New York Fashion Week... On Acid!
This guy here is our buddy Tyler. And that white stuff on his tongue is partially chewed, acid-dosed Altoids mints.
This is him a little while later, waiting for a cab to take us to a fashion show that was happening as part of New York Fashion Week. At this point, Tyler told me that he was beginning to feel a "floaty floatiness" and had "upward swooshing" in his fingertips.
His trip began to kick in properly when he saw this building from the cab. Apparently it was "all swirly, with swirls swirling into the other swirls."
The trip intensified when it was time for me to pay for our taxi, and it became apparent that our driver was unfamiliar with the concept of cabs.
As I was trying to pay him, he smiled at me and said "it's free" before attempting to hand me a white business card with what appeared to be braille on it. When I insisted on paying, he just kept smiling and pointing toward my phone while saying, "No, no, no."
This is the kind of bizarre exchange that only seems to happen when you're too high to deal with it. Tyler was looking around nervously. When he saw the Matrix business card he started to cackle, before asking the cab driver, "What's happening? Am I tripping?"
Eventually, the cab driver let me give him $15, and we headed to the show. It was held on this pier.
Outside the venue, there were a billion people rushing around. Mostly street-style photographers. You may already know this, but being in a crowd is pretty much the last thing you want to do when you're on acid. Followed pretty closely by having your photo taken. Tyler looked as though he was beginning to panic. "Fucking street-fashion photographers... They're everywhere... It's like a street-style nightmare." He said, before rushing us inside.
Once inside, we had to collect our press passes, which was an intense process even for me, and I was sober. There was some kind of issue with our names being on the press list (in that they weren't), so I had to spend about 15 minutes trying to argue our way in. Whenever I looked over at Tyler, he was staring at the ground with a very somber expression on his face. Afterward, he told me, "It was horrible in there. There were so many people, and they were all wearing leather. There was so, so much leather, and they were all pushing against me in it. Horrible."
Because we were there as press, I told Tyler he had to interview any important fashion people we came across. The first one of those we saw was Nicola Formichetti, creative director of Mugler and stylist to Lady Gaga. Although Tyler begged to not interview anyone because he was scared he wouldn't be able to do it, he turned out to be a natural and was able to snag us this EXCLUSIVE interview:
VICE: So... are you... excited for the show?
OK. Thank you. Bye.
As we made our way down the long corridor that led to the runway, Tyler said to me, "I know this is a stereotypical thing to say, but I feel like I'm in some kind of Zoolander kidnapping scenario." I guess acid alters your perception of what is and isn't "a stereotypical thing to say."
Inside the show, it was really crowded. People were running and pushing and shouting. There was a disproportionately high number of Italians, and they were all air-kissing in a very aggressive manor. As you can see, Tyler was really enjoying it.
We didn't have assigned seats. They expected us to stand at the back like a couple of pathetic and disgusting nobodies, so we just ran past the ticket checkers when they weren't looking and sat in an empty spot. Tyler seemed to relax slightly and said to me, "Please don't make me get up and walk around any more people. I'm really comfortable here."
So we relaxed and waited for the show to start.
When the show started, the lights went dark for a second, and then the large neon lighting rig that hung above our heads raised up a couple of feet. Tyler, through hysterical laughter, whispered, "That must have cost them so much money... I feel like the theme of Fashion Week is 'anticipation, but for no reason.' "
On the way in, Tyler had told me that he predicted the music would be "something intense, with a lot of thumping." When I asked him if he was psyched that he'd correctly called the music, a visibly shaken Tyler responded, "The thumping... It's even more intense than I anticipated."
Whenever I looked over, Tyler would be fixated on the back of the woman in front of him, rather than the clothes. When I asked him about this, he explained to me, "There are people touching me in all directions. And the woman next to me keeps taking selfies on her phone. It's really pissing me off, so I need to concentrate on that woman's back. It's the only way I can stop myself from getting angry with everyone. I don't wanna hit anyone."
"Plus, the way her hair meets her jacket. It's very... just, wow."
Then something across the runway from us caught his attention. He began to giggle to himself. "Those stupid-ass hats," he said, pointing. "They're very... British?" I'm not sure what that means, but my feelings RE: the hats are summed up pretty tidily by the facial expression on the guy just to the right of them.
And then the show was over. I asked Tyler what he thought of the two or three looks that he'd actually been able to draw his attention to, and all he said was "so many straps, so much leather."
Then Tyler ran into Olivier Zahm, editor of purple and personification of the phrase "ew, gross."
I told him he should try and interview him, but he said, "I can't do this anymore. And I don't think his jacket was real leather. It felt like pleather. He felt like pleather, too. I didn't like it. Can we get out of here?"
Sick of the crowds, we slipped through a gap in a curtain and ended up in some kind of backstage area, where Tyler used this Porta Potty, which was completely pitch black inside.
He was inside for so long that I started to worry he was having a freakout. But when he came out, he told me, "It was so nice to be in there. I just needed to get away from everything for a minute. So many people were touching me. I don't like being touched in general, but on acid? Fuck!"
Outside, the crowd of street photographers sent Tyler back into panic mode.
"Someone should do a street-style blog, where the street-style photographers only take photos of other street-style photographers. Actually, that probably exists already. Maybe someone could do a street-style blog, where the posts are all posts from the street-style blog where the street-style guy is taking pictures of street-style guys. Wait, what were we talking about again?"
I wanted to let Tyler calm down a little, so we retreated to a pop-up "fashion lounge" that Target had set up across the street. (Seriously, that is an actual thing that actually exists.)
Inside, Tyler mixed the two types of complimentary coffee that were on offer, took a sip, and declared them to be "Wow... just... tremendous."
When I asked him to summarize his Fashion Week experience, he told me, "It was anticlimactic... But to me, that was climactic—how anticlimactic it was. Yaknow? And there was leather everywhere."