Puddle Jumpers

There’s a very famous Richard Avedon photo of model Carmen Dell’Orefice jumping off a curb and over a puddle that’s no more than a foot wide, but because of her stride she’d have you think it was the width of an inflatable kiddy pool. Her chin is up, nose is up, left hand holding an umbrella overhead with her right hand resting casually in the coat’s pocket.

Shot in a time before gifs one can still easily assume, judging by her calm demeanor and balletic pose, that she landed just as gracefully as she leapt. I imagine her carrying on as if the jump had never happened with deliberate, quick steps and the same stoic face completely unwavering.

But what the fuck? Because when I try to do this — when I try to jump over entire moats created of ice and snow blocking my passageway like the sidewalk is an enemy kingdom and I’m some sort of potential threat — I fall. Or at least I trip, or, a recent favorite of mine has been the ankle-breaking wobble where I sort of splay my hands around and open my eyes really large like an excited baby and try not to eat shit in front of all of 7th Avenue.

Did you ever take swimming lessons at the YMCA when you were young, and in order to force you not to run (because you could slip and DIE), you had to pat your palms against painted hand prints on the wall? That’s me. That’s how I walk. Only there’s no wall and so I’m just palming strangers.

Yet somehow, after only a day and a half of New York Fashion Week, a whole slew of people have apparently developed the gazelle-like ability to leap over puddles and snow mounds on to ice-laden streets without so much as a hiccup. They are doing it in heels, mind you. They look like the style contingent of human zambonis, just zipping around corners without any care in the world and here I am, walking at the breakneck speed of my 80 year old grandmother.

So what’s their secret?

I think, in the case of some, they may be part goat. Goats are known for their uncanny ability to balance on teeny tiny precarious cliffs, leaping up and down mountains like popcorn, all the while remaining alive.

Another hypothesis is that they used to play ice hockey so frozen water is essentialluy their concrete, or. OR! They have invisible friends. Invisible friends with the manners of southern gentlemen, throwing down invisible coats over not so invisible puddles. Since they are, you know, invisible, no one can see them helping out their high-heelied fashion friends.

The world may never know. We do, however, need to know your theories, so go ahead and cogitate.

Image on the left via Vogue Italia and on the right via All the Pretty Birds

  • CDJ

    Extreme hopscotch during recess in elementary school.

  • Since necessity makes the law, fashionistas have to adapt quickly to any kind of situation, even the most tricky ones! ;

  • Aubrey Green

    I live in California, so do not currently have this problem. If I did, I am sure that I wouldn’t make it, hopefully I wouldn’t actually die, but I would definitely be falling on my ass – not because I can’t walk correctly, or can’t walk in heels, it’s just because that’s what would happen; just because… – I slipped on a banana peel for crying out loud. I was also chased by a goat as a little girl, so this article has more than one meaning to me and I’m not sure what that means exactly. I like the invisible people theory though.

  • Alex Grizzle

    Another literal LOL from y’all
    I’d say some sort of dance background assists in navigating over and around puddles

  • Kiki

    I say, put on your Hunter wellies and jump IN the puddles, not over them. Fuck it.

  • I think the picture of those two women trying to figure out how to not ruin their satin pumps in that big scary puddle is going to be my favorite picture from NYFW.