This week I had the opportunity to hit up one of the most swank-tacular events in the country: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Twice a year the fabulous, the fashionable and the famous get together in NYC to watch the world's hottest designers and models strut their stuff with new collections.
The location at Lincoln Center is a souped-up, decked-out tent. Outside, of course, an all black exterior -- because what is more chic than all black -- and inside an artist ready to sketch your picture; a bustling café; a fancy-pants Mercedes on display and, of course, a giant fridge of Diet Coke.... Apparently calories aren't in this season?
A-listers sit front row to watch design after design float down the runway. Behind the scenes models are primped and prodded by some of the most sought after stylists and makeup artists in the world. There are racks upon racks of gorgeous and innovative clothing -- some ready-to-wear, others haute couture -- all, of course, beyond my wildest dreams. It's truly the epicenter of fabulosity.
Sadly, the vibe is anything but fabulous. It's actually pretty glum. NYFW is supposed to be the Super Bowl of style and yet everyone there seemed like they had better things to do. All the "fashion girls" (and the "fashion guys" for that matter) gave off the impression that they were dragged there against their very will. No one appeared happy -- not one person. I was thrilled to be there, ecstatic even, but I kept reminding myself to scowl, lest I be singled out as someone who didn't "get it." If you don't "get fashion" -- whatever the hell that means -- then you're simply not good enough for that world. And, in order to "get fashion" you have to act like you loathe it, which makes no sense. A mini, expensive version of high school: the popular kids made fetch happen just because they were popular.
It seems to truly be en vogue in fashion means to be passé about what's en vogue. But, why bother with style if you don't get to enjoy it? You know that feeling you get when you have new outfit to wear and you're suddenly on top of the world? You expect NYFW to be that, amplified by a hundred, because it's freaking fashion week. What you get instead is underwhelming boredom. The unaffected 'tude is simply just not what an event of this magnificence warrants. This is where everyone wants to be though: this is the cool crowd, right? Then why the hell is it so depressing in the inner circle? You can spot fashionistas in the "club" a mile away. They saunter through the tent, dressed to be seen and somehow all wearing the same thing: a miserable puss face. Even if your outfit is couture, if you don't look blasé, you clearly don't fit in.
As a concept, the exclusivity of the fashion world makes people desperately want to belong. Women and men who love clothes, die for shoes and gobble up the September issue of Vogue all clamor for a taste of this lifestyle. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a way to get inside the grumps-only fashion club for those people who really live for style.
As everyone else huffed and puffed around me, I wanted to cheer and hoot for the amazing collection that walked down the runway during the Nanette Lepore show. The lines of the garments were sophisticated but not stuffy, the incredible use of texture with knits, metallic and feathers were jaw dropping. If you are a lover of style, how could you possibly hold back your enthusiasm at a time like this?
Unfortunately everyone did manage to hold their enthusiasm back and, in turn, killed my fashion buzz. NYFW deserves more than a bad attitudes in leather pants and Louboutins. Listen up fashionistas, if you really really really don't want to be there, don't come next year. I know plenty of people who would give a limb to catch a glimpse of what you pretend like you don't care about.