Who “Walks the Walk” on Batsheva’s Celebratory Runway?

Marilyn Kirschner – Photo by WWD

Last night, Marilyn Kirschner added another title to her already impressive resume: runway model – as she walked in modest-wear-turned-quirky-wear Batsheva’s highly anticipated show at NYFW’s Starrett Lehigh Building.

Ella Emhoff – Photo Laurel Marcus

You may remember VP stepdaughter Ella Emhoff’s dress at the inauguration credited with raising Batsheva Hay’s profile (yes, she was there last night), but Batsheva (who started her line in 2016) is so much more than a fashion designer – she is a visionary marketer.

Amy Fine Collins – Photo Laurel Marcus

Making the invisible visible, as in using only women 40+ as runway models, was the theme of her show. Dancer Lori Belilove opened the show with an orchestral quartet that set the theme of self-expression regardless of age. Brilliant and chef’s kiss!

Why women over 40? The New York Times quote: “Because I’m 42,” Ms. Hay said. And she has complicated feelings about that. “I find that aging is a big preoccupation for me and my friends. It’s an area of discomfort in fashion.”

Molly Ringwald – Photo Laurel Marcus

So, what was it like to be “queen” for a day and to share the runway with Molly Ringwald, Amy Fine Collins, Actress Ione Skye, Poet Vanessa Place, and others? I’m sure we’ve all fantasized about walking that looong runway, but few of us ever get to do it, especially those of a “certain age,” so I went straight to the source.

Hair & Makeup – Photo Marilyn Kirschner

“It was chaotic but controlled chaos with such a large cast of characters doing hair and makeup (we had to be there about 4 hours before the show),” explained Marilyn. “But it felt very organized at the same time. And with the venue’s large windows facing over the Hudson and offering expansive city views, it was spectacular and energizing.”

“Special thanks to stylist Natasha Royt, the dressing team, and the “movement director” Jorge Dorsinville, who showed us where to walk down the long runway and when to turn. How we walked and what we did on the runway was up to us. We were told to be ourselves. It was not scripted. It was meant to be fun.”

Marilyn Kirschner

Batsheva – Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

Were there any moments of bonding with such an eclectic combination of women? “Before the show, Batsheva gathered us together to thank us and offer a few words about how meaningful, emotional, and heartwarming the entire experience was, and she acknowledged the outpouring of support for her goal to celebrate an eclectic group of women over the age of 40.”

As anyone who knows Marilyn would be aware, she is the accessories maven. “I know exactly what to do with this dress,” she said at the initial fitting. Batsheva encouraged her input in styling the dress in her inimitable way. When Marilyn heard that she could accessorize the black dress she wore in the show with her trademark “Chanel-look” pearls, that did it!

Laura Geller – Photo Laurel Marcus

“I love that I not only had a choice in what I wore but was also able to personalize by adding my own accessories and shoes,” she said. On aging: “As someone who turns 75 later this year, I was definitely one of the oldest, if not the oldest! The show’s point was not to make us look younger but to celebrate who we are.” Incidentally, Marilyn shares this milestone birthday year with Anna Wintour, Miuccia Prada, Meryl Streep and Vera Wang.

Attendee wearing Batsheva – Photo Laurel Marcus

And lastly, “Thank you, Batsheva! I was so honored to be included in this fabulous lineup of women, aged 40 and up — women of all shapes and ethnicities, many of whom were not professional models and all beautiful in their own way.”

Jill Kargman – Photo Laurel Marcus

The show was well attended with several notables, including Bravo’s “Odd Mom Out” Jill Kargman (boy, do I miss that show!), sporting possibly new ink – “New York” in a Gothic letter back tattoo. Makeup artist Laura Geller (whose team did the makeup and whose products were in the gift bag), Lynn Yaeger, and many young, fabulous fashionistas, including a few tween girls with their mothers.

The show was also well received, with rousing applause at the end as the ladies made their final curtain call with Batsheva in tow. I’m unsure how to take this comment, overheard as I walked to the exit — being of that tender age myself. “That was great,” said one attendee. “I love old ladies!”

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Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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