New Jersey model Erica L. Carrington turned a funeral into a catwalk to heaven when she strutted on a makeshift runway at late fashion designer Vernest Moore’s open casket viewing on November 10.
Her fierce sashay down a red carpet and drop-dead gorgeous posing in front of Moore’s coffin — to the tune of “You Are My Friend (B.O.P. Soul Classic Mix)” — left onlookers stunned, and a viral video from the ceremony stirred a lot of controversy online.
“Is this a fashion show funeral?” a person commented underneath the viral clip, which has over 631,000 views. “Was this a real funeral… seriously, was it?”
Carrington, who worked as a model for Moore, is now defending her unique tribute for the New Jersey-based designer’s wake — which attendees dubbed a “red carpet viewing” — at the Newark Museum of Art.
“I think we sent Vernest off the way that he would have liked, and that’s really all that matters,” Carrington told TMZ Live.
In the 53-second clip posted on Carrington’s Instagram account, she is seen walking down the runway as a force for spirits to reckon with. The model does a dramatic sideways step down the staircase before turning around and posing to reveal the back of her sparkly evening gown.
“I was hyperventilating almost up until the very moment I hit the runway,” she captioned the Instagram video. “I can’t believe this would be my final walk for you, so I won’t! Even if I’m not walking for you, I’ll be walking with you.”
Carrington wore a silver dress from Moore’s “Ve’Moore Couture” designs, accessorizing the outfit with a bedazzled headpiece that dangled down her chest.
The Post has reached out to Carrington for comment.
Family and friends celebrated the life of Moore, who died at 62 on October 22, with three events all dedicated to his legacy.
The “red carpet viewing” swapped out somber funeral music for upbeat house music to send the designer off in style. Moore’s casket can be seen in the clip open with a fur blanket draped over him as the tributes take place.
“I still get emotional thinking about it and watching the video because I shared some of his last moments with him not even knowing that they were his last moments,” Carrington told TMZ Live. “So that just tells you what type of person he was.”
The strutter closed out her unique tribute by walking towards the open casket, blowing the late designer a kiss and striking a sensual pose.
While attendees at the viewing applauded Carrington’s memorable homage to the designer, many people online call the catwalk “disrespectful.”
“Wtf did I just watch,” questioned a watcher.
“My jaw dropped when I saw the coffin,” one person admitted. “I was not prepared for the ending.”
Meanwhile, other creatives admire Carrington’s tribute to her friend.
“I pray that when it’s my time all my creative friends like yourself arrive with this type of energy,” praised a man.
“Now this is how you honor & celebrate someone’s life,” agreed another.
“This was so beautiful of you to do, I’m a designer too & i would love for my girls to honor me in such a way,” gushed a fellow fashion creator.