This story takes place in early autumn 2011. All the events and anecdotes are completely true. No one's names have been changed. This was one of the highlights of 2011 for me and I'd like to share it with you.
Missoni for Target pop-up
Sarah May and I had arrived in NY just two days earlier, coming to town for the IFB Conference (read more about that here), and having only one day left before heading back across the border, we had a serious pow-wow weighing various options of how to spend our last day and night. We were staying in Brooklyn so we had to decide: would we be coming back for dinner or when we hit the city in the morning would we need to be prepared to stay well into the eve (i.e. what to bring, what not to bring and outfits that would [or wouldn't!] be able to go from day to night, natch) and, once on the isle of Manhattan, where would we go and what would we do? In a city with endless possibilities, we were momentarily immobilized by the sheer wealth and breadth of choice. Plus, it was Fashion's Night Out which we knew we wanted to attend, but added a whole other level of where to go at what time and with whom. There were only two things I knew for sure: since it was Sarah's first time in NYC (and since I am a former resident) I felt it was my duty to show her the best time possible and 2) I really wanted to go to the Missoni for Target pop-up shop in Bryant Park. I had been lusting over practically the entire collection (as had most people!) and the chance to get a sneak peek was too tantalizing to turn down.
Ms. May in the diner
After our brief tete-à-tete, we concluded that first and foremost we were hungry! We took the train over and up to my old subway stop at 66th & Broadway. Perfect, really since the tents for fashion week now live at Lincoln Center. We breezed down the sun filled, super wide sidewalks, ducking into one of my fave hotels The Empire (the site of this epic moment) so I could show Sarah the sumptuous art deco lobby. There were people everywhere and we almost (literally) bumped into Erin Wasson who was coming out as we were going in. It's Fashion Week y'all and when you're right across the street from the tents you're bound to come face to face with a supermodel or two. On we ventured in search of food and found it not too far from the hotel in the form of the quintessential New York diner. We had burgers with french fries and coleslaw, seltzer with ice and watery coffee. And pickles! (Don't even get me started on the pickles!)
When we could eat no more, we paid our lovely, diminutive waiter and headed clear down Broadway all the way to Times Square. Seeing Times Square live and in person is quite a sight. And seeing with someone who has never seen it before (and who is one of your closest friends) is a very near second. It is not an exaggeration to say I felt lucky to be by her side and honored to have been the one to take her there first. To cap off this lovely moment, we even caught a glimpse of a few sailors, enabling Sarah to snap this photo and making our visit truly complete.
We banged a left at 42nd street bound for Bryant Park. There aren't many things I'll wait in line for, life is just too short, but Sarah and I agreed Missoni for Target would be worth the wait, provided it wasn't unbearably long. When we arrived, incredibly there were only about 25 people there. Sarah looked at me with a wide grin and said, "Are we doing this? I mean, I think we're doing this!" We took our places, strategized our route once inside, prioritized what were our #1's (for me it was a scarf, Sarah a shift dress) and gave thanks many times over that it wasn't cold and/or raining.
Adele from Fashionista Lab
The two+ hours we waited went by surprisingly fast (due, in part, to the fact that we made friends with a group of incredibly nice girls ahead of us in line who fed us cupcakes!) and before we knew it, we were moving! Divide and conquer was our strategy. The super chic and ever lovely Adele (from the Fashionista Lab) had come to meet us and we all agreed - whatever you get, grab three!
It wasn't quite the psychotic madhouse I thought it would be, the real issue was the heat. Even though it was September and a beautiful, temperate day outside, it was positively sweltering in that place. I mean, really quite unbearable. The heat didn't slow people down and it was still pretty mental. Racks of clothes seemed to disappear into thin air. One minute they were full, the next empty save for one or two XXLs swinging on their hangers as though gale force winds had blown through and they were the only ones strong enough to hang on.
I don't remember all the items I grabbed, but I distinctly remember knowing when I'd had enough. "I've got enough," I thought to myself, "A few pieces is all I need and this heat is stifling." Pre-365FR I think it's quite possible I would have been behaving like a total animal in there, but I wasn't. At all. This came a a bit of a shock but, in truth, I was thrilled. We had gotten in in the first wave, I had three or four items in my hands, I was good. I felt completely satisfied. As per our POA (plan-of-action), I headed straight for the checkout line, scanning left and right for any sign of Adele or Sarah. Unbelievably, they had braved the dressing rooms (and got major fashion girl props from me for doing so) and as I inched my way closer the cash, I saw them scurrying out from behind the curtains towards me. After making our edits and sharing our extras, Sarah passed over her chosen items and her wallet, saying she'd meet me at the end of the line. (Adele, brave girl that she is, headed back into the fray, boldly going up the stairs to where the housewares and luggage - or what remained of them - were housed.) Finally it was my turn at the register and the very nice girl standing behind it offered her congratulations. "Oh yeah," I said, smiling proudly, "I'm so happy we got in!" "No," she said, "You're a winner in our contest: the first 100 people to spend over $100 get to have their photo taken with Margherita and Angela Missoni. Congratulations, you're #100!"
Stupefied from the waiting and the heat and by what she just said to me, I had to ask her kindly to repeat herself. Even then, I couldn't quite believe it. In my fashionista heart, I had already won. I had gotten in, I had gotten my beautiful scarf (which I grabbed off a mannequin and I am pretty sure was the only one in the building), Sarah had gotten not one but two dresses and I still managed to stay upright in my six-inch high Jeffrey Campbell platforms. I was already a winner - this was too much!!! All these thoughts were swirling in my mind as I was shuffled down a line that ended at bona fide fashion royalty. Okay, this is really going to happen, I thought to myself. I am going to meet two generations of one of the most prestigious fashion houses in the world. Okay, deep breath. Italian! Do I know any Italian??? Think, girl, think! Ummm...grazi, prego, tavola... That's ridiculous! I can't say "Thank you for the table", I'll sound like an idiot! Then I was next (and also, last). I walked over and they both smiled with genuine warmth (a remarkable and lovely feat considering they'd already done it 99 times). I shook their hands and managed to say "Grazie mille" - a thousand thank-yous. We had our photo taken, they shook my hand again, smiled again and I was out into the beautifully fresh, cool air feeling like the luckiest little reformed shopaholic in the world.
The Missonis... and me