstage for anything other than dance but seeing the amount of concentration, chaos and work that put into readying the models made me develop a huge appreciation for the performances we see at these fashion shows. Rochambeau is known for collaborating with artists and juxtaposing their art of the models faces. The models used also included public figures and inevitably, Bella Thorne. That’s all I’m gonna say about that, haha.
Once seated, the show started and I was so energized by the entirety of the show. The palette of neon colors contrasting patterns was such an edgy choice but even more so, Rochambeau threw bucket hats on almost everyone. It was all about boxy and androgynous silhouettes aka take my money.
After separating, we rejoined Brandon and met up to explore the Museum of Sex, in which we were mostly there for the boobie bounce house. If you can’t tell, I’m very into unusual and atypical experiences. It was so worth the two minutes of being short of breath and being surrounded by huge diversely colored bulging breasts. My least favorite floor however, was the guide on animal sex. Not a fan but considerably widely educational for others.
We then took off to get food in Chinatown at our favorite dollar dim sum spot. Up until now, I had not been able to change out of my outfit from Rochambeau and I had left my comfy boots at Jnel’s hotel. After arriving to Brooklyn, it was already late but we took a trip up to midtown again to retrieve my boots and get Jnel some pizza.
It was a long day despite the short narrative.
The rest of the week we had thoroughly planned with shows back to back. Instead, we ended up not going to anymore shows to focus on creating content. It was Brandon’s last day with us before he headed up to Rochester for class. We had brunch at his favorite spot a few blocks down and we trekked around Dumbo before parting ways.
We then set off to Soho after shooting more content to meet with Jnel and our friend Ronny at the Liberty Fairs office, where you guessed it, we created more content. Our days seemingly were just spent dedicated to that and yet, I still felt as though we didn’t have enough content left.
After Ronny had left, we kept Jnel company as she tended to deadlines where Justin was approached by two guys who noticed his Mint Crew shirt. They ended up conversing and he ended up leaving with them to shoot. Justin usually doesn’t take too long to shoot but with them, he took almost an hour. In the end, it was funny that connections were made like that. It usually doesn’t happen that way but I guess when you’re in the middle of Soho, set up in a Starbucks during fashion week, you could just about run into anyone.
For our last stop, Justin and I made sure we had to get some fried chicken and waffles at Sweet Chick, which I had craving nonstop since arriving. Justin and I were so busy with our schedule and other people that even though we were physically together, this was the first night we actually had time to ourselves. Alas, it didn’t last long as we were exhausted but a little alone time is better than none.
We went back to Soho yet again (I think we did almost every day) and met up with Ronny and our other friend Brandon at the Liberty Fairs office to shoot once again. Afterwards, Justin and I shopped around before meeting Jnel at the Obviously Studio HQ for their Relax & Rejuvenate event. It was amazing to finally have put faces to names after working with them for the past two years.
While there, we shot some more and then headed to The Arrivals HQ for more shooting and networking. We then ran more errands and went back to Soho to shoot some more, in which we ended up running into Paris Hilton (Oh, and Bella Hadid). We exchanged “Hey’s” and I couldn’t feel any cooler.
We then took off to The High Line where we stopped by the Socialite party. I came to realize that New York parties are very different from LA parties, in which LA people actually party? At least from what I experienced, everyone blocked the bar with their expensively dressed bodies, mostly to make it look as though the venue was cramped and they were turning up. From far away, it just looked like a cluster of people backed into one side of the room. It was an odd experience to say the least but what I do know is that I won’t be going to another one of those anytime soon.
The event had only served cheesecakes sitting atop huge milkshakes in chocolate covered beer glasses and Pop Rocks in cauldron form, and although that sounds delightful to the average sweet tooth, my teeth ached at the sight. Maybe it’s age, or maybe I just needed carbs but I couldn’t have any of it.
We dipped out early to explore The High Line as it was our first time there but because we were desperate for food, we moved on to a nearby pizza spot. What’s NYC without pizza?
Our last day crept up on us so quickly, we were tempted to extend our trip another day but we were ready for home. Our days were so full, we burnt out very quickly. While Justin took off to shoot for a brand in Williamsburg, I had stayed back to catch up with my aunt while I had the time to. Usually, we don’t see her since she works graveyard shifts and sleeps the rest of the day.
We then were supposed to meet in Chelsea for our second tasting. It was my first time using the trains alone and I had a complete meltdown under the stress. I ended up waiting for a delayed train on the wrong side of the platform and when I finally reached the correct one, I ran out of money on my MTA card from swiping through the same exit three times. When I finally refilled, the correct train had departed and my heart broke.
Alas, I didn’t give up and give in to taking a Lyft. I instead powered my way through it despite being super late to my tasting as I wanted to finish what I started. I finally made it to Cookshop
, which ended up being another tasting to remember. The service was phenomenal, and the chefs were even more amazing.
We were graced with surprises left and right, whether it were off-menu items or the unsuspecting farmer’s market-to-table experience no one else could come close to imitating.The barrage of appetizers ranging from hybrid watermelon tomatoes to a set of deviled eggs which catered to particular sections of your palette was the perfect way to set the tone for the rest of the meal.
The entrees were this explosion of texture and color and that strategically complimented the rest of the menu. It was as though we were tasting a symphony of tang and zest, where each dish would hit a higher note than the last. It wasn’t until dessert did we finally hit the climax, in which we were honored to indulge in pastry chef Stephen Colluci’s famous sugared doughnuts. Paired with plum preserves and matcha ice cream, these mini sugar rings were baked to perfection. Among other things, their chocolate cake and cheesecake (which are my favorite kind of desserts) hit the nail on the head over and over again. You will never taste quality like this.
After the tasting, we skipped over to The High Line for some shopping and then again to Dover Street Market for even more (window) shopping before heading to Buzzfeed HQ. Justin wanted to cop as many unique pieces he could find that were exclusive to the NYC fashion community and so we treasure hunted as often as we could.
Upon arriving to Buzzfeed, we reconnected with Regina, formerly known as the co-founder of Polydeux and not formerly known as my best friend from high school. She showed us around the office, we caught up, and took home some Buzzfeed souvenirs. We ended the day exhausted as we always did but left back to LA the following day with hearts full.
Although our goal is to become bicoastal eventually, New York just seems to take more and more of my heart with it every time I’m there. I learned a lot, experienced more, and came home burnt out, yet a different person than I was before I had left.
New York, you were good to me.