The First Day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center: Cushnie et Ochs, The Sleigh Bells & More (PHOTOS)

09/10/2010 09:21 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I waited with baited breath for Fashion Week to start.

First for the clothes -- then we'll review other more mundane matters -- Richard Chai won the day, then Nicholas K a close second (the duo has grown exponentially), followed by Cushnie et Ochs as a third.

On the day before Fashion Week officially starts, young brands, emerging brands, and brands that don't want to compete during the formal week show their wears. Then, on the first day, we have very new designers. Now that fashion is in a new home, we all need to adjust to a much larger venue as well - with new systems and a new layout. The overall effect is one of a very fancy airport -- or, as some have said with a whispered voice, a Vegas lounge (oh my!).

With clearly defined lines of site and travel, gone are the bottlenecks and bad body odor, or the cheap perfume that permeated the standing line.

While many old houses still send out invitations by mail with seat numbers assigned, others have stuck to Fashion GPS and new seating, and seem to have shined through and made it easier to navigate. That said, I have to say, I got a rush when my Vera Wang invite arrived by post with seat number in silver.

Now on to the challenges.

I miss the W Hotel Lounge. They chose to spend the cash instead to produce runway shows - something I'm excited about, but it's hard to find a place to actually work. Now, the newswire is firmly ensconced in the AOL media lounge. I miss 'Wichcraft. The Restaurant Associates crew just doesn't seem as friendly. And having a turkey sandwich slammed in front of me, by a manager that can't work a register while paying 10 bucks, sort of sucks. I went for the instant Starbucks coffee table. All the attendant did was hand me the pack, watch me struggle, then finally ask, "Are you okay?" Now, it's the small things that matter, when you have a minute to make a show and want a caffeine rush. It's vital you mainline it.

I have to say that IMG placed very nice attendants at the fancy ticketing systems. When I couldn't tell that it wasn't a touch-pad screen and that you needed a mouse to print a ticket, they happily pressed the button for me. Again, much appreciated when you don't have a minute to spare and you're trying to form an intelligent thought about a collection. I meekly said thanks, feeling a bit dumb.

Change is hard, but needed. What made Bryant Park so much fashion's home, was that we had it all figured out. There was a very chaotic order to things. There are many many good things about this move to Lincoln Center. But on this day it seems like everyone's still getting their footing.

Now transportation will be tough. Unless an uber-important brand is showing downtown, I'm not going. Richie Rich, I love your clothing and Ellen DeGeneres was a showstopper. I love your growth. But if your management team can't figure out your seating chart, they can't figure out distribution and getting your clothes in stores. There was a mob at the door and they didn't figure out the seating in time. Buyers did not replace club kids, as I was so hopefully informed. I had no appetite to claw my way in and ended up watching the show unfold from the Mercedes-Benz Lounge while sipping much-needed vodka.

Below is a slide show of the shows I saw. Read the captions for a quick review. I did the pictures in order of what I considered the better pictures. I need a better camera.

On The First Day of Fashion Week