Drip For Me, Part I: Grail Me
In the first chapter of our fashion erotica, our ingenue meets an influencer whose grails light her on fire.
Photo illustration by Taylor Lewis.
Fay groaned dramatically, sliding from the edge of her bed to the floor and into position: shoulder blades flush with the bed frame, feet flat on the Gabbeh rug, wrists on knees, eyes fixed ahead on her screen as she tapped through the banality of everyone’s Insta stories. The air conditioner blasted from the window in front of her as the sweat that had been fusing her silken, oyster-hued ’90s Marc Jacobs slip dress—vintage, not grunge revival—to her slender frame began to evaporate, unshackling her from New York City’s oppressive late summer heat.
Fay had been out for the last 14 hours, grinding through work at her glorified retail job; touching up lipstick in the dirty reflection of the subway’s glass windows as the car passed through darkened tunnels; perching on vinyl-cushioned stools at Big Bar and then Boom Boom Room; crouching intermittently to retie the white kid leather lace-up straps on her Martiniano Pavone sandals as gravity brought them to a layered clump at her ankles. Then pressing her back against the tiled walls of some unlocked prewar office building on Horatio Street as Ryder kissed her salty neck and pushed the bulk of his weight against her through his black Acne Studios Max slim fit jeans, his fingers finding their way into her Kiki de Montparnasse striped silk satin thong and…She needed sleep, but she wasn’t about to contaminate her sacred white Pratesi linen cloud of a bed with all that sweat, precum, and grime. In fact, okay, fine, she’d shower now. Then bed.
It was 4 a.m. by the time she slid under the beautiful eBay-derived covers, but she didn’t have to be at work until noon. Fay lay awake feeling fresh, desirable—and bored. Why did it always feel like she was right next to the action but never involved? For starters, she was shy. Fay had studied French New Philosophy at Bard, and when that didn’t immediately translate into a lucrative career, she got a job at Pistopinto selling designer clothing and accoutrements to the kinds of downtown arts and culture people Bard used to bring in for guest lectures. The event that Ryder had brought her to, at the Boom Boom Room, was cool and all—an after-party for a film screening at the Whitney Museum with a private Jorja Smith performance—but she didn’t know anyone there except him. As the Whitney’s senior development coordinator, Ryder was looped in on all the cool goings-on, but he wasn’t exactly friends with the Eckhaus Latta-wearing camarillas that ran the scene, nor did he look like it. Fay nearly gagged at the sight of his slicked-back hair and Common Projects sneakers when they met up outside the Standard. What was he, a design bro now? She liked his company, but she’d made it clear from the first that this was to be a casual affair based on convenience. The vibes just weren’t there. Finally, thoughts of Ryder bored her to sleep.
Fay made it halfway through the workday at Pistopinto without feeling a hangover lag. She had on her standard uniform: a well-worn vintage T-shirt, brown pleated-front trousers with washed denim backs from the Berlin-based line Bless’s collaboration with Levi’s, and her metallic Margiela Tabi d’Orsay heels. Her feet never got tired; good genes, or whatever. She’d been a sales assistant there for a year now and, for her, that “2:30 feeling” usually hit closer to 5. Maritza, her favorite coworker, was on her knees across the grand, artfully decaying floor trying to scrape a pair of multi-cuffed Y/Project jeans off a genderless chrome mannequin. The mannequin’s legs stood straight in defiance as Maritza bowed her head into its smooth, politically correct crotch in resignation.
Fay crossed the century-old marble-tiled floor. Pistopinto was situated in a former bank building that had been left to crumble before it was bought by a photographer in the ‘60s, became a grunge club in the late ‘80s, and only last year realized its God-intended form as an enchantingly apathetic destination for chunky Dries Van Noten sandals, $800 graphic hoodies, and Issey Miyake bud vases.
“Do anything fun last night?” Fay asked.
Maritza turned over her shoulders, still clutching the mannequin’s ass. “Not really,” she yawned, adjusting her pearlescent red Seoul Import hair clip. “Just went to some skater party at this new reno loft in Dimes Square.” She thought for a second, then smirked. “I did meet these guys who said they’d come by the store today––”
The clouds shifted in the sky, beaming fresh light through the windows. “Names,” Fay demanded. “Cute?”
“Ugh, I don’t even know. One of them was, but I didn’t talk to him. He had like a Secret Service of boring Instagram girls on him every time I turned around. But he was soo cute. The other guys were like, super sweet but they had on way too much Bape. Is Bape a thing again? Or still?”
The front door chirped as a pack of boys no older than 22 ambled through the gilded double doors. “Oh, wow, that’s them,” Maritza whispered as her hands shimmied up and down the mannequin’s toned thighs. Fay nodded and began finger-spacing hangers along the curved armature of a Calvin Klein 205W39NYC display rack as the dripped-out crew began pairing off across the sales floor, half of them just barely looking up from their phones to make sure they didn’t trip on the split levels. Three of them wore boxy, indiscernible streetwear and Reebok or Adidas sneakers that might as well have been invisibility cloaks to Fay, decorated stiff with esoteric screen prints and cargo pockets to hide the softness of their unconcerned bodies.
One looked fresh off the runway archives of Raf Simons’s legendary 1998 “Black Palms” show. His loose knit top slunk over his baggy gray Our Legacy trousers and racing red and white Salomon S/Labs in a way that looked breezy, European, and dumb.
“Is Bape a thing again? Or still?”
And then there was Camrin Abbas, who she recognized instantly. He staggered behind the others, physically transforming the energy of the store with his nonchalant hotness as he squinted into the glare of coruscated sunshine. She’d seen pics of him at every important fashion show, rap album listening party, and Kardashian birthday; he lingered cooly in a paparazzi shot of Jonah Hill and friends on Crosby Street. She’d also glimpsed him at a select set of blue chip gallery openings. He looked like a walking ad for the concept of youth culture—and, in fact, hadn’t she just seen his face on those new ads all over the city for Fiji Water or something? His shoes were custom NikeLab x Off-White; his pants, she knew, were Balenciaga. His clean white T-shirt looked like it had probably cost $350, and over it he wore a (gifted, obviously) pre-release Louis Vuitton white vernis chest-holster bag, fresh out the showroom from Virgil’s inaugural menswear collection.
Fay darted her watchful gaze back to the racks before her as Maritza greeted the crew with zeal. Fay internally ran through a litany of brands that might have made Camrin’s T-shirt: Stone Island? Off-White? (But would he really do that much Virgil in one fit? Probably.) Rick Owens, Berluti, Comme des Garçons, Prada, Saint Laurent, Jil Sander, MM6, Lemaire, Acne Studios, Tom Ford, Visvim…
A smooth, liquid voice came from behind her. “Hey, uh, do you work here?”