A WORD FROM OUR FAVORITE RUNWAY STOMPER
BY DANIEL KUSNER
There she was. And with a pair of fuck-me stilettos, Naomi Campbell stood over six-feet tall.
“Any drag queens who wear anything less than four-and-a-half-inch heels are wasting their time. You either do it and go the whole distance, or don’t even bother,” Campbell says while flexing her crocodile heels during a quickie interview at the W hotel on Wednesday afternoon.
Why was the world’s meanest catwalker in Dallas? To herald FashionWeekLive, a high-dollar, one-night runway show that’s setting up a big tent in Victory Plaza on March 6.
Dallas is one of four cities — along with Houston, Chicago and San Francisco — on this fashion-mad tour.
The event is being described as a "greatest hits" night culled from Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek, which wraps in New York’s Bryant Park on Feb. 29. Details about designers, models and themes won’t be finalized until right before the Dallas leg, which is the first stop on the tour. But one detail has been confirmed — the jaw dropping tickets, which start at $500 a pop. And there are 1,500 seats available.
This won’t be Campbell’s first time in Dallas. In 1992, she touched down in Big D for four hours — to walk a Versace show at the Anatole Hotel.
“And I haven’t been here since,” she says.
FashionWeek’s timing is a little chancy. We’re coming into a March Madness of runway extravaganzas. Already scheduled is NorthPark Mall’s Fashion in the Park (March 7-10) and the DIFFA Dallas Collection (March 31). So why should we slap ourselves silly if we don’t see Naomi in action?
With the cocktail reception, the fashion show and after-party, Campbell says FashionWeek will be an intimate experience.
Will she be accessible to ticket buyers? Can they kiss the hems of her gowns?
“I’ll be mingling. And if they like, they may kiss my hand,” she says.
I tell Campbell that Dallas might reunite her with two pivotal gay men from her 21-year career.
“Like who?” Campbell asks.
“George Michael really lives here? I didn’t know that. For some reason, I thought he was in Atlanta. No, that’s Elton John, right?” she asks. “You know, I’ve only recently met Kenny [Goss]. Who’s the other person?”
“Oh, that’s right,” she continues. “Todd Oldham is from Dallas, too. I forgot that. Well, I wouldn’t be anywhere if it wasn’t for gay men.”
“Well, look at my career: Ginanni Versace, Todd Oldham … In fact, I didn’t even know how to walk until I met with the House of Extravaganza,” Campbell says, referencing those bitch-queens from Harlem who created the drag phenomenon known as vogueing.
“I’m sorry, I can’t remember their names. No, it wasn’t Venus Extravaganza. And it wasn’t Willie Ninja either. But anyway, they took me and Christy Turlington down to the Chelsea Piers, and they taught us how to walk,” Campbell remembers.
Has Campbell ever marched in any of Harlem’s famous drag balls?
“No. I have done Carnival in Brazil. But you know what? I’ve never been invited to appear at any gay pride events. They’ve never asked me,” she says.
Fine, Naomi — I’ve just proclaimed myself an official ambassador of Dallas’ Gay Pride. And I’m inviting you to the Alan Ross Freedom Parade on the third Sunday in September. Will you come?
“So it’s after Labor Day? Then I think I can make it,” she smiles.
Campbell was as nice as could be. And it’s surprising seeing her sit down for interviews — especially since just last week, she plead guilty for hitting her maid with a cell phone.
I remind her that she’s a savvy controller of her own public image. A paparazzo once snapped her wearing a T-shirt that read “Naomi Hit Me.”
In light of recent events, has she devised a way to wield her guilty plea into something that will boost Naomi Campbell’s bottom line and promote FashionWeekLive?
“I don’t want to mix the two,” she says. “I’m working very hard on myself to deal with these issues. This is something I’m not very proud of. I know people will gossip about it and say what they will. But for me, I’m taking it all rather seriously … So does that mean your readers will still buy tickets for the Dallas show?”
I assure her: They’ll be fighting for the remaining seats.
“All 1,500? Well, then, I want them to dress up — to wear fun costumes. I want feather boas. I want them over the top,” she tells me. "And please tell them, no heels under four-and-a-half inches.”
Tickets: 866-840-8822 or visit FashionWeekLive.com.