SNL's Chloe Fineman Stars in Susan Alexandra's NYFW Show – Harper's BAZAAR

The Susan Alexandra show asked: “Is fashion funny?”
Susan Korn is sitting in a chair in the Olive Tree Cafe in New York’s West Village, her hair in curlers, getting her

acrylic nails coated with Lisa Frank polish, when someone taps her on the shoulder and solemnly announces, “There’s no time for Larry to get beads.” Korn jumps out of her seat, startling the makeup artist who was swooping into apply gold eyeshadow, and cries, “He is our host: He NEEDS beads! Extra beads! All the beads! Please!”
The beads in question are actually makeup gems, the kind Euphoria popularized that make the wearer look as though they are crying sparkles—not the plastic beads that comprise the butterfly and floral adornments on the signature bags for Korn’s brand, Susan Alexandra. But they look similar, and perfect together, which is why a makeup artist begins frantically applying them to comedian Larry Owens, MC of the Susan Alexandra fashion show, which is about to be held below the café at the Comedy Cellar.

Every inch of the space is covered in one kind of bead or the other. Susan Alexandra bags are thrown on every surface, makeup brushes coated in sparkling facial gems are all over the floor, Korn is adjusting a rainbow Susan Alexandra barrette in the hair of Saturday Night Live’s Sarah Sherman, and showtime is in an hour. There’s not a single model to be found, although comedian Hannah Pilkes, one of the 12 comedians cast in the show, towers over everyone in sight at nearly six feet tall.
Standing by the entrance to the cellar, Sherman’s castmate, Chloe Fineman, is sliding a white beaded Susan Alexandra dress over her white slip while Emmy Nominee Sydnee Washington buckles the strap of her metallic pink Gucci pumps. Everyone has been dressed in head-to-toe second hand designer courtesy of The Real Real, accessorized with a minimum of two Susan Alexandra bags, and draped in layers of Susan Alexandra accessories: beaded butterfly hair clips, dolphin earrings, a strawberry lighter case necklace.
A journalist leans over to Owen, who is picking up a yellow Susan Alexandra bag with a long beaded fringe, and asks, “Is fashion funny?” A social media manager standing next to me replies, “This is hilarious.”
This is not how New York Fashion Week usually begins. It’s mere hours after an unprecedented news morning following Queen Elizabeth II’s death, and one day before the official start of a fashion schedule that’s more packed than the city has seen in nearly three years, and yet editors are lining up on Macdougal Street thirty minutes early — when does that happen?! — to sit down for an hour and a half long comedy show at 5pm.

“I think that it’s the antidote to Fashion Week, and I dread Fashion Week,” Korn tells me after the curlers have been removed from her hair. She might be onto something: While waiting in line to be seated, I overhear a fashion writer tell her friend, “This is all I’m really excited for this week.”
The show began with Owens telling the audience, “I know what you’re thinking. Who is this? André Leon Talley from the grave?” Some cheers came from the front row before he continues, “I’m trying to pander here a little bit.” Alison Leiby, a writer on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, started her set by comparing her loathing of fashion week to Hanukkah, “It’s basically eight days of me wanting to set tall, thin things on fire.”

But there were more than just fashion jokes. Chloe Fineman explained the process behind her famous impressions: “I try to imagine them orgasaming,” followed with impressions of Drew Barrymore, Winona Ryder, and Meryl Streep caught in the moment. “Sorry! I know you’re all editors and this is humiliating.” But it isn’t. It’s a joy.
“You have to have a sense of humor in fashion. We’re not surgeons. We’re not doctors,” Korn told me after the show, an ice cream bar in one hand and embellished Louboutin wedges in the other. “I take what I do very seriously and it means the world to me. I employ a lot of people. There’s high stakes with this business. But I still thought, Let’s have fun where we can. Life is hard. Let’s just have a laugh if possible.”
But while her show, displaying accessories you can shop now plus new ready-to-wear pieces you’ll be able to buy eventually, was driven by comedy, everyone still looked beautiful. “What is the number-one attractive trait in anybody?” Korn asked me before answering herself. “It’s humor. And I think that the pieces really come alive on these people who I find just so beautiful because they’re so funny and special and glowing from within.”
Tara Gonzalez is the Senior Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar. Previously, she was the style writer at InStyle, founding commerce editor at Glamour, and fashion editor at Coveteur.

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