Susan Alexandra Was A Junior-High Redemption Story

Susan Alexandra Was A Junior-High Redemption Story

Alexandra introduced ready-to-wear with a mitzvah-themed bash.

Alexandra introduced ready-to-wear with a mitzvah-themed bash.

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

With her high-camp cabaret-style presentations, Susan Alexandra has become a New York Fashion Week standout—and her bat mitzvah-themed SS20 presentation didn't disappoint.

At PUBLIC on Saturday, Alexandra, known for her candy-colored handbags, didn't just serve up the usual; in addition to live performance, drag queens, and plenty of beaded bags (some worn atop the heads of the Macarena-dancing models), Alexandra introduced ready-to-wear, a first for the 34-year-old designer. “I’ve always wanted to do clothes, and it was just time,” she tells us. “We’re pushing beads as far as they can go.” 

If Alexandra's bead fixation, antidotal to fashion-world stoicism, comes with any subtext, it’s not unlike that of a closet theater kid escaping to drama camp, or Josie Geller reliving high school in Never Been Kissed: one of corrective, cathartic exuberance. Such a theory is bolstered by Alexandra's recollection of her actual passage into womanhood: “[Thinking back], my bat mitzvah definitely conjures some bad memories, actually,” says Alexandra. “It was on the same day as a super popular boy’s [bar mitzvah], and all the cool people went to his." 

In addition to her much-improved social capital, Alexander's slap-happy dress code represents a one-eighty from her middle-school self: "I was like, 'I want to be quite tasteful,' based on nothing... I wore a very sensible shift dress, a sheer tight and like a square-toed pump, almost going for a minimalist, Jackie-O vibe." 

These days, Alexandra cites everyone from Posh Spice to Kat, Barbie Ferreira's character on Euphoria, as inspirations. "I love Barbie! I don’t know her personally, but she wears a lot of our stuff," she says. "We’re bound to meet, I think [laughs]."

That sense of cool-spotting informed Alexandra's SS20 presentation: Besides being a dynamic unit of ready-to-wear hardware, Alexandra's beads have become a signifier of her eclectic crew—adorning everyone from Instagram fave Bennydrama7 to New Yorker writer Naomi Fry at the SS20 presentation. "This is a recreation of what I wish my [actual party] had been, 100%.” 

See inside this fashion-forward mitzvah below.

Susan Alexandra's NYFW Bat Mitzvah (photo: Next Subject)

UP NEXT

Backstage at Christopher John Rogers's Sparkling Debut