The first Fashion Week (then called Press Week) was held in New York in 1943. Today, there are two Fashion Weeks in the city each year, in February and September. New York's version is considered one of the four major fashion events in the world (the others are in Paris, Rome, and Milan). If you're lucky enough to be invited to a fashion show, there are some general rules for behavior that you should observe.
1. Invitations come at a premium, so remember that you're the guest of a fashion house and be sure to RSVP your invitation.
2. Be punctual. The show will not begin late just because you are, which means your seat will be filled before you can beg for forgiveness.
3. You're not obliged to wear clothes from the designer of the show you're attending unless you're an A-list celebrity who will be photographed.
4. Take your seat, not Kim Kardashian's. If the seat does not have your name on it, it's not yours. A certain A-list celebrity once took my seat, but I had no problem getting it back.
5. If you're sitting in the front row, don't cross your legs. With the different lengths of hemlines these days, the photographers might capture more than they should.
6. Manage your accessories. If you have chopsticks in your hair, remove them for the guests behind you. Turn off your cell phone and keep your umbrella pointed down. If you're carrying a large bag, place it close to your chair so no one can trip over it.
7. Never chew gum here or anywhere else in public. You might end up in an unflattering video.
8. It's okay to use your smartphone, but do so discreetly. It's distracting to the people around you otherwise.
9. Once the show begins, stay in your seat. It's rude to leave for any reason except an emergency.
10. Clapping for the designer at the end of the show is fine, but hooting and waving your arms as if you were at a football game is not.
Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, an on-air contributor, and the author of A Traveler's Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group (Lisagrotts.com), certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Cornell University and Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on Twitter.com/LisaGrotts and Facebook.com/LisaGrotts.
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