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‘Saturday Night Live’ Contingent on Walking in Batsheva’s Goth-Fantasia Show Spring 2022

Busy Philipps, Rory Culkin, and a ‘Saturday Night Live’ Contingent on Walking in Batsheva’s Goth-Fantasia Spring 2022 Show

Busy Philipps, Rory Culkin, and a ‘Saturday Night Live’ Contingent on Walking in Batsheva’s Goth-Fantasia Spring 2022 Show

Hours before the tiny glasses of Frrrozen Hot Chocolate hit the tables at Serendipity III—the one-time haunt of Andy Warhol and Friday’s fizzy backdrop for Batsheva’s spring 2022 runway show—Saturday Night Live’s Chloe Fineman is backstage sharing a simmering infatuation. “I have worshipped her style for so long,” she says of Batsheva Hay, the lawyer turned designer who set off a subversive prairie trend when she launched her label in 2016. The underlying architecture of Hay’s puff-sleeved dresses and blouses has a skeleton-key quality: familiar no matter if your point of reference is a 1970s kibbutz or the chintz-heavy Laura Ashley store at the mall. But it’s the unexpected details that have become Hay’s signature. There are many fabrics to choose from, including acid florals and candy-apple PVC. Sweet cotton prints can be paired with Doc Martens and Seinfeldian dad shoes. “I’m also Jewish,” Fineman explains of her pride in seeing a “member of the tribe representing.” Barely recognizable in her dolled-up look for the runway, Fineman smiles at me through thick cat-eye liner and an enormous black bouffant wig: “I feel totally at home today!”

A mashup of extreme artifice and easygoing comfort is by now expected from a designer who saw us through the pandemic with louche house dresses and gold lamé oven mitts.

Similarly, even the starry cameos fold into Hay’s circle. Busy Philipps is having her blonde hair prepped a few seats away from her 13-year-old, Birdie Silverstein, also cast in the show. Heidi Gardner (in rollers) and Ego Nwodim (slipping into a marigold-yellow wig) round out the SNL contingent.

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Rory Culkin is there, having met the designer through her photographer husband, Alexei Hay. “One of my interns is modeling—Claude,” adds Batsheva, wearing a black-and-red velvet dress that fell out of the day’s runway lineup. “There’s just an ease to working with friends.”

Busy Philipps.Birdie Silverstein.

Philipps, for one is happy to be here in the lull prior to production starts next month on the second Season of Girls5Eva. She also hosts a weekly podcast. “I get that some people don’t enjoy fashion shows, but I am not one of those people. I fucking love it,” she says, as a stylist’s curling iron makes candy cane twists in her hair. She loves Hay’s self-awareness and humor when she engages with tradition. “It’s kind of all I ever want to do anyway,” Philipps agrees. Philipps says. “Yeah, to try to dismantle it from the inside. The call is coming from inside the house!” She gestures to her child (Birdie uses they) who recently landed a part in the Amazon series With Love. “I always think it is really strange when people are snarky about second-generation [actors] because, I don’t know, it’s a family business,” Philipps says—even if their Batsheva roles are distinct. “We’re not walking together,” she clarifies, empathetic about a teen’s need for space. “They are definitely on their own journey, just in life and here.”

Across the room, Gardner is savoring her own last weeks of freedom, with SNL back on the air October 2.

“I’m starting to wake up in the middle of the night,” she says. “I don’t feel stressed, but my body’s like, ‘Oh, your life’s about to change!’” She came to Batsheva through a love of vintage. “I was finding myself looking on Etsy for ’80s Laura Ashley dresses or Gunne Sax ones, and then they would come and they just slightly weren’t the right fit, or they were a little too vintage.” Batsheva was the place where she found a reason to combine the word “prairie” with three fire emojis.

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Ego Nwodim. Heidi Gardner.

That spirit of duality extends to the day’s beauty look, equal parts Jackie O. camp and Siouxsie Sioux raw energy. Francelle Daly, overseeing the makeup in a plasticine Batsheva minidress, describes the individual iterations of black eyeliner (designed in collaboration with Andrew D’Angelo). “It’s an homage to the music scene—New Wave, Gothic industrial mixed in,” she says, foreshadowing Ministry’s “Lay Lady Lay” on the runway soundtrack. That alternately manifests as dramatic peaked triangles or a rounded arch reminiscent of Married With Children’s Peggy Bundy. “Veronica Webb, down there, has a classic flick but exaggerated greatly because we want to see it from the runway,” Daly says so. (Never mind that the intimate second-floor café has the models a mere French-fry toss away from onlookers—all the better to take in the moiré silk and eyelet.) The mechanics of the look are straightforward, using products from Daly’s Love+Craft+Beauty line. A gel liner, which will be available in two weeks, is used to map the individual shapes of each face. A precision cream liners lays down the pigment while a black shadow adds a matte finish to the cat-eye. “We want to have fun!” Daly is referring to the collective catharsis that is required in expressive makeup, and all else.

Meanwhile, hairstylist Brent Lawler is turning up a different kind of volume.

“I wanted to do oversize hair because I thought that would be great with these clothes, for this sort of restriction. You know—up here, down there,” he says, pantomiming Batsheva’s usual high necklines and low hems. There’s a soigné midcentury feeling to these bouffant wigs, but in a twisted, off way. (John Waters comes to mind.) “I didn’t want them to look destroyed and slept-in, she was late coming home kind of thing,” Lawler explains. “I still wanted them to have an essence of a pill-popping, ’50s housewife that is just miserable, but the exterior is heaven.”

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Rory Culkin. Batsheva Hay bowing.

You know what they say about the higher the hair—and the wig for one of the closing looks, a silver cake-topper of a dress, is a glorious sculptural totem of ballooning twists. Culkin, however, is adorned with his chestnut-colored, chin-length hair. After the show, still wearing his ruffled orange-sherbet ensemble and kohl-rimmed eye makeup, the actor explains that he’s just flown into town from Canada, where he is filming a new FX limited series based on Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction book Under the Banner of Heaven, with Andrew Garfield. “It’s Mormon-based, prairie stuff—’80s true crime. I was telling Batsheva about it,” Culkin said. Could there be more fitting? “I know! I wish we’d brought her on earlier. She said she might be interested in getting into film, so I’d like to help.” We’ll be waiting.

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