Last week, in the middle of New York fashion week, and on a night that felt like the absolutely, most frigid night of this entire winter, I ducked into an indoor pop-up park in SoHo (yes, they exist) to escape the elements and curl up fetus-style on a beanbag chair with my 6" Italian herbs and cheese tuna sub. What I encountered inside was far less relaxing but about 10,000 times more amazing. It went a lot like this:
PR-type girl: "Are you here for the event?" Moi: "Um... no?" PR-type girl: "Want to see a fashion show?"
Did I even have to answer that? Of course I wanted to! The PR girl promptly led me down some AstroTurf-ed stairs to a small elevated runway lined with park benches. I was seated in a chair marked "reserved" with literally no idea of what was about to come down the catwalk. But before I knew it, I got my answer: A 40-something blonde woman with bangs and a bump-it appeared on stage, and in an almost comically thick southern drawl, clarified the situation: She was a pageant mom--but not just any old pageant mom. No, standing before me was the mother of all stage mothers, Mickie Wood, famous for birthing and managing "America's Sweetheart" and
Eden (wearing yet another tutu and loads of mascara) played mini golf while I chatted with Mickie about the creation of "Sparkle Baby." As it turns out, becoming a fashion designer had "never crossed [her] mind" prior to this venture, and Sparkle Baby just sort of "happened." The line is based on "a really important part of who [Eden] is...that she's always dressed to the nines. What little girl doesn't want to be like a princess and wear beautiful sparkly things?" She's right. I probably would've died to wear some of those rhinestoned tulle tutus back in the day. But what about for every day?
Mickie admitted that the the line premiered was "a bit extreme," and that for future production they would "tone down the general concept but still keep some of the bling and let little girls live Eden's life for a little while." In addition to being pageant-wear, she envisions the poofy concoctions as worn by the younger-than-young Hollywood set on the red carpets of NYC and LA, with each creation costing upwards of $150. Eventually, she wants Sparkle Baby to become a boutique line--though Mickie and Eden are also eyeing a clothing collaboration with more readily accessible retail giants like Wal-Mart and Target.
According to Mama Wood (who I'll admit, is surprisingly pleasant to talk to), her daughter was extremely involved in the production of the Sparkle Baby presentation:
"She was very excited. We were having a snack before we came to the fashion show and [Eden] was like, 'So Mama, this is my fashion show? Those are my clothes??' She even wanted to be a part of the audition process. She thinks she's 27. She's very intellectual to be a child."
Obviously, I had to talk to this very intellectual child. Below, our insightful conversation in full.
Me: "What was your favorite part of doing the fashion show? It was awesome, by the way." Eden: "It was awesome?" Me: "What was your favorite part?" Eden: "When we got on the runway." Me: "Did you have a favorite outfit?" Eden: "No." Me: "You liked them all?" Eden: "No." Me: "Did you help your mom make any of the designs?" Eden: "No." Me: "She drew them, but you liked them all?" Eden: "Ya." Me: "Happy birthday, by the way! Are you doing anything fun for it [this Saturday]? Are you having a party?" Eden: "Thank you. I don't know?" Me: "You don't know? Ok then!" Eden: [shrugs shoulders]
I was so awestruck by her poignant and charismatic responses that I couldn't carry on any longer, and with that final exchange, my brief brush with pageant fashion came to an end. Sparkle Baby (or some derivative of it) should be available for custom order sometime in the spring through Eden's website.