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New York Fashion Week breast cancer runway show! AnaOno, Metavivor, Cancerland: NYFW metastatic research benefit.

pink mongolian lamb wool fur coat jacket

If you think NY Fashion Week is all about frivolity… then you’ve never been to a breast cancer fashion show. 

In February 2020, I had one of the most meaningful weekends of my life cheering on bestie Molly, a Stage II breast cancer thriver, at NYFW! What a moment to see her and fierce mom Deborah (who also beat the disease) strut the runway.

New York Fashion Week AnaOno x Cancerland

I was moved to see a diversity of models — representing every stage from pre-vivor to metastatic — slay the catwalk in AnaOno (a lingerie and clothing line for breast cancer thrivers).

This meaningful fashion show partnered with Cancerland, with 100% of proceeds benefiting METAvivor (to conduct much-needed research for metastatic breast cancer treatment).

I hope you enjoy this very special report from New York Fashion Week 2020. (Please see photo credits at end.)

breast cancer survivors fashion show models

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and 1 in 3 will have metastasis. These facts hit hard for me, as I have several close friends who were diagnosed with breast cancer — including writer Elizabeth Wurtzel, who passed in January (you can read my tribute to Lizzie here).

Molly Weingart has been one of my closest friends since we met on Halloween, at Columbia University. Years later, I still remember the feeling of shock when she told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer, at age 32. Her mom Deborah, above, also had and beat breast cancer 25 years ago. (Their walk was supported by Penn Medicine and V Health and Wellness.)

travel bloggers guns shooting range shotgun rifle

There’s no other way to put it: Cancer blows. I visited Molly in Philly during her second round of chemotherapy, and the side effects were unexpectedly rough. And we were traumatized by her experience at the hair salon, where she was forced to shave her head due to chemo. (Since then, I’ve been growing out my hair and appreciating the ability to maintain a long length!)

Molly is a warrior, and she’s now in remission. We celebrated by relaxing and shooting guns in the Dominican Republic!

Everything came full circle in NYC, the place where we met and attended many fab fashion events. In 2020, she and her mom were chosen to walk the runway for the AnaOno x Cancerland x Metavivor benefit show.

skandinavik fur coats review, mongolian sheep jacket

The annual NYFW catwalk has an important goal: to raise funds for metastatic breast cancer research and treatments, while changing public perception of the condition.

At the same time, this is New York Fashion Week — so everyone is encouraged to dress flamboyantly and have a fabulous time!

I debuted my Skandinavik pink Mongolian lamb fur coat, and it received a lot of compliments. The sheep are merely sheared to make this luxurious jacket, which comes with a hood and keeps you unbelievably cozy. You can find this statement coat and more, in multiple striking colors, on Skandinavik Fur’s site.

I’m also wearing a bats beret and heart cardigan from Sourpuss Clothing, and snakeskin platform boots by Acne.

stephen einhorn skull jewelry, dainty skulls bangle silver bracelet

I adore my new dainty skull silver bracelet, from Stephen Einhorn. The bangle slips on easily, and has a minimalist yet edgy style that goes with all outfits. The skeleton’s details are beautifully etched — House of Einhorn’s fine Gothic jewelry is always to die for.

stephen einhorn earrings pearl hoops

I’m living for Stephen Einhorn‘s medium pearl hoop earrings, which stand out against my dark purple hair. These timeless hoops instantly add a dash of Goth glamour.

(Close-up on my voodoo heart cardigan and bat hat from Sourpuss Clothing.)

nyfw fashion bloggers backstage makeup

While I was taking street style snaps, Molly and her mom were hard at work backstage. Throughout the weekend, they were filmed for a documentary, and spent all day doing photoshoots, fittings, and runway walk lessons.

ana ono underwear intimates lingerie fashion show

It was wonderful to meet the models and supporters, who embodied the fashion show motto of “#Fearless.” The ladies modeled glamorous garments by AnaOno Intimates and outerwear by Madison Chamberlain. Each look was personalized to fit their unique story of experiencing breast cancer. 

new york fashion week breast cancer model clothing

Molly gives off J Lo vibes in this custom camo jacket, fishnets, and mesh panel black underwear. Love how they gave her a high braided ponytail and long eyelashes.

She gives us a peek of her tattoos, by Chicago-based artist David Allen. He specializes in tattooing women who had a mastectomy and/or reconstruction, transforming their scars into swirling flowers.

AnaOno fashion show benefiting stage iv metastatic breast cancer

This year, the breast cancer fashion show focused on diversity, and bridging the gap between early and late-stagers. The women represented a broad spectrum of ages, backgrounds, and stages of breast cancer — including previvors that had a preventative mastectomy.

angel orensanz foundation new york architecture event space

The AnaOno x Project Cancerland x Metavivor fashion benefit was such a success that the tickets were oversold. Everyone eagerly crowded into the Angel Orensanz Center, a former synagogue that has become a gorgeous event and performance space.

breast cancer survivor inspirational speaker

The show got off to a rousing start, with several heartfelt speeches. I was moved by the speakers, who shared their fears and hopes at every stage of breast cancer — from preventative surgery to recurrence and metastasis.

dana donofree anaono designer mastectomy Breast Reconstruction Bras

On the right, I was happy to finally meet Dana Donofree, creator of AnaOno. When she was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma, she realized there was a lack of beautiful lingerie and loungewear for women who experienced breast reconstruction, breast surgery, or other conditions causing discomfort. As a solution, she launched her fashion line.

breast cancer survivors lingerie underwear bras

More than 30 models “werked” the NY Fashion Week catwalk, modeling AnaOno’s spectacular designs. Such an inspiration to see these women take back their bodies and celebrate living. 

fashion bloggers front row new york fashion week show nyfw

Unlike a typical New York Fashion Week show, this was a vivacious and touching occasion. It was fun to sit front row, and cheer our hearts out for the breast cancer thrivers.

mastectomy breast cancer survivor model walking catwalk

The models showed a wide range of expressions and walks, each expressing their feelings about living with breast cancer — from anger to sadness and courage.

fearLESS AnaOno x Cancerland METAvivor fashion benefit event

As each woman appeared, words flashed behind her that conveyed her greatest fears. Walking the catwalk let her own her vulnerabilities, and become fearless.

project cancerland modeling breast cancer lingerie

Knowing Molly’s journey firsthand, I screamed so loud when she appeared!

Her full statement: “I walk to use my body as a form of protest, to fight the stereotype that bravery means we should hide our fears related to this illness. All our fears are valid, from death to losing our hair.”

 2020 Cancerland AnaOno Fashion Show

When she reached the end of the runway, she slowly took of the jacket and stood strong, revealing her bare chest and tattoos.

Molly describes the moment: “As that jacket made by Madison Chamberlain slid down my shoulders, I felt years and years of shame slide of my body in seconds. My story is in body and I don’t have to carry it.”

Women With Breast Cancer Walk runway new york fashion week

Molly shares her full story, from being diagnosed to getting tattooed by David Allen, here.

“The scars felt like a continuous reminder of what I had lost, what I would never be or do. I was excited to see something beautiful instead of destruction. I didn’t expect or even believe that getting tattooed by David could make me feel beautiful again— it did—or that instead of feeling like a medical oddity, I would feel like I’m a walking piece of art and my body is the canvas.”

mother daughter breast cancer survivors

What an emotional moment when Molly’s mother, Deborah Spitalnik, joined her on stage for a hug — and then walked the runway herself.

Deborah’s story: “25 years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was more painful and frightening to see my daughter have breast cancer. I walk to support my daughter, to honor my mother who also had breast cancer and the whole breast cancer community. I fear recurrence in my daughter and myself, but I am inspired by the advances in treatment and restoration.”

 Breast cancer survivors model lingerie at Ny Fashion week

With her energetic stage-dance, this brave mom got some of the biggest cheers of the night!

alternative hew york fashion week models

I was blown away by the strength of the women who walked in the breast cancer fashion show. I’m grateful I got the opportunity to connect with many of them over the weekend, and hear their stories.

fashion benefit event breast cancer stage 4

Molly says, “These two photos capture the absolute silly, giggly parts and the quiet, tender parts of the relationship between my mom and me — which was strengthened through my treatment.”

(Credits: Backstage pro photos are courtesy Tammy Tarabola, and the professional catwalk photos of Molly and Deborah are by Carey Kirkella. The rest of the images are by me.)

new york coats jackets cold weather

Molly adds a tribute to her amazing father. “My dad stood by my mom’s side during her treatment years ago and then mine decades later. He bravely learned about things I don’t think most dads would consider their “department” — and of course, he was in New York to support them to the fullest.

w hotel downtown new york lobby design

When the hard work of modeling is over, it’s time to party! Molly put on a sheer bodysuit and glitter heels for the NY Fashion Week afterparty.

ny fashion week afterparty guests party photos

We hung out with her friends and supporters, and celebrated the success of the nonprofit fashion show.

mongolian lambswool coat, lamb fur jacket

As VIP guests, we left with a swag bag of delights, including ChitoCare Icelandic beauty products. Without doubt, this was my best New York Fashion Week to date.

genuine Lamb Fur pink Mongolian Coat, sheep jackets

Ah, I miss that NYC street energy… I’ll surely be back soon (and I have some additional stories from the city to share with you.)

Wearing a Sourpuss Clothing Goth beret, and Skandinavik Mongolian lamb fur coat of dreams.

breast  cancer surgery scars nyfw  models

Cheers to everyone who made the AnaOno x CancerlandMETAvivor fashion show a success! The funds raised 100% went to much-needed Stage 4 breast cancer research.

I’m keen to do more to get the word out — these ladies deserve our support, and I’m grateful I got to share in their NYFW 2020 experience.

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New York Goth travel guide! Ryan & Regina Cohn’s Oddities Flea Market, House of Wax bar, Archer Hotel NYC.

midtown hotel empire state building view

New York, New York. It’s always good to be back.

A lot has changed since I lived here (it seems I’m in reminiscence mode these days). NYC has become a different world than the one I knew: there’s now WiFi in the subways; everyone relies on smartphones for getting around, and takes Ubers to parties in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, I can recall the days of flip-phones and the Korova Milk Bar!

Still, this remains “Gotham City.” I was delighted to meet up with friends old and new, and check out NY’s latest Goth / bizarre bars, club nights and more. 

Read on for an exclusive look at House of Wax bar, the upcoming Oddities Flea Market run by Ryan and Regina Cohn…

stella rose saint clair fashion designer

… as well as Stella Rose’s pop up fashion boutique, Gothic nightlife, and tips for alternative travelers!

archer hotel nyc new york room

This time, I stayed at Archer Hotel NYC right in midtown Manhattan. If you’re only in the city for a few days and love boutique design hotels, then this is the place for you.

(Keep scrolling down for a full look inside, including the epic view of the Empire State from their rooftop bar.)

Ryan Matthew Cohn, Regina Marie Cohn

While I was in New York, Ryan Matthew Cohn and Regina Marie Cohn invited me to visit them in Brooklyn. As you can see in these images, their home is a treasure trove of morbid curiosities!

It was a joy to see Ryan’s infamous skull collections in person, as well as pet their British Shorthair cat, Percy Blue. (The white Scottish Fold, Princess Andromeda, was hiding!)

oddities tv ryan matthew cohn

I’m sure you recognize Ryan Matthew Cohn from his regular appearances on the Discovery / Science TV show, “Oddities.”

You might recall that I was a guest on Oddities; we’ve kept in touch since then, as we obviously share a love of all things dark and deathly.

ryan matthew cohn house tour

Ryan and his lovely wife Regina currently work together in this fascinating field. They source, restore and sell unique osteological artifacts and other curiosities, as well as curate, lecture and educate on these subjects.

baby human skeletons, skulls

Exciting news: Ryan and Regina recently launched an Oddities Flea Market, which brings together vendors of all things peculiar! Mike Zohn and Evan Michelson of Obscura Antiques will be two of the many participants.

Their first event was such a success that they’re now hosting a two-day market on September 30th and October 1st –– NY friends, you must come check this out.

human skull flowers inside

Ryan and Regina have brought together only the best purveyors to take part in the Oddities Market. In a single location (Brooklyn Bazaar), guests can browse and buy anatomical wonders, taxidermy, Gothic jewelry, bizarre art… you get the picture.

oddities flea market nyc

These photos of Ryan and Regina’s home give you a sense of what to expect. I spy an Anatomical Venus, medical preparations in jars, shrunken heads, and skulls galore… I could spend hours browsing their personal collections, which are enough to fill a museum!

ryan matthew cohn regina house

Ryan and Regina are constantly traveling in search of “morbid anatomy” objects, which will be available for sale at the market. Plus, you can browse dozens of tables from Blood Milk, Amber Maykut, Goldengrove Jewelry, Adam Wallacavage, Meagan Meli and others.

exploded skulls, oddities collector

Come join Ryan Matthew Cohn, Regina Marie Cohn and friends!

What: 2nd Oddities Flea Market
When: September 30th and October 1st, from 12PM to 6PM.
Where: Brooklyn Bazaar, NY

ryan matthew cohn apartment

Ticketing: VIP pre-sale tickets are available for purchase through Atlas Obscura (act fast, Saturday is already sold out). These tickets will gain you entry at 11 am with full access to all 43 sales tables.

Or, just show up for general admission at the door, which is only $3. There’s more info on the Oddities Market RSVP page.

ryan matthew cohn wife regina

Be sure to let your New York friends know, and say hello to Regina and Ryan for me! I wish I could be there, but we’ll get together again very soon.

brooklyn bazaar oddities market vendors

Find out more news on Ryan’s Facebook page, and keep reading to peer inside the House of Wax Bar in Brooklyn that he curated…

archer hotel nyc new york

… but first, an outfit change back at Archer Hotel New York! The midtown location was near tons of subway stations, which made it easy for me to get to appointments in different boroughs. (Address: 45 W 38th St, between 5th and 6th Ave).

I love clean design, and felt right at home amidst the modern, industrial brick-and-glass decor. 

midtown boutique hotel archer

My windows had a magnificent view of the Empire State Building (see first photo in this post). Every room came with cozy robes, bedtime books and cute his-and-hers slippers. I could have lounged all day in this plush bed, surrounded by classic brick walls…

ny archer hotel lobby interior

… but when you’re in the Big Apple, you’ve got to explore! With Archer Hotel NY’s central location, you can walk to lots of local spots. I confess I made several trips to Joe’s Pizza, which has a new Times Square location for its classic New York slices.

archer hotel restaurant new york city

Right in the hotel lobby, you can enjoy a memorable dinner at Charlie Palmer Steak. The NY steakhouse reflects chef Palmer’s bold, progressive American cuisine, which draws upon seasonal / local flavors from surrounding waterways and farms.

charlie palmer restaurant cocktails appetizers

Charlie Palmer’s menu has an impressive raw bar and seafood selection. We began with the special appetizer of the day: scallop ceviche. Our server also recommended the outstanding tuna tartare with citrus ponzu, pickled ginger and sesame crisps. It went perfectly with my Midtown Manhattan with rye, aperol, bitters and grapefruit peel. (You know I love my “old man drinks,” and the cocktails here were on point.)

charlie palmer steakhouse nyc menu

Next came a perfectly seared, melt in your mouth filet mignon. It was hard to choose from the many spectacular sides available (truffle potatoes, asparagus) and sauces (the house CP sauce is recommended).

Finally, dessert: creme brulee with black currant and Tahitian vanilla creme, with passionfruit and vanilla ice cream. For a special celebratory meal with excellent service, Charlie Palmer Steak delivers big-time.

hotels near empire state nyc

A stay at Archer Hotel NY isn’t complete without a cocktail at their Spyglass Rooftop Bar. On the 22nd floor, you can take in a panoramic view of the Empire State and Chrysler Building, while sipping a crafted cocktail.

spyglass rooftop bar midtown

The Spyglass bar also has a classic Manhattan happy hour; the “Archer Palmer” with black tea-infused gin and lemon fit with the retro vibe. Cheers to Archer Hotel New York for a fantastic stay!

house of wax bar brooklyn

I enjoyed more outstanding cocktails at The House of Wax Bar in Brooklyn, with my friend Lily Streeter of Alex Streeter Jewelry. As soon as we arrived at the entrance, which is lined with 19th century death masks, we knew we were in for an adventure.

House of Wax is a little hard to find, so listen up: it’s inside the Alamo Drafthouse movie complex on the fourth floor, in the same building as Dekalb Market Hall and Trader Joe’s. (Address: 445 Albee Square).

alex streeter pentagram angel heart ring

Lily was wearing the Angel Heart pentagram ring, one of Alex Streeter’s most iconic designs. 

We examined the cocktail list by candlelight: they drew upon 19th century ingredients, and had names such as Butcher of Hanover, and Napoleon Death Mask (made with Pierre Ferrand 1840 cognac, Cardamaro, Cynar, rhubarb bitters.) Talk about mixology meeting the macabre!

ryan matthew cohn house of wax

I’ve been to a lot of theme bars worldwide, but this was one of the most outstanding. House of Wax features a permanent collection of 19th century wax moulages, curated by Ryan Matthew Cohn. He sourced over a hundred medical wax models from Germany, which were once used to demonstrate surgical procedures and diseases.

nyc weird strange theme bar

Lily and I loved trying the Anatomical and Pathological cocktails, which were perfectly balanced and creatively concocted with old-time ingredients. We snacked on small bites (the menu includes pretzels with cheese, edamame hummus, flatbreads and cheese boards).

Between rounds, we walked around and admired the glass display cases of wax figures, eerily lit by chandeliers.

crazy new york bars

This is not a Halloween kitsch bar. House of Wax is better described as a museum, with a mesmerizing collection that transports you back in time. Lily and I marveled at the wax renditions of diseases such as syphilis, floating hands that demonstrated operations, and painful-looking birth canals. (This collection was also once at the Morbid Anatomy Museum, which is now sadly closed.)

alamo drafthouse house wax cocktails

Behind the bar, there were dozens of New York beers on tap. I’m an absinthe aficionado though, and couldn’t resist this cocktail with an egg white foam.

Without doubt, I’ll be coming back to The House of Wax Bar with friends. I couldn’t think of a better place in NY to have a Gothic gathering.

ny jrock visual kei club

Now, time for some nightcrawling. I’ve written about Goth nights in NYC over the years; the party scene is constantly changing. Right now, a lot of the best Gothic / underground / alternative parties are in Brooklyn. 

brooklyn goth gothic parties

We started the night with a rooftop DJ set…

saint vitus bar greenpoint ny

… then headed to Saint Vitus bar in Greenpoint, for a 1980s Goth night. Quite a few Gothic dance parties take place in this venue, which has stained glass artifacts, upside-down crosses, and this resident weirdo (at first, I didn’t realize he was a mannequin!)

I reunited with my old pal Zachary, and we reminisced about fun times at the Trash! party. RIP DJ Jess Marquis…

synthwave party new york st vitus

New York’s nightlife is always evolving, and it’s not a bad thing. Zachary told me that St Vitus now has a brilliant synthwave party, called Night.Wav. As a retrowave addict, I’d love to check it out (as well as the other outrun events that are starting to bloom worldwide, like San Francisco’s Turbo Drive).

greenpoint brooklyn bars clubs

4am on the waterfront. Late, decadent, alternative nights in New York with friends… that is something that will never grow old.

stella rose saint clair pop up shop

Last but certainly not least, I stopped by the pop-up shop of my friend Stella Rose. She and I were bloggers way back in the day, and I’ve watched her grow her spirited clothing line to the success it is today.

it's stella rose clothing fashion

The boutique was filled with her charming and cheeky designs, from her It’s Stella Rose fashion collection. I have the “No Thank You” pink backpack and sheer tank top above, which she made in collaboration with Print All Over Me.

stella rose fashion boutique ny

Isn’t the Stella Rose boutique fabulously decorated? I tried on her handmade rose beret, and held on to her fuzzy pom-pom hair ties that come in different colors.

print all over me stella rose collaboration

Angry animals, tropical skirts, ghosts… the cuteness meets attitude is distinctively Stella. 

You can find these designs and more on her Stella Rose website and Facebook.

round k goth matte black latte

I ended my trip with a “Goth latte.” I heard that Round K Cafe served a matte black latte, blackened with organic coconut ash, almond paste and coconut cream. A drink for dark, lost souls.

fashion blogger nyc hotel room

Time to pack up my Minions x Away luggage, until my next trip to NYC… I’ll be back soon, as always.

Did you enjoy this peek into Ryan Matthew Cohn’s world, and Oddities Market? If you’re looking for more New York City Goth travel tips, click here – this blog has a decade’s worth of stories from the city!

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