Only Alix Earle could come to New York City—arguably the most on-the-grid place ever—and feel as though she is off the grid.
After this season’s Tory Burch show, where she sat first row, Earle tells me she has spent more time talking to her glam team than to her followers. “For these kinds of events, I mostly had my hair and makeup done, which I usually do myself. I’m typically filming the whole thing and talking,” she tells me, while gesturing wildly with her hands, her fingers clasping the air as if it’s an iPhone. “It’s been great and fun and different. It’s nice to sit back and relax! But I’m definitely ready to get back to Miami and start filling everyone and my followers in on everything, because I feel like I’ve been a little off the grid here.”
“Off the grid” for someone like Earle looks a little something like this: a night at the American Museum of Natural History’s new Gilder building, making eye contact with editors in chief and actors like Uma Thurman, while a parade of models walks inches away from her stilettos as she gets a first look at one of New York Fashion Week’s most anticipated Spring 2024 collections.
Earle was seated in a row with other TikTokers, and collectively, they had over 20 million followers across the app and Instagram, according to my calculations. Earle’s 5.8 million followers on TikTok and 3 million on Instagram made up a hefty portion. When she goes to events like this, her millions of fans expect to be taken along for the ride in the form of her chatty “Get Ready With Me” videos, where she documents her makeup and outfit decision process step by step with a candor that has shot her to internet fame.
Currently on Tory Burch’s TikTok, there’s a video of Earle being interviewed about her look with over half a million views. She’s in a pale yellow, gauzy, off-the-shoulder dress that hits right at her ankles, carrying the brand’s Eleanor croc embossed bag. One of the top comments refers to the bag not just as a bag but the bag, because the Alix Earle is wearing it. On Earle’s personal TikTok, the videos she uploaded in her Tory Burch look have amassed hundreds of comments comparing her to Gossip Girl’s Serena van der Woodsen.
Coincidentally, Earle name-checks Blake Lively—who played Serena on the original CW series—as her style icon: “I’ve always loved her style—I’m obsessed with her.”
The comparisons came at first because of the two women’s looks and origin stories: They’re both blonde bombshells with a fierce love of going out (Earle’s rise to TikTok fame started with her getting ready for UMiami tailgates). But while the fictional Serena was born loving fashion with a capital F, Earle tells me she is just getting started. Working with stylist Mimi Cuttrell, who has dressed everyone from Gigi and Bella Hadid to Lily-Rose Depp and Ariana Grande, Earle is “trying to elevate” her style past going-out tops while making an effort to educate herself about fashion. “I want to be classy, and chic in a way that’s still young, hot, and fun and very me.”
In the early 2000s, millennials like me would look at blogs documenting the outfits that Serena van der Woodsen wore on the latest Gossip Girl episode in an attempt to re-create her looks. Today, the Gen Z equivalent is commenting on Earle’s posts and asking about a look, or just tapping on a photo of it for credits. And I think the fact that whatever she wears generates an “I need it now” impulse from millions of people is what actually makes those comparisons to the early-’00s style icon ring true.
Everyone has been saying this New York Fashion Week has felt particularly online. The clothing feels tailored for the algorithms that tells us what trends we should be paying attention to, and for an audience most concerned with earning a double tap.
So despite what Earle may think, she is very much on the grid, always, and her followers will continue to stand by awaiting her NYFW dispatches, while also buying all the Tory Burch they see in her vicinity. Considering Serena Van der Woodsen met with Burch (who played herself) for an internship on an episode of Gossip Girl in 2009, Earle’s front-row presence at the show couldn’t feel more right. And it goes without saying it’ll probably inspire hundreds of thousands of new fans of the brand, who will likely now see Burch as she does: “It’s classy and chic with looks that are both elevated, but still fun.” Much like Earle herself.
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