Halfway through the Nonoo show on Friday afternoon, a ripple of laughter began near the top of the runway and swept the room as haltingly as the model did. A svelte bearded guy in clear-framed specs was sauntering down the runway, impishly nibbling on the straw of an empty Frappuccino cup, clad in a purple dress, mismatched ankle socks, and white heels. One sentence you never expect to write about Fashion Week is “It was like Richard Simmons crossed with Forever 21 and a dash of forgotten American Idol winner Elliott Yamin.” Yet here we are.
The hirsute ham turned out to be New York artist Dustin Yellin, who collaborated with designer Misha Nonoo on the prints in her collection — and apparently decided about a minute before the show that he also would walk in it. Pumps included, even though he didn’t get time to practice in them. “All the girls were in their heels, so I thought I should be, too,” he said. “My heart was beating so fast. I thought I was going to fall over. I was really nervous.” So why do it? “I just figured if I’m going to try something new, like design clothes, I should take it all the way home,” he said. “We are all going to die so fast, we might as well enjoy it.” This was a surprisingly dark turn for a whim that began with sashaying and caffeine. Maybe he just needs a refill on his Frap.
On the way out, we blew past a girl standing in the doorway in a super-cute green dress and gold jewelry, looking exactly like Orange Is the New Black’s Emma Myles, except with great teeth. For good reason, because it was Emma Myles off-duty and therefore out of her Leanne makeup. “We’re shooting right now, but they let me out of prison!” she laughed. “They let me out and put some makeup on me and I got some fake eyelashes, and here I am.” She told us that the rotting enamel that’s synonymous with her role only takes about three minutes to apply. “It’s a nicotine stain. It looks like nail polish, and they paint it on my teeth in several different layers of several different colors, and all of a sudden I look like I’m from The Walking Dead,” she said. “And it has a really weird texture — it feels like you have a lot of tartar on your teeth, like you haven’t brushed them in four fucking days.” Myles doesn’t seem to mind spending her days looking like a dental cautionary tale, but confessed to shaking some envious fists at the sky when Taryn Manning’s Pennsatucky (please do not bewail this as a spoiler) got herself socked in the mouth — and a fresh set of dentures. “Before, it was like, ‘We’re all in this together!’” Myles said. “Now, I actually want my character to sit in a corner and just pull them out really badass style with, like, pliers. Maybe I’ll pitch that.” Or, like Dustin Yellin, she could just randomly improvise it when it’s Go Time. Somebody cook her up a pair of stunt gnashers.