… PORTRAIT OF A MERMAID …
thom browne presents:
the met gala all-star camp fashion revue
act three ... a kaleidoscope carnival of extravagance
starring abbey lee
images by emma louise swanson
video by aaron vazquez
from teeming halls, salons, and verandas, they spill out into summer gardens lit up like a celestial city, while an endless river of champagne and cocktails fuel an opera of frenzied voices. boys and girls dance wildly on a canvas-topped stage, romances begin and end in soft-lit corners, and chatter and laughter vie for dominance with the thrumming, staccato bursts of a roaring jazz orchestra. all behaving like children unleashed on a bubbling amusement park. until, as if on cue, a tear forms in this sea of revelry, growing bigger and wider and quieter while a hush descends.
…and then, she enters.
a glittering creature of the bright blue sea, a siren song for seafarers since time began.
sequins of gold, hand-stitched, cascading down into pools of delicate white silk
and lace. she glides majestically through the silenced crowd, no eye trained on anything
but her ethereal, diaphanous form. spilling from her long sequined arms are two
tributaries of soft, white gossamer. at her breast, two glimmering shells in trompe l’oeil.
gingerly she steps across the parted, whispering sea, her red, white, and blue grosgrain-tipped golden coat spread across her shoulders like a shining cloak of invincibility.
every breath held in abeyance as her knowing eyes pan across the sparkling crowd. half-goddess, half-creature of the sea, a tapering golden figure that bursts into a white flowing skirt of silk organza and lace. a heavenly body gliding softly across human shores. her eyes close, then a sharp intake of breath. a pause pregnant with possibility. when suddenly…
the kaleidoscopic carnival erupts into a raucous celebration of unrestrained extravagance. the champagne river swells into a rushing torrent. the orchestra bursts into a thumping fortissimo. like a shooting star, the fleeting moment of beauty that springs from the irrepressible.