Have you been wondering why last night's Rock & Republic shit-show, scheduled for 8 p.m., started well after 9 p.m.? Did the musicians who played in a pit in the middle of the runway preen too long, practicing their Guitar Hero faces? Did some poor assistant accidentally mix up one black-leather ensemble with one of the ten million other black-leather ensembles? Did the model accessorized with the fake gun get tackled backstage by security? Did Marc Jacobs walk by, putting the show at a standstill simply through his aura?
No, we're pretty sure the show was over an hour late because that's how long it took designer Michael Ball to figure out how to use his command headset backstage. Ball was being outfitted with the device when we went over to interview him, and, we kid you not, we must have stood there for a good five minutes while he tried to figure out how to fit the earpiece over his ear. Then there was a tangle of wires to be dealt with, and a good many minutes more passed while he tried to figure out how to talk into the thing, punctuated by outbursts of, "How do I turn this fucker on?!"
Ball assured us that he's not a yeller, unless it's called for. "I just need to be in control," he said. "So at the end of the day I don’t have to yell at anybody else." You heard it here first: There's no one but Ball to blame, er, credit with the evening's relentless film-noir aesthetic and parade of fedoras. Ball insists that his inspiration wasn't Bogie and Bacall, but modern film noirs like John Woo movies, the Michael Douglas vehicle Black Rain, and M.I.: 3, which made us wonder if we maybe need to Netflix those babies again to figure out what the hell he's talking about. Ball made a few other grand pronouncements: "Honestly, fashion needs guys like me," "They see the future, and it looks like Rock & Republic," "Recession? I've got five girlfriends now, instead of two." Then we went back to a subject Ball has always been game to talk about: booty. Did he pick his models based on ass size, we asked? A crisis was coming in over the headset. He got distracted. Then he turned back to us. "Ass sex?" he asked. "That's forward…" Then he stood there for a minute and grinned. We had to correct him and move away, lest the show suffer from another hour delay as he contemplated the possibilities. —Jada Yuan