Being Sarah Mendelsohn

A Funny Girl's Foray Into Fashion

By Delaney Yeager

Though I had been itching to spend more time with my girl, Sarah, and though I had dreamed for years of experiencing New York Fashion Week, let’s be honest… I was in it for the free shit. As a recent graduate, broke and lost, I jumped – leapt, flew, rocketed – at the opportunity to dress up, gallivant through Manhattan, sip wine with the beautifuls, and accept complimentary accessories. And, holy Prada, was I glad that I did. The first event to which Ms. Mendelsohn invited me was Keep.com’s New York Fashion Week Breakfast. Sarah and I entered the private residence on the fifty-seventh floor of the Bloomberg Towers... “Welcome, ladies. You look beautiful. Would you like to wear your necklaces now or later?” That’s right, as we entered, a woman stood with a gold necklace in hand, ready to clasp around any guest’s willing neck. The accessory was not unlike Carrie Bradshaw’s famous tag – don’t act like you don’t know exactly what I’m talking about – however, this one read, “I’m A Keeper.” I looked at the golden, cursive letters… Cheesy? A little, yes. True? I can’t be so sure. Free? So fucking free. “Yes. I’ll wear mine now, thank you.”

My date and I immediately migrated to the floor-to-ceiling windows, which boasted breathtaking, sweeping views of New York City. Rhapsody in Blue played in my head as I tried not to begrime the pristine windows with my begrimey nose. As we gazed out, my stomach growled audibly enough to make the anorexic guests blush. We looked around for the spread… there was coffee… and juice… and water. Bagels? Maybe a quiche? Please, people. We’re hungry. We’re broke. It’s early. And I’m menstruating. Someone bring some fucking food. I drank as much free coffee as my empty gullet could take when, finally, the fit cater waiters surfaced with several super sexy serving salvers. Aha! Food alert! Twelve o’clock. We made a beeline for the waiter with the great backside (I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help butt stare). So, you know how things look much smaller when they’re far away? This food looked even smaller than that, up close. I picked up a “mini glazed donut” the same way one might struggle to pick up a needle off a smooth surface. The only thing more awkward than eating enormous foods is eating creepily tiny foods. I prayed the charming street photographer didn’t catch me in his lens while I nibbled on the micro-fare.

Though we left the New York Fashion Week Hunger Game with empty stomachs, we each left with a free necklace, a free Cleobella clutch, and a free hairdo. Score. Sarah and I parted ways outside, she to Lincoln Center for a few shows, and I to my apartment, where I would sit in my skivvies, Tweeting too, for, and about comedians. Around four o’clock, I dressed for my second NYFW event of the day. I was feeling frivolous, beautiful, and important, so I sprung for a cab I couldn’t afford. This time, I arrived at a gorgeous location on Central Park West. I approached Sarah who stood outside next to an attractive stranger who ended up being a photographer, though he would cringe if you introduced him as such, for whatever cool-person faux-humility hipster-man reason. He would be the shutterbug for A Hit Of Sarah at this event, which ended up being the Lorry Newhouse show. 

The show was not a runway, but a presentation. Therefore, the models are right there, standing in a room like statues so you may gawk, up close. It’s like going to an exhibit where the mannequins found the light and smiled if you took out your camera. (That sounds much more horrifying than it was.)  If I were high, it would’ve been weird. But in that setting, during that week, it feels perfectly normal. Really, it makes the whole world of fashion seem almost approachable. The collection wasn’t my favorite, but the chardonnay, the company, the Hamish Bowles sighting, and the balcony - across from Chuck Bass’s HOTEL EMPIRE - were all worth the trip and the uncomfortable heels.

A week later, after Sarah and I had gotten drunk and recorded an episode of my stupid podcast, New York Fashion Week was over. But there was one more event for me to attend. Melissa Shoes had invited Sarah to their SoHo flagship, so she may report back on their latest collections and partnership with Lorenzo Martone Bikes. But, having left for her adventure across America, she couldn’t attend, herself. So, yes, Sarah sent an All Things Comedy manager, playwright, and amateur podcaster to moonlight as a fashion blogger for the day.

It was another beautiful day in the city. It had been awhile since I was dressed perfectly for walking through the high-end streets of SoHo. I wove through the talented sidewalk artists and loaded shoppers, recalling my Freshman self, who used to dress her best just to walk in and out of designer stores, pretending she would actually buy something. I approached the boutique of renewed plastic pumps, happy to see that Sarah had sent backup. Andrea Pardo was there, who knew who the fuck she was talking to, and what the fuck she was talking about, which I did not, at all. For thirty minutes I stood by Andrea like a mentally handicapped puppy. Occasionally a beautiful boot or fabulous flat would distract me, now and then I wandered off to snap photos for Sarah, but most of the time I kept my mouth shut, conversation bombed, and photo bombed. The few words I did utter were, “wow”, “oh I love these”, “yes”, and “I’m here representing A Hit of Sarah.” That last one I said a lot. And, fans, you should see the respect I got when I dropped that name. I knew Sarah was a boss, but I had no idea just how bossy her bossness was until proxy had me being treated like a boss.

Before long, the owner of the store said the words you only dream of hearing, knowing nothing like this could or will ever happen to you… “Take a look around and choose a shoe.” Are they saying what I think they’re saying? They were. Overwhelmed by the options, I went for the loudest pair by one of my favorites, Vivienne Westwood. When in doubt and when under pressure, I never ever go for practical. I go for loud. I go for funky. It’s something I need to change about myself, I know. But, when I slipped on my pair of Melissa by Westwood black heels topped with big shiny red lips on the toe, I didn’t care. In fact, I loved the fact that I didn’t go for practical, comfort, or wearability. These were bitchin’ heels. And they were mine. For free. Score number I-had-lost-count.

So, what did I learn by being Sarah Mendelsohn? I learned that I could never do what she does with the level of class that she does it. I share with Sarah an adoration for clothing, art, and aesthetics. I knew early on, though, that being part of the fashion world would leave me feeling slightly empty or unfulfilled. Looking past the glitz, glam, and superficiality that mask the art of the clothing would be difficult for me. I would either quit early or let the fab events and treatment go to my head. Somehow, Sarah does what she does with an astounding maturity, understanding, and humbleness. What that is, I became aware of, is a true, rare love for fashion; one we definitely don’t see everyday. I may be biased, but I compare Sarah to the big wigs: the Ana Wintour’s and Bill Cunningham’s, those silent, demure spectators whose power is unmatchable. There are very few of these in fashion. After my first fashion week with Sarah Mendelsohn, I do not hesitate to say that she will probably be one of them. Keep your eye on her.

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