OR HOW WE SENT OUT 60 LOVE MESSAGES ON VALENTINES DAY, DURING NYFW !
Some great stories start with an idea that came to you in the shower. At least that’s the case for me. On February 12th, as I was washing away the day, a bit beat up and deflated, I realized that Valentines Day was around the corner and that it fell on New York Fashion Week. We were in the middle of the Love Project on the blog and I was deeply involved in both. This idea came so fast and had such precise visual image for me, that I had to make this happen.
And so, like with any good ideas that come to you in the shower, this was a crazy one.
We were in the middle of Love Project
here on the blog, as I have already mentioned, and it seems only natural to me to try tying Valentine’s Day to Fashion Week in order to send out a message of love. But it wasn’t going to be any kind of love message, I wanted to make it personal… I wanted it to be about self-love.
I thought that it would be great to use my dear wife Anastasia Durasova’s make-up skills to copy a print from some current designer pieces on model’s faces, dress them up and send them out with some love messages, roses or even balloons to give those away to random strangers at Lincoln Center during New York fashion week. And I thought why the hell not?! This seemed like such a great idea and ti made me so excited, that the fact that Valentine’s Day was only two days away didn’t scare me at all. I realized that being surrounded but so many amazing talented people, this sudden project would come together if it was meant to be. I embraced the idea.
And then we hit record cold temperatures in New York. The next day I missed a fashion show because traffic was so congested that it took me an hour and a half to get to the destination. By then, of course, the show had already started, so I canceled fashion week for the day and made a trip to Kate Spade store to purchase my second dress for the valentine’s day project, instead. The first dress I was already wearing. It was a beautiful creation by Mary Katratzou that I had purchased earlier for the fashion week.
As soon as I walked up to the store, I saw The Dress. It had LOVE written all over it as all-over print.
The magic had begun for me in that moment.
Two main ingredients for the love potion were now in my hands. It was up to mother nature to decide the outcome of this venture from here. It was freezing out and the wind would have made it impossible for the girls to be comfortable out on the street for more than 15 minutes. We were experiencing arctic chills.
When I got home that night the weather report was surprisingly updated to dramatically warm temperatures for just one day, February 14. That evening I posted a message on my personal Facebook page asking my friends to connect me to two models, who would be available the next day. Within a couple of hours, by some miraculous course of events, I had my two models and Anastasia had confirmed that the team of a major fashion magazine, that was shooting cover shot at a triplex in the village, agreed to host us the morning of the Love Inception Project, so that Anastasia could do the girls make up during her breaks. I am forever grateful to that amazing team of people for making this happen as they will remain my nameless heroes in shining armor. For obvious reasons.
I spent the rest of the night working on the love notes and personalizing my business cards.
The models gathered at 7 AM in the morning at my house to finish up the outfits and headed over to the village to start the preparations.
As the girls were getting their makeup done, I took a cab to the best balloon store in NYC, http://www.balloonsaloon.com/
and ordered 60 balloons to give away that afternoon. They got delivered to the Village location 2 hours later.
And, by another surprising course of events, the cab driver who had taken us from my house to the Village that morning had a huge car, so I took his number in case we needed help transporting the balloons to Lincoln Center. Now we also had a big enough car to not worry about transportation in several cars. Another piece of puzzle fell into place by itself.
The only piece that worried me was that I didn’t find a photographer to document the process for the blog and it didn’t look like I was going to have too much time doing that myself. But I grabbed my camera like any true believer in miracles woudl do!
As we were stuffing balloons through the back door of the car, laughing hard and blocking traffic on the small Village street outside the triplex we just spent 5 hours in, it finally hit me- it was happening! We are in fact doing it. And with that came childlike joy and all three of us started giggling. As it started to snow, large fluffy flakes, swirled by the pleasant soft wind were hitting the windshield of our ride, the three of us were giggling in anticipation.
And you will not believe what happened next!
As we got out of the cab, headed to the middle of the Plaza, surrounded by photographers, tangled in the 60 balloons and notes attached to each stem, in the wind and snowflake shower, me, still trying to figure out the photography situation, in the lens-clad line of faces I suddenly saw a friend! A photographer who I usually run into at Burner event parties and who goes by JPZ Image, was shooting Fashion Week. In all my years at NYFW I have never seen Juan here. This was a miracle!
Juan immediately jumped on the opportunity to help and now, with sudden help of another angel, Love Inception was not only happening, but also being very well documented!
As the wind tangled our balloons, we started cutting the strings. The demand was more than the 3 of us could manage without the help of scissors.
And the best part, of course, was the reaction. Just look at JPZ Image pictures below!
All messages were hand written with almost no repeat. This way when a person picked a balloon, they also picked the message intended for them.
This was an amazing calling of heart and I can’t tell you how happy I am to have followed on it. We had no sponsors, no agenda, I only wanted to give and remind people to look for love within first. And if we have planted ONE seed, this was all worth it!
I thank my amazing girls, Lena and Kseniya for being such good sports and braving the weather for almost an hour and for their bright spirits! And for the smiles!
I am forever grateful to Anastasia for her talent and contribution and for making this happen on the set of an important shoot.
I thank Juan for the gift of pictures for this project! For being my own personal miracle of the day!
And I thank YOU for being my readers, which fills me up with never ending energy to continue on this mission!
And I want you to please let me know if this story has inspired you to action in any way. Please let me know if this sparked an idea or a feeling. It would mean the world to me!