After that, I had a fitting with Leyna Bloom. I love Leyna. We wanted to have her walk in the show, but she’s been out of town and there wasn’t enough time, so she sat front row instead. Leyna’s been walking for us since 2016, and she’s got an amazing walk. She’s a dancer, so she’s so good with movement and she’s so talented—when we first saw her walk, we were like, “Okay, yes, definitely you.”
Then, I had to fix a cross seam that was messed up. Even when we were pattern-making the garment, there were issues. We had to improvise and do a lot of hand-stitching. I was looking to see if it was passable.
The Final Touches
That night, I also finalized the beauty look for each model. I really wanted the makeup and the hair to speak to our overall theme for the runway show. I wanted it to trigger an urgency within the viewers, to tell the story of going from lush, tropical, beautiful plant life into plastic pollution and climate change. It went from big blush to greens and more sour colors, to see that disintegration from healthy to unhealthy.
Ben Ritter, who is my right-hand at Chromat, had been doing a lot of work on the final look of the collection over the past two weeks. He had been taking all of the water bottles from our studio and then cutting them up and melting them over candles to make them all different shapes. They were spray-painted, and once they were dry, we put them onto a fishing net. The night before, it was a matter of positioning each flower and each water bottle where it needed to be and hand-sewing them onto the fishing net.
The live floral element was an interesting new twist on our show prep. We’ve done a lot of amazing collaborations—it’s definitely my favorite part of being a fashion designer and doing Fashion Week. I love working with people outside of the industry: scientists, choreographers, and now florists. It’s just fun to work with someone who doesn’t know the rules and who’s coming from a completely different place. With the flowers, it was the first time I worked with something that could actually disappear, that had such a finite timeline. We could approve certain elements, but there were a lot of changes that you might not have known to happen, between what we imagined and what was the runway reality. The florist had to do everything the day before.
We focused on tropical plants. A lot of the bigger ferns and leaves were from my actual front yard in Miami—I trimmed them, put them in my suitcase, and the florist stored them in her freezer. It felt like home, being able to celebrate this place that I’ve come to love on the runway and knowing where the plant grows in my front yard. I can’t wait to go home this weekend and thank it for its contribution to our show.
I went to the florist at 9:30 p.m. They didn’t want me to come by until all the floral arrangements were done—it was supposed to be earlier, but it kept getting pushed back and pushed back. By the time I arrived, they had finished most of the arrangements, so I was able to just go and approve the final.
The Calm Before the Storm
I went home after that. I was adding friends to the invite list for the show, eating Trader Joe’s dark chocolate-covered ginger, and watching The Bachelor over [my wife] Christine’s shoulder.
I started The Bachelor when Rachel was the Bachelorette, and I’ve been half-heartedly watching ever since. But Christine loves it—she’s going to get so mad that I mentioned this, because it’s very much her DL interest; she just loves to turn off her brain and enjoy. I don’t like Colton. He wasn’t my favorite from Becca’s group, so I haven’t engaged with this season. I don’t know anybody’s name yet. The Bachelor as an enterprise is so reinforcing of like gender norms, it’s so weird.