Doing it for the people: strike week style

I woke up at 5 a.m. I reeked of mango margaritas and Armani cologne, and the nasty brown vinyl seats of the Metro North Commuter Rail had left deep creases in my forehead. I was sandwiched between my two best friends, billionaire hotel heiresses Toledo and Mitzi Sheraton, and the better part of our seat was covered in Chanel eye makeup. I know the prospect of opening my eyes to a sea of morning-after nausea and designer chiffon seems like fun to the average person, but I was sad.

It was a gray, rainy morning in Connecticut and New York Fashion Week was over.

“Oh, Toledo, it all went by so fast. Table dances with Donatella, making friendship bracelets with Ralphie — ooh, it was magic, and now it’s all over.”

“Bradley, don’t be sad. You taught Anna Wintour how to do ‘the bump.’ That’s something.”

“I know, but what is there for me to look forward to? We’re headed back to dreary New Haven and there’s nary a catwalk in sight.”

“Bradley! You’re forgetting! What’s even more fun than the festival of genetic freakdom that is New York Fashion Week?”

“Oh my God, you’re right! It’s New Haven Strike Week!”

Cut to three days later: I’m ready to go out and paint the town red, and I’m talking Chairman Mao red. I’m doing this for the people. Mitzi was sporting a Dior-inspired shirtdress emblazoned with interlocking G logos (in support of GESO) and Toledo was “like totally owning” this bitchin’ tube top. You could tell just by her outfit that it was a special night. What was once a mere bargain-basement Fendi spandex cashmere top had been transformed (using spray paint and some stencils) into a walking billboard. “Up with hope! Down with dope!” We weren’t just supermodels; we were role models.

Our first task, of course, was to go out and blow our dining hall reimbursement checks. We weren’t really hungry (the three of us had shared a green olive with Laetitia during the Marc Jacobs show four days earlier), so we decided that the only sensible thing to do was to pump our $89 back into the local economy. Mitzi and Toledo absolutely love up-and-coming designers, so I made some calls and managed to wrangle us some invites to a Sudler-supported fashion show, “Les Carcasses des Animaux.”

Everyone who was anyone was there: the entire “Zionist conspiracy” at the Yale Daily News, Jesse Jackson (whom Mitzi air-kissed twice), and all the dons of the a cappella mafia. I could hardly contain my excitement. I hesitate to call it a show — it was an experience, sheer brilliance. The theme was “death, pestilence and glam.” Everywhere you looked, bearskin, leather, mink, baby harp seal. It was a revelation! I was just starting to get really into the sequined corpses being chucked down the runway to Punjabi techno music whenÊI heard the most horrible and offensive thing ever to make my ear drum quiver. It sent chills up my spine. It’s so offensive, in fact, that I’m almost embarrassed to write it — oh, what the hell.

“Die, fur scum, DIE!”

Suddenly, the chinchilla men’s capris and sequined cowboy hats (I told you the show was freaking amaaaaaaazing, yes, with seven As) were covered in red paint and hairy-pitted protesters stormed the stage screaming something about defenseless animals!

“Oh Christ! Mitzi, Toledo, RUN! It’s PETA!”

“What? I’m not hungry.”

“No, P-E-T-A! Those people who think animals can’t defend themselves!”

“But they have claws!”

“Oh, shut up and run! My sweater’s dry clean only!”

We covered our faces and ran through the veritable demilitarized zone of red paint and dove into our limo and held each other while we cried and sipped highballs. Needless to say, we were traumatized. Mitzi is still ripping into Sara Lee frozen cheesecakes and Toledo can barely sleep. It was a terrible experience, but I think I learned a lot. I saw some of the models the next day, and not only were they bruised, but the bearskin thongs gave them terrible rashes. If it weren’t for those militant hippies, I’d be soaking in oatmeal right now, oh the horror.

All in all, I’d give the night a B-, and the rest of the week’s festivities were equally disappointing. Strike Week didn’t really pan out the way I wanted. Is an open bar, some plasma video screens, light shows, free flowers and all-you-would-never-think-about-eating couscous so much to ask? Even Tommy Hilfiger gave us that during his show. Who taught these grad students how to throw a party?

Some people would argue that there were more serious issues at stake this week, and I completely agree. For one thing, Lil’ Kim dropped her new album, La Bella Mafia. I know where my 89 bucks is going.



Bradley Bailey is the new black.

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