I'm heading to Bryant Park for my second season in the tents. I'm excited. Trying to focus on the shows and my ability to absorb lots of details quickly.
Michelle Obama is supposed to be at The Hearts Truth, and Lacoste is always a spectacle. Although I'm not even going to try and get into Marc Jacobs. Even in a good year, the seats are hard to wrangle and invites often scarce. Now as Washington debates the future of the American economy. I'm curious how the world of fashion will react. The invitations are already subdued. The vibe more focused. It's as though everyone knows. This too will pass. This downturn must not be wasted. The show must go on. Even if it's just a five minute runway spectacle. I've happily improved my coverage, a lot.
There are so many ways to quantify and explain how much more cloistered this season is, others are doing a good job conveying how the industry is close to death, even though it's not even close. I'm going to do something different and tell you about my early experience behind the scenes with some fashion outliers.
Today, Friday, it begins and the world watches.
I came to the world of fashion early; not from the point of view offered in the tents, the gilt, glamour of the shining lights and the media frenzy. I saw the world through the eyes of a hospitality manager, working at the Essex House and after as a waiter. This isn't where the prestige happens, instead I was able to overhear fashion talk - designers, buyers and many people discuss market & trend. The labels checked into the hotel with their famous clothes. At first everything fascinated me, then I understood.
When someone wonderful arrived (this was six years ago) Steven Spielberg, Natalie Portman, Marcia Gay Harden the gorgeous Ashton Kutcher, they never looked like their picture. Often wearing bad jeans and comfortable clothes. They didn't look as though they were hiding either, they looking strangely normal. Not in the "Just Like Us" way either. When I looked them in the eyes, gave them a hotel key, it was eerily different. Many simply road weary. I saw the editorial nature of fashion reversed. I knew what doors needed to stay locked and what starlet had refused housekeeping. We gossiped about what the press would never discover.
No star ever wore the clothes so coveted on the often adventurous runway, regularly anyway. One couple would constantly wear Versace; old school loud Versace. They were not overly demanding. Personalities subdued, this was my first taste and confirmation of the fact that those who wore loud clothes were not necessarily loud themselves. That the regular famous (yes, there are some) looked, talked and were sometimes short, just like everybody else. Hiding in plain sight.
Then I went on to date a fashion designer, who gave me my first understanding of love. He was the first person that treated me well, that took care of me in a kind way. I'm still fond of him in that nostalgic way memories bring, it took me many years to understand how damaged my childhood, the prerequisite to good writing, I've been told, did effect me. He was passionate with my jittery nature. He was one of my early infatuations. I saw his world, not through the clothes he created and the rich he dressed, but from how he kissed softly and his white sheets - that he didn't like to be touched at night.
Around that time, I fell into a torrid affair with someone at Jeffrey, again I muse about potential. Despite the off-and-on nature of a romance that never take root. In his case, I couldn't separate myself from dysfunction and the strange paradox of requited and unrequited love. Derived from the same person. The undecided factor of bumping into him at bars and smiling and looking into his eyes, getting lost in them.
He would always talk about the pressure, this store known for its designer $3,000 hoodie, I could see it, as he pulled away and we got lost in each other. I'm not going to reveal too much, about either lover, since I do still respect them. This post is to describe my early entry into this world. Also, because enough people have written about dwindling hem lines and devastation. I figured I'd give you something different.
Models came after, flighty paramours, and I serial dated some for a while. It was odd, because I never thought I was good-looking enough. They mused about their look books and gazed in every mirror, constantly needing to check their hair and talk about everything pretty.
I constantly heard about the insecurity a go-see generates, where you enter a room and hardly speak, then get rejected/accepted or simply don't know what happens after. For some reason this was the phase where I was constantly asked to scan clips for each of them, I couldn't understand how no one could manage a computer and be so pretty at the same time. I prefer models from afar now, but NYC is awash with them. Every Fashion Week seems to churn out a new batch of hot ones, which I never hear about again; although last season they were sadly emaciated.
So this is how I relate to Fashion Week, these were the thoughts that run through my mind as I watched my first shows. Much has changed since my naive days. Yet last go around, I was shlubby, having wilted and horrible hair from the changes in humidity. My hairstylist abandoned me, off to India for the month of January. So I was an anti-fashion person. Belonging squarely to the press, those in parkas and tweed that sipped slowly on open bar liquor and strangely hovered in the corners, maybe that's why I was received well.
Now, as fashion goes back to basics, I'm excited to be there, in the coveted tents. Still an outsider fighting my way in. Yet finding it easier to get past the PR line and velvet ropes. I'm sure this season will bring new trends and colors and fancy things. Yet, what's most important, is seeing, how an industry copes with the changes of our society. For it's often quick and innovative to adapt.