NYFW Diary: I Ate My Way Through Sunday’s Shows

Leandra “Sleeps with Both Eyes Closed” Medine shares a day in her sorry-ass life during New York Fashion Week


8:30 a.m.

This is when I wake up, but it is not when I get out of bed. I reach for my phone, open Instagram, feel shame for opening Instagram because you’re really not supposed to do that first thing in the morning, but then get distracted by text messages, mostly from Amelia, who has annotated the previous night’s Alexander Wang show in Bushwick. We text back and forth for at least 25 exchanges about the show; she’s much more focused on the spectacle of the show but I think the clothes are kind of great! They remind me of what I call the heyday of New York fashion — you know, that sliver of time between 2008 and 2010 when Phillip Lim and Alexander Wang straight up owned this town. I revel in my nostalgia, she gives zero fucks, and so…I meditate.

9:15 a.m.

In case you’re wondering, I use the Headspace app for my meditation practice, I tend to go for the 10-minute meditations even though you can select ones that are as long as 60 minutes. The set I’m working through right now is on bravery. So far I still feel like a cowardly shrimp but I’m comfortable in my crustacean skin, so that’s something, right? Moving on! I brush my teeth, do some other boring stuff like wash my face and urinate, then I decide that I will go out to get a matcha, not make my own; it’s Sunday, dammit! I needeth not work. So I put on a wool sweater, kneecap leggings and cashmere slippers by The Row because they make me feel extravagant and beautiful, no matter what they say, and then I walk to Le Pain Quotidien to retrieve my warm beverage. You should also know that I have accessorized my wrists specifically for this walk. For as much as we discuss the circus of fashion week, I, for one, am truly in circus mode 365 days a year.

10:20 a.m.

By now I’ve returned home, made an omelette with no fillings, consumed two pumpkin seed crackers and about six spoons full of cottage cheese. The other thing I’ve already done is read the cover story of the New York Times review section. The story was called “Rich People’s Secrets,” and was written by an anthropologist studying New York wealth. One piece of her thesis, which really stuck with me, indicates that while we are all supported in our pursuit of wealth, those who receive it are subsequently ostracized.

11:11 a.m.

I eat more cottage cheese because, I don’t know? I guess part of my new fall persona is acting like I am a 90’s dieter, so where the Slim Fast at? I may also be procrastinating because I have to file a review before my first show (1 p.m., Mansur Gavriel). I set out to write about Area (a cool new brand, read it all here), while oscillating between browser tabs, reading Amelia’s reviews from yesterday (she forgot to mention that Creatures of The Wind was hands down the best thing that has happened this fashion week so far). In another tab, I am searching “windbreaker pants,” because I can’t un-see this look from Tibi.

Never wear anything else ever again ever ✔️#tibiss18

A post shared by Leandra (Medine) Cohen (@leandramcohen) on

12:03 p.m.

I’m done writing, FYI. Now I must get drizzessed, which is fashion speak for dressed. I usually try on at least two outfits before I settle on what I will actually wear but this early afternoon it is as if I am possessed by the best version of my stylist self and that version of myself is driving me to my closet, pulling at a pair of Victorian-style white linen shorts by Isabel Marant, which I have owned for four years and which are not clean at all. Then my fingers reach toward the Maison Cleo top that spawned a million blog posts. Before I know it, there’s a black tweed tuxedo jacket covering my shoulders and a pair of fishnet socks and black brogues on my feet.

12:43 p.m.

Lest I forget the pearls and gold beads draped across my neck!

1:01 p.m.:

I roll up to the Mansur Gavriel show (I wish when I said “roll up,” what I meant was “by rollerblade”), while on the phone with my sister-in-law. We’re talking about salmon and how she likes cottage cheese, too, which is so much fun (I love real life!) but I have to get off the phone because a big millennial pink box awaits and the gangbuster bag-and-shoe designers of this era are about to launch clothes. Clothes, I tell ya! Fabrics that cover your skin.

1:26 p.m.:

In case you’re wondering, there was delightful Italian music to serenade the wears of Mansur Gavriel, which consisted entirely of tonal looks across a span of brown, beige, pink, yellow, navy and red. If you want to see the collection, guess what! You can buy it on Net-a-Porter right now. How’s that for satisfying?

Meanwhile, I link up with English gal pal Pandora Sykes and we walk a block to the Chobani yogurt store for lunch. Both of us power through our meals and I forget to take any photos given all the powering-through in progress, but by the time we are done and have spoken our faces off, we are both set to go to the Sies Marjan show, so that’s what we do.

3:41 p.m.:

Sies Marjan was sooooo delicate. At first I was really excited because a pair of cargo pants opened the show and I just love when Harling is right, and then I was even more excited because the theme of the day seems to be tonal dressing, only at this show the use of color is wild in the best way possible. There are so many pastels and I am particularly drawn toward the mint green and lavender, but there are also these pajama suits, modeled by a trio of men and that’s really how I plan to dress next spring. Like a trio of men.

4:06 p.m.:

We’ve landed at Sandy Liang’s presentation where there is a patent leather coat with a lavender fur interior. The chosen venue is the Standard in the East Village and there are afternoon cocktails, which I prefer to call COCKtails, being passed around. I am particularly keen on one tank top with chain straps and Man Repeller’s pal Kira is modeling like a champ in the small presentation, among a cohort of beautiful women. Btw, I just checked in on the review I wrote for Area this morning; it’s doing really well. I’m so excited.

4:19 p.m.:

Pandora and I get back in my car (if you follow Man Repeller on Instagram, there is a 0% chance you have missed a single one of my odes to our #CARPARTNER!!!) to head toward  the DVF presentation. The conversation gets really deep really fast: We cover a Catholic upbringing and how it is different from a Jewish one. We talk about love in all its permutations: finding it, dodging it, wanting it, losing it. We talk about fertility, we sip on bubble tea. By the time we have reached the purported destination, my #CARPARTNER!!! realizes that he accidentally took us to 60th and 10th Avenue instead of 60 10th Avenue, an address on 14th street. It’s fine, Pandora and I have more ground to cover, so as we zip on down the West Side Highway, we also talk about boarding school.

5:21 p.m.:

You know how I said Creatures of the Wind was the highlight of this week? I don’t take it back, but holy sequin, DVF ruled! The shoes! The colors! The prints! The fringe. I’ve been cogitating on several different hypotheses regarding what makes a brand successful today and I keep landing on personality. This used to be called brand identity, I think, but that’s too broad a term to describe what it takes to stand out now. Personality is specific, narrowly focused and capable of being plucked from a mile away. Jonathan Saunders is doing such a damn good job honing in on exactly this and to be quite frank, it’s exciting as hell to see a more inclusive brand from a price-point perspective earning this kind of credibility/stamina. See, this is what New York fashion is all about, people!

5:45 p.m.:

I’m going to pee in my pants. I don’t want to pee in my pants, so I go home to pee, change really fast and then undergo an obscene craving for udon noodles, so I get back in my #CARPARTNER!!!, this time with my #lifepartner!!!, take a few selfies that make me feel like a contortionist, or at least like my yoga journey is still intact, and then head to udon noodle town USA where I eat tamago and noodles.

Abie updates me on the havoc hurricane Irma is about to wreak on Miami while I update him on my hopes and dreams for the next iteration of Man Repeller. Our conversations seem disjointed and the level of urgency from my end seems disproportionate, so we text everyone we know in Florida until the noodles have finished. I am full of magnesium and it is time boom boom boom for Prabal Gurung then Rihanna. Yes, Rihanna.

9:52 p.m.

Sorry ppl. I blacked out. Bye.

Photos via Leandra Medine; collage by Edith Young with feature image by Daniel Zuchnik via Getty Images.

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  • Impressive one day diary, everything is documented so clear and honest. Although it seems like a really busy day, it is definitely an unforgettable experience at Fashion Week.

  • nevvvvave

    I read the same NY times story/essay excerpt about wealth and really loved it, especially the larger point that our obsession with calling out INDIVIDUAL people’s “privilege” only serves as an opportunity for the wealthy class (as a whole) to escape from any meaningful criticism of crazy socioeconomic imbalance. It’s much easier to apologize for privilege and quickly move on than to confront all of the realities of how that wealth was accumulated and why. Also really scary to think about how the American/Western upper class has moved on from “showy” or ostentatious displays of conspicuous spending (ex: removing price tags from furniture so that their maids don’t know how much it cost) as a way to have their cake and eat it too. But in my opinion, this also has its roots as a way of defining who is “old money” vs. “new money”.

    • Read that article too! The photo was so arresting I couldn’t not read it! Such an interesting discussion that left me wondering: if you are ashamed of the conspicuous spending, why are you doing it? Who wants to hide things from people who work in your house? Also, if you are concerned that the cost of your couch will be disheartening to your cleaning lady, maybe you should pay her more? I feel like that article left me with so many questions!


      • nevvvvave

        Yes, exactly! So interesting to read about how the rich are managing their guilt by obscuring how much they spend on a specific item/piece of furniture/clothing but on a larger scale still rationalize their immense wealth compared to other people (like the maid) by buying into this whole “rich people who work hard deserve everything they have” trope. Some cognitive dissonance!

        • kay

          this is all leading to a larger discussion of meritocracy. many people want to fix meritocracy so that it works as advertised, an unbiased reward system for hard work and talent (equal work, equal pay). the understanding is this will finally be fair. but what this article exposes, i think, is that it is obvious to at least the salaried rich, who are working for their money rather than inheritors, that they are not proportionally more worthy dollar for dollar than their nannies and housekeepers. the rich know that the meritocratic rewards for what the market values will not be fair, and they can see that it’s deeply dehumanizing just how unfairly the not-wealthy are devalued in comparison to their employers. i personally don’t love the alternatives to meritocracy, but i don’t believe that wealth should be considered “justly earned”. everyone works hard. just call the money luck and good timing.

    • S

      Went strait to read that article as well. I feel like there is something terribly wrong about individuals who have generated 50 million in wealth through finance/have houses worth 10 million. No one should be able to earn 50 million, people don’t need that much money to function let alone be happy.

      • BB

        I don’t think it’s a not a question of whether people should or shouldn’t earn 50 million. It’s happening every day, not just in America but all over the world. One of the the points I think the writer tries to address is whether meritocracy works. If it (meritocracy) really worked then no one would have the need to hide their wealth and “act” as though they were “normal” or middle class.

        • S

          I’m from the UK, many of the powerful people here are from old moneyed families. It is very clear that meritocracy doesn’t work. Our government is largely an old boys club.

          When I see the problems people are facing here, I don’t think it’s moral that there are individuals who have so much money. I feel the writer is dancing around that question at the end of the article.

          We are under austerity, public sector (e.g nurses/teachers etc.) pay has not gone up in years, and yet there are people in the finance industry making huge amounts every year, like some of the people in this article.

    • Arden

      I read that article this morning and found it fascinating – one point that stuck out to me was how some people the writer interviewed didn’t consider themselves wealthy because they compared their income to friends who are “truly” of the 1%. This passage in particular won’t get out of my head: “When I used the word “affluent” in an email to a stay-at-home mom with a $2.5 million household income, a house in the Hamptons and a child in private school, she almost canceled the interview, she told me later. Real affluence, she said, belonged to her friends who traveled on a private plane.”

  • Definitely shouldn’t check Instragram first thing in the morning, but sometimes you just have to! I try to hide it from my husband – ha!

    How is your meditation going? I think you’re very brave! The sock and loafer combo would have left my palms sweating, but it all looks great on you. Also, did you read “How to Fix the Person You Love” in the Sunday Review? That was a good one too!


    • BB

      That was a really good read. Thank you for sharing. I’ve always thought constructive, for your growth, criticism is necessary in any healthy relationship but it would be delivered in a kind manner. Does this “kind” delivery rob me of my “3 gold medal” type ambition, I wonder?

      • Haha! Good question! My relationship is nowhere near “3 gold medal,” but we push each other harder than most people – that’s why the article stuck out to me! My husband is the king of tough love (English school system and all), and though he’s softened over the years, it can still be hard to hear the truth when you’re feeling vulnerable. I used to not understand it when I was younger, but looking back he often told me the same things a $300-an-hour therapist would have. Now I try to do the same for him. Anyway, it’s a balance. I think the “3 gold medal” support is an interesting idea, but I wouldn’t want my partner to be too hard on me, or give up everything just to help me meet my goal. At least not in the long run.

        • Senka

          I am curious about the tough love thing. Yes a 300 dollar therapist may say the same thing, but those 300 (cound I afford them) would be worth it, because the delivery would be much less painful. I find tough love to be just an excuse for something that borders on mental and verbal abuse, especially from men to women. Even historically speaking. It’s also one of the reasons I am single I guess. So I’m by no means an expert.

          • Giving criticism to a partner is inherently difficult, and honestly even if it’s delivered in the kindest way can still be hard to hear because it’s different from how we see ourself. My partner and I handle it in a healthy way we’re both happy with because we want the best for one another and come from that place. However, I totally agree that there’s appropriate ways to share it and many ways criticism can be abusive! I think when your partner is your coach – especially given the stress and intensity of the Olympic level – I don’t think it’s likely a healthy situation.

      • Senka

        The manner it’s delivered in is everything!!!

  • Imaiya Ravichandran

    reading this made me wanna take a nap.

    actually, i wanted to nap anyway (but it sounds like a busy weekend indeed!!)

  • ELsa

    Please make a full post of the convo with Pandora, pretty please 🙂 PS Loveed how you styled that Chanel

  • Mandeep

    leandra who makes that ring with the L on it??

  • Lindsey

    I read that NYT article the other day and thought it was so fascinating!!

  • Harling Ross


  • Katy

    love this, and have so many comments.
    1) Always tell the story of every day in the context of what you ate
    2) When people ask me what industry I want to be in I will now say “fabrics that cover your skin.”
    3) I want fishnet socks
    5) this one is actually a question–did you black out from exhaustion or from the excellence of Fenty Puma?

  • Fisayo Longe

    This abrupt ending is killing me. I was having so much fun. Lol.

  • Hollie Bell

    Random question, but I’m coming to New York on holiday next month and I fancy trying that bubble tea- where is it from? Any other recommendations are welcome too! Thanks!

  • AnnaFrancey

    COTTAGE CHEESE! WINDBREAKER PANTS! 2 things I am passionate about. Also do you wear those crazy sunglasses when you go inside an establishment, or do you put them on your head?? I always feel nuts wearing sunglasses indoors, but I also don’t like when they get stuck in my hair and I don’t wanna hold them!!!!!!!!!