The experience of attending Richie Rich's epic clusterfuck of a show on Thursday night may have destroyed us. Arrival to departure, it was a three-hour odyssey — an epic poem full of rage, drag queens, nudity, figure skaters, and, inexplicably, the attendance of a 4-year old child. Our notes from the show read like nonsense sentences people make from novelty fridge magnets: "Tinsley. Penis! Sequined panties. Penis redux. Pretzel?" We feel unable to remember what life was like in a gentler age, before this show was inflicted upon us. It is day one of Fashion Week, and already, we have met our Waterloo. Richie Rich has broken us.
It began with the fact that instead of posting PR people in front of the Hammerstein Ballroom with explanatory advice and helpful binders — as is de rigueur at these things — the organizers all stayed inside, where they cowered behind the glass doors looking generally terrified and whispering into their phones. They peered ineffectually at the teeming, impatient, freezing masses, all of whom had seats, backstage passes, or VIP tickets, and none of whom had any idea where they were supposed to queue up. And as the minutes ticked coldly by, we all began to wonder, "Am I really going to be crushed to death in line for a Richie Rich show?" It seemed like such an undignified end. One woman who had somehow actually managed to get inside early on was later bodily ejected for what sounded like excessive public drunkenness. As we surveyed the chaos from our perch near the top of the steps, a photographer next to us huffed, "This would never happen at Oscar de la Renta." And that is true on just about every single level (including the forthcoming pretzels and penises). Occasionally somebody potentially official peeked out to yell at us that we were a fire hazard, ignoring the fact that we were actually in a death trap of their very own making. The anxious crowd, with every inch of space hotly contested, only willingly parted for one person: a dude delivering dinner for the models. Apparently feeding the willowy is the last truly universal philanthropic cause of Fashion Week.
But the real insanity began when show itself started, an hour and ten minutes late: First, a harpist played. Then an opera singer performed a lovely aria while a platinum-dyed ballerina in turquoise sequins danced, before being roughly kissed by a dude who looked like he might tie her to the tracks for being unable to pay the rent. Then the Harlem James Gang came out to sing and dance. At this point we'd seen three separate performances, yet nary an outfit down the catwalk. Someone across the runway from us slumped down and put his head on someone's shoulder in a sign of abject mental and emotional surrender. And nothing had even really happened yet.
Oh, but eventually it would. And it did. For about an hour — roughly five times the usual length of a fashion show. Per usual, Tinsley Mortimer opened the clothing portion of the show, and also per usual, she won the Most Dressed award for having the least amount of her flesh on display on Rich's catwalk. What followed the Tinz was a dizzying array of leggings, tights, socks, disco halter tops, and shoes so awkwardly sloped that every model who descended the stairs either wobbled or grabbed the railing in barely concealed terror. At some point, Richie Rich himself popped out to warble some kind of dance single which included the line, "My name is Richie Rich and my favorite color is glitter," and which may still in fact be going on as we type. The Harlem James Gang came out yet again. Some other random dude popped out and performed what seemed to be a portion of a terrible, terrible musical, complete with half-naked backup dancers. Then the models marched past us again, in the same clothes. We had already been there for what felt like three days, and we hadn't even seen Johnny Weir yet, nor J-Woww from Jersey Shore, despite confirmation from their respective Twitters that they were going to be walking in the show. Did they get tired of waiting around and run off together to grab a drink?
No. That would be too easy. Because it was right then that a whole other selection of models appeared: men in sequined briefs, a dude wearing a giant pretzel made of wood slung over his shoulders, another with a wooden banana across his back like a messenger bag, approximately 75 nipples, several masquerade masks, one unfortunate man clad in a wide-mesh pair of briefs through which the tip of his penis was poking (he wore these up and down the runway and right past our faces at least three times), and — finally! — the impressively muscular Weir, who is better than this, and who was clad in a brown loincloth and coated in so much body glitter that you could hang him in your living room and use him as a reading light. By the time the lady models came out yet again — seriously, the same clothes, for a third time — a silver-sparkles-clad and slightly confused-seeming JWOWW finally appeared, and we actually said to each other, "Oh, thank God, it's JWOWW," a sentence that possibly has never been uttered in the long history of mankind. Because we knew that JWOWW escorting Richie Rich down the runway meant that finally, finally, this show was ending. At least technically: While we are no longer physically imprisoned in the Hammerstein Ballroom, we fear we may never reclaim our psyches.