PatBO Was a Buffet of Beauty

PatBO Was a Buffet of Beauty

Yesterday, I went to the PatBO show in Manhattan. It was my very first fashion show. Now, I’ve never thought this before, but maybe I’m a sweet little fashion baby.

I dress like a bit of a slop monster day-to-day. Raggedy and sleepy and baggy and warm. Here’s a tiny story that will get you to understand: One time, my friend was staying over and she needed to borrow some pajamas; so I sent her to my closet to get some. She shouted, “Found them!” And when she walked back into the room, she was wearing an outfit that I wear to work on a regular basis. So, that’s where I’m at.

I know nothing about fashion shows except what I’ve seen on TV. Here’s how I thought it would go down:

Everyone would be cold and weird.

I would not understand what was happening.

I’d embarrass myself.

Here’s how it actually went down:

Everyone was as nice as they were impeccably dressed.

I felt like it was a show made exactly for me to enjoy.

(Ed note: I did embarrass myself.)

When I first got into the car with my sister Lacey, who accompanied me to the show, we both quickly realized that don’t know where the show is. We arrive and it’s at the atrium at Surrogate’s Court. A frigging fashion show at a courthouse! Delightful. Everyone inside is buzzing about that choice. It’s so stinking genius to invite everyone to this stunning seven-story venue, almost completely made of marble.

At the PatBO show.

Ben Rosser/

Here’s an odd sentence: Before the show, I was talking to my seatmate, Kelsea Ballerini (a delight!). She was talking to me about how, by coming to this show, we get to encourage designers and show our support, and that’s what everyone at the show was doing. I had been thinking of it as a “cool place to be seen” but it was really a “community hang that loves designer Patricia Bonaldi’s work.” I thought that was a beautiful way to look at it. And the more I talked to people, the more I realized that was true.

Anywho, at this point, I’d like to apologize about waiting this long to get to the clothes. ‘Cause I will be thinking about these sumbitches for the rest of my days.

The moment the show started, I fell in love. Each outfit swept me up into a frigging fantasy land. Remember when Maria and Tony saw each other for the first time in West Side Story? Like, the rest of the world faded away and it was just the two of them in their own spotlights, lovingly staring into each other’s eyes? Imagine that like a million times in 30 minutes. I kept being blown away over and over again. I’m so sorry to be this dramatic, but it has to be said written: I was a little worried about not being current enough to be there, but when I arrived, I realized I wasn’t too old or young or smart or dumb, or cool or uncool. I was a person who appreciates beauty, and that is precisely where Bonaldi met me.

patbo fall winter 2023 runway show

A look from PatBO fall/winter 2023.

Darian DiCianno/

There were outfits made of head-to-toe sequins—brighter sequins than I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I cannot explain it to you, but there was a shade of purple in this show that was so bright, you would think you could see it in the dark; the richest color I’ve ever seen. There were delicate fabrics, new ideas, and dresses featuring the most intricate beadwork. It was as if the choice she made over and over again was to inject the most glamour she could into every piece.

My row was audibly gasping. Frigging jaws on the floor, just losing it. I felt bad, but then I realized we were all doing it. Every time a new look went down the runway, we all couldn’t help ourselves. “Oh!”, “Oooh!”, and “I want that!” over and over again.

amber ruffin, kelsea ballerini, ashley park, nadine leopold, devon windsor

With seatmate, Kelsea Ballerini, plus the rest of the front row: Ashley Park, Nadine Leopold, and Devon Windsor.

Ben Rosser/

I’m almost done, just one second longer…

I’m so glad I went to PatBO’s show, but so sad that I can only tell you about the experience on this page screen. Promise me that when we see each other next, you’ll ask me about it, so I can grab you by the shoulders and shake you and go, “It’s sooo dreamy!”

This was the perfect experience for my first fashion show. Next time, I hope it’s high-end pajamas.

(One of the dresses shocked me so much, I literally said “Oh, shit!” Like, way too loud. But I couldn’t help it. These are some of the most beautiful clothes I’ve ever laid eyes on.)

Headshot of Amber Ruffin

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