Dear beloved readers,
It was a little more than two years ago when I made the decision to fly to New York to visit the university that I had been anticipating as much as I had been doubting. The view of Manhattan’s skyline is what I counted on to bring hope and the idea of coming home to the Bronx is where the fear came from. The route from La Guardia in Queens to Fordham Road in the Bronx was a satisfactory representative of what was about to come. New York was much closer to Mumbai than Manhattan in Sex and The City. The paralyzing traffic and the aggressive horning got me questioning the egoistic voice in my mind that alleged New York was “the one.” In that moment, I knew if I chose to stay, it would not be blink and beads like the narrative of Carrie Bradshaw, but rather fights and fly like the story of Spiderman.
True enough, I drank cans of Red Bull in place of what I thought would be a glass of fancy cosmo. In dreaming of becoming real-life Carrie, the time that I spent in front of the lime light was nothing on-par to what I dedicated to writing fashion reports for various publications all across Asia and the United States in different languages. During my period of discovery on what Carrie called “labels and love,” I seemed to have earned my rightful place in the labels territory. From shopping spree with Diane von Furstenberg to interviewing Grace Coddington, a fashion enthusiast from a rainy northwest land could not have asked for better rewards for his hard work in this cut-throat industry.
On the love side, unfortunately, I am Carrie. Carrie before 40. Carrie with nonperishable love for Aidan. Very much like Carrie’s, my Aidan was in equivalent to the word “humble.” They resigned from my storyline with the memory of low-octave voice that pronounced “Filbert” when the rest went “Nick.” Their octave is not the only thing low, their fashion is too. Unlaundered, sometimes dusty, Fordham jersey and basic khaki shorts are what appeal the most to my eyes; eyes who have seen enough feather train and unsolicited crystals. Served with that style was a pretentious curiosity about the latest runway trend that bridged the disconnection between their Rugby hobby and my passion for fashion. Awkward conversation about fashion in an unbelievably slow escalator and waking up to the hope of catching my middle name shouted from across the field are memories that have been rewinding over and over from the moment I knew I had lost them. How I wish they were fictional characters who signed off after the curtain is closed.
I should give fashion the credit it deserves for the dual role it played in this book. Love maker, deal breaker. Blessing and lesson. Professional and personal. Coming from this lame philosophy about fashion in the name of career and love, I thought, why not make my graduation ceremony everything fashion? Yas! This is the part you all have been wanting to see. No more corny love melodrama beyond this point, only what my guests and I were wearing on the ceremony.
Using Melania Trump’s monochromatic choice of color as the patron of the dress code, I decided that everyone wore a single color outfit. I was confused if I should wear all black or all blue. In the end, blue won. My consideration was that my toga was already black, I would not want to look the same with or without my toga, so I selected blue. It was indigo blue that I ended up wearing. I thought it was a sharp and bright color. The outerwear is by Hugo Boss and the shirt is by Givenchy. I left the tie at home, because the shirt has had a detail that I like on the collar, I do not want the tie to distract the attention. On my feet, I was wearing blue Prada platform shoes. The shoes gave 3 inches added benefit!
My mom. She was very difficult to manage. We were planning for her to wear a see-through long dress that has roses engravement on the lace:
But then she chose not to bring that dress last minute without telling me. Instead, she was trying to be authoritative with this by giving me two beautiful sack dresses to choose: one in black and one in multi color with crystals on the neck. I said, not black, this is spring, and not a funeral. Not that multicolor, because I wanted everyone to wear singular shade of color. This is the multicolor dress that she was planning on wearing. It was gorgeous, but not in compliance with the theme…. sorry!
We swam uptown from 42nd street one day before the ceremony, when I had not even picked up my toga and tassels! Choosing her outfit and guiding her in and out from one boutique to another was as difficult as God’s command to Moses to bring Israelites out from Egypt. She would not believe any of my opinions on most of the dresses that we picked. Block after block, we finally arrived at Roberto Cavalli, which is one of her favorite, and we finally could agree on one dress only to find out that they ran out of her size. It was 3 pm, we begged the lady to alter the one size bigger to her body, as she had to wear it tomorrow. Thank God the tailor lady made it happen in less than three hours. Shout out to Roberto Cavalli Madison Avenue!
On the ceremony, she carried Roger Vivier heels in a paper bag and planned on wearing them when the photojournalists stroke, but again, she bailed on her commitment and stayed with her Giuseppe Zanotti flats. On the accessories, she chose to go with pearls and diamond and Franck Muller curvex watch.
My sister. I knew she would not follow the rules. She was wearing a black dress with brown Prada sling bag and vermilion Steve Madden heels. Yes, the black dress that my mom was about to wear. This is the best one could go on breaking the singular color rule. The only color coordination was between her bag and the strap of her Hermes watch. Oh word.
My dad. He would not even let me touch his outfit. He was furious even before I mentioned that he should wear a corset. But he did manage to get off from his Asics sneakers, suit up, and put on his Hermes drivers. On the wrist, he was wearing Rolex submariner in white gold with diamond on the dial.
As of my Aidan, they were absent, the only thing more annoying than their presence. But had they been there, they would have worn a pale, long sleeve shirt with unwashed slim fit jeans. They hate colors as much as they love sugar-coating conversations.
Special thanks to Getty Images and Jared Siskin for the exclusive coverage of my graduation!