Happy Easter my peeps. The most stylish place in New York City will always be the Easter Parade along Fifth Avenue. The procession is a NYC tradition that dates back for over a century. Celebrities often participate casually. Ordinary folk who rock an amazing bonnet can become a celebrity for the day. You can find me and a bunch of other photographers staked out on the avenue.
There are distinct styles that emerge at every NYC Easter Parade1. Arts & Crafts
These folks always look like they drove in from the suburbs and spent all night with a glue gun. They mostly use Easter paraphernalia like plastic rabbits, raffia, easter grass and construction paper, though marshmallow peeps were very popular this year. Some look like gallery-worthy sculptures while some are not nearly as successful, (AKA a hot mess). The artsy craftsy type is also a category where parents like to pimp out their kids and their latest art project to the photographers. You'll recognize these by the smug Mom and Dad standing next to them.
2. The Florists
This group raids their florist or backyards to put together intricate botanical arrangements on their head. They can be plastic or silk flowers, but you get extra credit for using fresh blooms in your look. Floral hats are the most popular category with photographers because the designers and artists build them with height and bright colors. Unlike other categories, almost every bonnet that I saw was a success.
Bravo garden style.
The eccentric characters at the parade are a broad group. You have the quirky older ladies with sculptural hats and a love of style. They are the women that collect art had affairs with Hemingway and goes on long trips to India. They always have a wildly inventive chapeau on their head that betrays the wild woman you can't see. Rosemary Ponzo is their patron saint.
4. Dandy Dogs
In the last few years, I have seen more and more dogs at the parade. They don't look like they are having nearly as good a time as the owners who are basking in the validation of photographer's attention. I am personally not a fan of dogs smaller than my cat tarted-up in plastic flowers and ribbons, but everyone else seems to love it.
If you are fabulous and the entire world should know it, why wait for the Pride parade or Halloween parade? St. Patrick's Cathedral is the perfect place to wear your Sunday best to honor Ressurection Day, no matter what size dress, or what you have to tuck to wear it.
There are always the social workers/bank tellers who moonlight as designers at home in the basement. Those are easy to spot with a group of church ladies wearing crazy hats carrying huge signs advertising their friend's fashion business. They usually squat on a stationary spot on 5th avenue and pose to gain as much exposure for the "designer" as they can.
The variation on the wannabe designer is the wannabe model. Channeling Sylvia from the film La Dolce Vita, the wannabe model will be dancing or posing wildly on 5th avenue hoping for as many photographers clicks as possible. The exaggerated movements are to ensure ample space around her so photographers get a clear shot.
This is an unexpected category during a holiday known for its pastels. Nonetheless, they bring fully accessorized outfits and great hats to the event, but mostly in black. The reputation of Goths being anti-social or unfriendly is not true here. I always find them as happy to pose as everyone else.
8. Vintage Fashionistas
This group is popular for both men and women. They dress for a head to toe look. Choosing chic and elegant over garish and gargantuan. The fashion industry crowd, boutique owners, theater types and literary fans are usually found in this group.
As you can see, this is where I fit in when I dress for the parade. I just don't have the balance skills for a flower pot on my head and my fingers have already seen too many glue gun burns to make a big sculpture. I made the fascinator and added the vintage fur collar to a Holt Renfrew cape my mother gave me.
So there, you have it. All the fashionable, crafty, furry fans of the NYC Easter Parade. Now, which one are you?
All photos by Mariana Leung