As you all probably know, I’m not the only one graduating this year! Of friends spread out in the Northeast, I’m just one of the four you’re most acquainted with: Tiffany and Melissa graduated from New York University and Lela will have graduated from Drexel University by the time this is posted. This past weekend, the earlier graduates reconvened in Philadelphia to support Lela’s senior collection show at Drexel, hosted at URBN [read: headquarters of Urban Outfitters and associated brands], cheering her on like her groupies.
My weekend began with a very long train ride from Boston to Philadelphia. I’m not sure if many of you realize just how far the City of Brotherly Love is from the Cradle of Liberty (I just wanted to make both of these references in one sentence) but it’s a solid seven-hour & four-states-away kind of trip. I spent most of it sleeping and applying to jobs until I could finally meet up with Tiffany and Melissa at brunch. We picked Sabrina’s Cafe, a classic Drexel spot that we’ve all been to during our various trips to see Lela as young undergrads. It’s known for its funky specials, paired with great themed names (like the Super Mario French Toast, that one’s a favorite), in a quaint local house that doubles as student space. Huevos rancheros devoured, we picked up a congratulatory bouquet and headed to URBN.
URBN is exactly what you’d imagine an Urban Outfitters + Free People + Anthropologie world to look like. Located by the Naval Docks, it’s a series of industrial buildings repurposed to support designers and executives alike. Each building (because we peeked through the windows, who wouldn’t?) looked like a creative content producer’s personal heaven, and the show was situated at the heart of the complex. Lela met us right as we ran inside to see her, past the shiny metallic circle wall and mock topiary. Seriously guys, a blogger’s dream.
The show began a bit later, but we were all stunned throughout that it felt like the show only lasted a minute. We cheered for Lela’s pieces and her collection inspired by the rapid territorial expansion of species like barnacles [read: she’s too cool for us] and executed through machine knits and handmade bubbles. It was just fabulous. Also, we all became proud parents/groupies photographing every moment of her collection. Melissa almost cried.
Seeing all of her hard work over these past few months culminate on stage was a real treat for us all. In some way or another we’ve heard about the collection from start to finish and it was so gratifying to see her stand on stage next to her pieces. She’s a fashion designer! For real! For you curious humans, you can check out her portfolio here.
The day also coincided with National Rosé Day, so the three of us left Lela (there was a second show later that night) to get some pizza and wine over at Zavino near Drexel’s campus. I highly recommend the pizza special and wine special wherever I go because it winds up being a unique, irreplaceable experience that may never happen again. Kind of like Russian roulette, but less violent.
We took the late night bus back to New York City, promptly fell asleep, and woke up lazily the next morning to go to brunch. I only had a few hours before my train back, so we went to Poco, an increasingly popular brunch spot in the East Village. Melissa and I both got the French toast and white sangria as Tiffany tried the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese; I also ordered guacamole, assuming it would come with chips, but it didn’t so I went and got tortilla chips later for the train ride back. It was all very humorous in the moment, I promise. If you get the chance, I recommend doing the full boozy brunch – it’s just in the culture of the place.
On the train ride back, I alternated between reflecting on what an experience it was to be in Philadelphia for those few hours and how relieved I felt that I found tortilla chips to eat my $5 guacamole rather than waste it. In all seriousness, I feel very lucky to have been able to go down to Philly this weekend and meet up with friends (we haven’t all been together since New Year’s Eve, as you may remember!) and celebrate the successes of Lela. It’s a great way to go through life together, and it was a wonderful reason to face 15+ hours of traveling in 2 days. Well, well worth it.