She's maneuvering the world of high fashion using instinct, experience and a WILD and ROWDY past!
RALPH LAUREN knows how to do this. He’s been doing it for a long time. Last night he rented the ballroom down on Wall Street, tagged it Ralph’s Club, and called in celebs including Cate Blanchett, Luka Sabbat, Henry Golding and Indya Moore from POSE. They served us cocktails and corned beef sandwiches. And cutie-pie Janelle Monae put on quite a performance, climbing on tables and sliding across the floor while singing Sinatra tunes. But the fashion presentation? That was the least exciting part of the night. I’ve always defended Ralph’s classics. His bugle beads and tuxedos for women. But I guess I’m snoozing on his same ol’ same ol’ now, too. We love Ralph. We do. But as luxurious as it all is, I think it’s finally time for something new.
Winona’s jacket is DOLCE & GABBANA.
It was a beautiful morning in Soho at the Elizabeth Street Garden for KATE SPADES‘s presentation. Everyday-type chicks were on the catwalk in everyday-type fashions, carrying houseplants and flowers as if on their way home from running Saturday morning errands. Lovely and very, very safe. Later in the day, CHRISTIAN SIRIANO served up shiny metallics in crazy hues, on both women and men. Unless you’re Lenny Kravitz or Harry Styles, that just doesn’t work for me. Big miss. Big disappointment. And BRANDON MAXWELL, presenting in Brooklyn, had us on those fucking metal bleachers again. But his dresses and separates were on point. The silver pieces were my favorites. His introduction to menswear? A little off. But promising. He’ll get better at it. Bet. Fighting my way back across the bridge to change for the RALPH LAUREN party was Game-Of-Thrones crazy! But that’s 24-7. All week long…
I tell you. Miss one day and it can really throw you off. TAHARI‘s presentation on Thursday came and went at about the same time that I was making Corky’s acquaintance in the 1st precinct lock-up. But by Friday, I was back on track and happy that she joined me at JEREMY SCOTT‘s show. There were poofy, crayon-colored wigs, thigh-high boots, everything was electric, sci-fi and way outer-spacy! Offset was front row minus Cardi B. And Heidi was there, too. Full of jokes. “I leave you alone for five minutes and you get arrested??” Ha-ha bitch. Afterwards, Corky and I jetted to The Plaza for the HARPER’S BAZAAR ICON PARTY. We were both a little under dressed but that didn’t stop anybody’s curiosity about her. She smiled shyly and looked utterly adorable all evening long. Oh yes indeed. Her ho’ing days are officially over. Meet my Next Great Face.
Winona is wearing ALESSANDRA RICH
Winona is to FASHION WEEK what fireworks are to the 4th of July. The show might go on but without her it sure won’t be the same. Back in the day she was in such high demand on the catwalk that designers were known to adjust their show dates to work around her schedule. And now, as the agency owner with six of the fashion industry’s top models on her roster, they still do! Ah…it’s nice to be on top. But hard as hell to stay there.
She shows up on everyone’s web page and blog site during FASHION WEEK. Covering her fashion choices for the next seven days is just as important as anything happening on the runways so stay tuned. WHAT SHE WORE DURING FASHION WEEK starts now…
It’s the day before the official start of NEW YORK FASHION WEEK, Winona’s favorite time of year. Her models are booked, she’s got entree into the hottest and most important shows, everything’s rocking right along until she encounters an over-zealous young police officer on West Broadway. Within an hour, Winona’s arrested and cooling her heels in a jail cell! But a beautiful young angel named Corky appears. And suddenly, getting arrested becomes a most gainful way to spend a late summer afternoon.
I’m having lunch today with my buddies Heidi Klum and Chanel Iman at Ladurée on West Broadway. We hee-hee and kee-kee as they watch me shovel in crab cakes and lobster linguini and wash it all down with champagne. Heidi sighs.“The way you eat is just disgusting. Why don’t you ever gain weight?” I shrug. “High metabolism. It’s why cigarettes were never a big deal for me.” Heidi throws shade. Right about now she’s jonesing for a ciggie. I know it and she knows I know it. Making us swipe through twenty pics of her baby girl, proud mommy Chanel is bragging about the hubs, Sterling Shepard, snagging that fat-ass deal with the Giants. 25 years old. Forty-one mil. I ain’t mad at her. Not one bit. But I order a dozen macarons to go. And we stick her with the bill.
Outside the restaurant, there’s a young cop leaning against a patrol car. He’s East Indian. Not something you see every day. I can feel his eyes on me as I say goodbye to Chanel and Heidi, who hop into a taxi together and head downtown. And just like that, he’s in my face. “Hello beautiful,” he says. “I’d love to take you out for coffee sometime.” Since I can’t think of anything to say that won’t tear him a new one, I remain silent and start stepping. But now he’s following me.
“I can’t take you out for coffee?” he asks. “Not even one cup?” I look both ways and skip across the street. I need to get away from him. There’s still way too much to do before tomorrow to get hung up by the po-po. But my feet are barely on the curb before I realize that the son-of-a-bitch is behind me. He grabs my arm. Roughly. And he spins me around. “Don’t you know that jaywalking is illegal?” he asks. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to write you a ticket.”
Winona is wearing CUSHNIE
When he hands me the “ticket”, it’s a blank sheet of paper with just a phone number on it. And a name. Ali. “Call me tomorrow,” he says. “We’ll discuss your fine over dinner.” Now, I could just let it go. I know that. But when do I ever just let it go? Especially with smug mofos like this? I hold the paper up to his fat mug and slowly, dramatically, I rip it to shreds. His cocky smirk fades as the pieces flutter out of my hands and down the street.
I turn to walk away again. All of a sudden I feel his angry paws grab me from behind. He shoves me towards the building. I stumble like a ragdoll, dropping the box of macarons before catching myself against the brick wall. My handbag hits the ground. My shit flies out everywhere. People around us stop in their tracks as this animal presses his full weight against me. He’s grinding into my ass and forcing my arms behind me. He puts me in handcuffs. “Playtime is over, Superstar,” he says. “Now you’re under arrest.”
At the 1st precinct, I get a light pat down by a blonde, female officer. “Nice dress,” she says. But she can’t look me in the eye. The desk sergeant, also a woman, can’t either. Why? They know the charges, resisting arrest, jaywalking, littering, are all bullshit. They empty my bag and make a list of my possessions. iPad, iPhone, wallet, card case, keyring, the contents of my makeup bag, and a smashed box of macarons. They hand me a voucher, photograph me and then fingerprint me. With ink! I thought this was all digital now? I’m careful not to touch anything until the blonde officer hands me an alcohol wetnap. Swabbing at the ink on my fingertips, I keep my lips clamped. I don’t dare say a word. I’m a Black woman in America. I know what that means in here.
There’s a phone in the cell. I get three calls and my first is to Victoria Ruiz, my attorney. She’s not in. I keep calm and leave a message with her secretary. Then I call the agency. My OM, Marc, goes into a full-blown panic. “What did you do?? What should I do?” I tell him first to get a grip. “I got arrested because I hurt an officer’s feelings. But Victoria will be here soon to get me out. Just hold it down and I’ll see you sometime this afternoon.” I disconnect that call and start to dial Riccardo’s number. But I stop myself. Do I really want him down here? Who knows what level of pissed-offness he’ll bring through that door? Same with Desi. I can’t risk either one of them. I call Belle. Oh boy. She’s gonna raise big hell when she gets here. But coming from a silver-haired white woman? They’ll take it.
I finish my calls and sit on the bench. The cell is too small not to eavesdrop on the convo between two chicks sitting just a few feet away. I listen for awhile. The older one is in for prostitution. The other for shoplifting. I butt in. “How long have you been doing that?” I ask. The thief blushes. “This was only my fourth or fifth time.” What an amateur. I shoplifted almost every weekend for two whole years without a pinch. A third woman is sitting in a corner like a bag of dirty laundry, so tight and jammed up that I can barely separate her from the dingy beige wall. She keeps looking at me.
The cell door opens and the officer uncuffs a slender young Black woman. Tank top, booty shorts, yellow, ass-grazing micro braids. Clearly she’s a working girl. And what a stunner. Laces from her high-heeled Roman sandals are wrapped around long, shapely legs. She can’t be a day over eighteen. Nineteen maybe. My gut starts to churn in that crazy way when untapped potential is staring me in the face. Instead of reminding myself of the cutie-pie thief I got entangled with some years back, I’m seeing this doll on the runway in Valentino. She nods in my direction.“That’s a nice dress,” she says. I nod back. “Yeah? You’d look great in it.” Her eyes grow wide. She wasn’t expecting that. “Sheee-it,” she sneers and crosses her arms in a huff.
I ask the other women in the cell. “Don’t you think she’d look great in this dress?” I stand up and give them a spin. “Oh yeah,” the prostitute says. “She’d wear the hell out of that!” Baby Girl is glaring at me. She’s this close to knocking my ass out. But I keep going. “Sure. She’s got the height, the bod, the face. She’d be dope—“ She finally snarls at me. “Look bitch. I ain’t interested in your scams, okay? Just back off!” She thinks I’m fake. Why wouldn’t she? And I have no way at the moment to prove her wrong. Just then a raspy cackle breaks the silence and we all turn to look at the bundle in the corner. She’s laughing at the young girl. “You don’t know who this is, do you? Winona Warner? Original supermodel? She only owns the top modeling agency in town.”
Everybody’s mouth drops open as the woman looks at me and sighs. “You don’t remember me. We used to work together a long time ago. My name is Sarah Cato. I did makeup for Charlie Jones.” OMG! Charlie Jones? He was one of the hottest photographers on the planet when I was working. Always in demand. And his crew was so primo that everyone from Herb Ritts to Demarchelier were trying to steal them away. But Charlie got hit by a car during a photo shoot in Miami. And this is where she ends up? It’s way too tragic. But damn. I can’t focus on her and my Next Great Face, too.
I sit next to the young girl. She’s more open now and tells me her name. Corky. How cute is that! After some idle chit-chat I confess to my own sticky-fingers back in the day. Her eyes are wide as I regale her with being discovered while ripping off the Versace boutique on Madison Avenue. By Gianni Versace himself. She has no idea who that is, or was, but it doesn’t matter. She’s rolling in my butter now and looking at me like a fat, juicy Odell Beckham sandwich. The blonde officer appears at the cell door. “Winona Warner? Come with me. You’re being released.”
My attorney, Victoria, is here. And so is Belle. She’s shouting. “Why was this woman arrested?” They return my handbag and I count my loot before handing the hundred dollar bill that I keep tucked away for emergencies to Victoria.”Can you break this?” I ask. I stuff the tens and twenties she gives me into an envelope and write SARAH across the front. In another envelope, for Corky, I leave a ticket to Jeremy Scott’s show tomorrow night. The cops are smiling. They’re so cooperative. Until Victoria drops the bomb. “Tell Officer Ali to lawyer up,” she says. “With outdoor surveillance we’ll see exactly what happened on West Broadway this afternoon. And if it’s anything like what my client says, your boy’s in trouble.” Well. Nobody’s smiling now.
Fashion designer Tom Ford wants Lourdis on the catwalk for his New York Fashion Week presentation. And Winona does too. Why? Because not only would it be a supercool thing for her bestie to do but it would also help to gain Winona an entree onto one of the most exclusive museum boards in town. But the Rockstar Goddess refuses. And Winona realizes that playing dirty is the only way to get the job done.
Another Met Gala. 2019. This one is campy-fabulous! In theme, on point and wearing a very special hat for tonight’s extreme over-the-topness, Winona’s favorite party of the year finds her dotted to the max and grappling with an invitation from Riccardo to take their relationship to the next level.
The Met Gala last night was so extra! The theme was Camp! Don’t you love it? My beautiful milliner, Lisa McFadden of LISAMCFADDENMILLINERY, proclaiming me as her muse, requests that I model the headpiece, Bird of Paradise, created ESPECIALLY for the gala! I took one look at Lisa’s sketches and memories of DYNASTY came rushing in. You wanna talk CAMP?? Shoulder pads out to there! Serious head-to-toe en-soms! Of course I may have taken my dot theme a little overboard but—it’s CAMP, darling! There IS no overboard.
I meet Lisa at her uptown studio for the first fitting. She’s on the board of the Milliners Guild and this year, the Guild has been invited by the Metropolitan Museum Mezzanine Gallery to hook into the gala theme and create campy new hats for their display. I love coming to Lisa’s studio. She’s a mellow spirit. Uber-chilled. Just the vibe I need today to get away from life’s little kinks. The latest? It’s personal. It’s Riccardo. He wants to take things to the next level. “Sell your condo,” he says. ”Come live with me.”
Hats by LisaMcFaddenMillinery. Winona is trying on HOLLY. On the table are PAINTERLY and GABRIELLE. Lisa is holding a leopard version of the GALAXY fascinator. On stand is a custom bridal cloche and on the shelf is her ROSE HAT.
Being back with Riccardo these last several months have been quite an adjustment for your girl. I do adore him. No doubt about it. But I’ve already given up so much. Now I’m expected to give up my crib? That’s straight-up lunacy. And let me tell you why. I’ve been in this building now for almost ten years. I’ve got every sucker in here crystal clear on what subjects we will and will not discuss in the elevator, the mailroom, and the lobby. My condo, a five room unit overlooking Central Park, has been put together inch-by-inch to suit me. Moi. Sell it? Coveted real estate? Considered one of the sweetest spots on the entire East Coast? “Are you outta your freakin’ mind?”
At Lisa’s studio for the second fitting, she’s double-checking measurements and I’m spilling my tea. Both Desi and Belle are in my head. Desi says don’t do it. “You stay with him when you want and when you’re ready, you roll out. You’ve got the best of both worlds.” But Belle says to go for it. “He’s bringing lots and lots to the table. I wouldn’t let that slip by me, again, if I were you.” They’re both reading it from their own POV’s, of course. Desi gets around but he still has to go home to Truman every night. And Belle would give a pinkie toe to move in with a man, any man, and get out of her mother’s house. I ask Lisa what she thinks. “In the end, you have to do what’s right for you,” she says. “And only you know what that is.”
We look great, don’t we? Along with my fabu hat and dots up the whazoo, you see the satisfied face of a woman who has decided to go with the age-old custom of stringing her man along. “Of course I’ll move in with you, darling,” I say to Riccardo. “Someday.” And guess what? He’s cool with that. Sometimes you’ve just gotta bullshit them. And they know you’re bullshitting them. But it’s okay. Tonight is all about this pink carpet, baby! Gaga! Thee Billy Porter! Lupita! Katy Perry! Cardi B! Miss Celine! Janelle! You knew the children were gonna turn it out and a lot of them did. Surprisingly, I seem to be the only one in dots. And THAT’S a relief! But RuPaul, who put the amp in camp, elected NOT to do drag. Which was a big drag. And key players, Sarah Jessica and Rihanna, in particular, were mysteriously MIA. Gotta get the scoop on that! But another Gala. Done. ‘Til next time, dolls. SMOOCHES—