Monday, April 13, 2009

Let's Talk About Sex

When Sex and the City premiered on HBO June 6, 1998, I was eager to see what it was all about. An avid fan, I would watch religiously every Sunday. The show tapped into the cultural zeitgeist and became a phenomenon. When I spoke with Jeff Bewkes, then HBO head and person responsible for green-lighting the series, in retrospect he knew Sex and the City was a hit but could not have predicted its groundswell of support from HBO subscribers and the general public. So it made perfect sense for me to ride the show's proverbial coattails when I staged my "guerrilla" runway show. On the sidewalk outside of the Bryant Park tents one steamy September afternoon in 2000 during New York Fashion Week, my models strutted behind face masks of the characters from the series. I actually borrowed the idea to take my show to the streets from a designer named Lola Faturoti. She had garnered recognition just seven months earlier outside of Ralph Lauren's show. And since it had worked wonders for her, I figured it might do the same for me. But I could not do it alone. I had to assemble a team. I hired Ron Goldstein who has a company aptly named FreeMedia. He had done a lot in the political arena but wanted to apply his expertise to other industries as well. He convinced me that I needed a hook. Otherwise, I would be like any other young designer trying to get face time with the press. Jointly, we settled on the idea to extrapolate elements from Sex and the City. My sister, Ashanti, had been very supportive and she said she would be there for me again. She was in charge of the boom box which played a continuous loop of the music used to promote the new season. And there were people for hair and makeup as well. As soon as my models descended from their perches inside the SUV which had carried us from my office in the garment district to the park, they were bombarded by reporters and photographers and onlookers. Questions about who was responsible were hurled immediately and fervently. But when an employee of HBO who was present for the circus of which I was the ringleader threatened me with a lawsuit it really was too little too late. I'd already had the best Sex ever!

Peace & Fashion!

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