Before last week, I had never been to a real Fashion Week show before. I had been to a few shows during my time at St Andrews and also had covered a few for the lovely editors of All Things Fashion DC in the District, but I had never seen a major designer send models down the catwalk in their carefully crafted designs. There was one time that I was in Paris during Fall Fashion Week in 2009, completely unplanned, and forced my travel companions to watch the Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton show from a window in the Louvre down to the tent in the courtyard below. I believed that was as close as I would ever get to ever attending an actual show (or even creeping on one) and considered myself lucky. When the editors of All Things Fashion DC asked me if I would cover some shows for them during last week’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013 in New York, my jaw hit the floor. Attend New York Fashion Week as a guest, with a real ticket, to the shows? Yes, please.
Mon bel homme picked me up from the airport after a trip to Tanzania for work on Saturday evening and 12 hours later we left for New York. The next morning, he was urging, “You look gorgeous, you’ll be fine. No, you won’t get lost. Of course they’ll let you in- you have a ticket.” With an even mix of excitement and apprehension, I set off for Lincoln Center and my first show. Upon arrival, I was thrown in to sensory overload for the next four days. Wide-eyed and eager, these are the things I learned at New York Fashion Week:
1.) Fashionistas are extremely busy and are therefore always late. Of the shows I attended, not one of them started on time. At best, they started about 35 minutes after they were scheduled. If a show started at 11:00 that meant you could arrive at 11:25 and be safely inside at your seat with time to spare for people watching/photograph posing/schmoozing/compliment giving/compliment receiving.
2.) False flattery is extremely important to Fashionistas. Being the average American female, I have seen this happen before, but not since the high school cafeteria. One Fashionista will turn to the other and say, “Oh my God- that dress is sick! You look AMAZE-BALLS.” She will then immediately turn to her friend, scrunch up her face, and declare: “That is the most hideous dress I have ever seen.” From what I can deduce, the false compliment is both a way of entering into a conversation with one whom you do not know well and wish to network with and also a way of establishing superiority among other Fashionistas. For full lesson, see Tina Fey’s Mean Girls.
3. The more Fashionistas/New Yorkers love something, the more disgusted they are by it. After my first show, I was completely overwhelmed; it was even better than I had imagined to sit in on a real show. Ohio-me almost couldn’t handle all of the glamour and creativity just displayed. Walking out, the Fashionistas were atwitter about everything they had seen. ”Oh my God that show was AMAZING! It was sick, just sick. Ugh, I could just kill myself. I think I just died.” This seemed a bit dramatic at first, but I have to admit, by the end of the week after mon bel homme asked me about a show I replied, to his bemusement, “It was fantastic, I think my brains are splattered all over the runway back at Lincoln Center.” I know, I know, not to worry- since returning to D.C. I have turned back into a normal human being (kind of).
4. Shock value is very important for fashion week. Obviously when attending the shows it is necessary to put your most stylish foot forward. There is the usual Saturday night turn-out which you must look amazing for, but Fashion Week, as my fellow Fashionistas would say, is “on a whole new level.” Channeling your inner Lady Gaga is key here; if you have your meat dress in the freezer, thaw it out and throw it on, because it’s Fashion Week, baby. As important as it is to be ‘shocking’ and ‘unique’ so that one might catch the eye of the street style photographers stalking the entrance to Lincoln Hall like vultures, it is entirely uncool to actually display your shock to the wearers of any outrageous garments. Les parents de mon bel homme were lovely enough to meet us for lunch right outside of Lincoln Center, only to be met by a very odd girl walking around in leggings, shoes, and nothing else being furiously photographed in her completely topless state outside of the shows. I was mortified, but to their credit les parents were very cool about it.
5. Fashionistas are, for the most part, very lovely people who just love fashion as much as you do.
During my time at Fashion Week I braced myself for a fair amount of judging and overall bitchiness from my fellow show-goers when in fact this was a very big mistake. I was only shoved once in line for a show (and that bitch regretted it), and most people were all too eager to talk to me about what I did, why I was there, what my favorite show was. Despite my overly-worn leopard print flats and my wide-eyed naiveté, I even received a few compliments on my outfit and was offered a seat at nearly every show.
I told myself that I would attend this Fashion Week as if it was the only chance I would ever have to go to the shows, and it was amazing. The moment when the lights go down and the music starts is charged with such intense energy, those few moments when you can’t wait to see what the designer has in store for you are thrilling. Now that I have been to one Fashion Week, I really don’t see how it will be possible for me to stay away.