My knowledge of Maison Martin Margiela pre-dates any Kanye song. And while necessary and restaurant still give me pause, the correct spelling and pronunciation of Rei Kawakubo has never been a problem. One could say I was bred for the biz, being raised by a team of fashion designers, and walking my first runway at 16. Alas, something didn’t quite click. I love it, but I don’t “die” for it – and yet, here I am, year after year.
If you’ve never experienced the joys and pains of New York Fashion Week, think of it as a cosmopolitan equivalent to a civil war re-enactment. A dedicated army of passionate players assume their positions on the battlefield. Participants are required to meet a high standard of authenticity, therefore no detail is too small. Your weapon, your march, and your vernacular are all part and parcel to participation.
If you’ve never experienced the joys and pains of New York Fashion Week, think of it as a cosmopolitan equivalent to a civil war re-enactment.
Except during Fashion Week the players are armed with Birkin bags and disorienting prints, and the battlefield is a sprawling metropolis; walking the walk and talking the talk is part of the show. As a veteran, I urge you to always enter a battle zone with a plan. Nothing too rigid, just a few handy tips to help you emerge (relatively) unscathed.
1. BLISTERS SUCK
NYFW has many terrains: stairs, sidewalks, asphalt, steel grates, cobble stone – all of which are slippery when wet. Walking is part of the game, and even if you’re lucky enough to cab it (or receive Bentley car service a la The Sartorialist’s Scott Schuman and blogger Garance Doré) from Meatpacking to West Village, standing for extended periods of time is something no one can escape. So I urge you to dress with some semblance of intelligence – meaning, have the good sense not to break in your new Manolos when its 81 degrees with 90% humidity. Sweat plus friction equals blisters. If you absolutely MUST, save them for later in the week – the only thing worse than shoving a swollen bandaged foot into 6-inch stiletto on Day 2, is spending days 2-7 donning sandals. “Statement” band-aids will never be a thing. So be smart. Pack a pair of flats in that Mary Poppins sized bag you’re carrying. And while you’re at it, stop at Duane Reade and pick up some things to help keep battle wounds at bay. Like these puppies: Foldable Flats: Dr Scholls. $9.99
2. DRESS TO IMPRESS BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN
The sad truth is, unless you’re a top blogger, celebrity, or editor, you may be banished to standing room only. BUT it’s never too late to turn that around. Most shows receive nearly 30% more RSVP’s than actual attendees. Many of whom have seats reserved for them in coveted rows 1 and 2. Which means that right before showtime, when designers are faced with the sad truth that Miley Cyrus was a no-show, they have some seats to fill. This is not done on a first come first serve basis. In fact, the science to their seating more closely resembles a scene from Mean Girls. If you’re in their shot, you cant be dressed shoddily. So fix your hair, touch up your makeup, wear nice (clean) shoes, and do your best to hide the fact that you just stood outside sweating in the rain waiting for a cab for 20 minutes (yes, that happens).
Because if you plan on taking a cab, you could be waiting for a while (see: above). More so, whether you’re waiting for one, or in one, there is always the chance that you’ll be late. And Wang doesn’t wait… at least not for you. So when all else fails, ride the subway. Growing up in LA, the thought of public transportation used to seem foreign to me, but now I love it. Don’t know where you’re headed? There’s an app for that… probably 10 actually. I just use Google maps. Enter your starting point, destination, and choose the image to the right of the car. For $2.75 each way, you’ll get to where you’re going faster, and be thoroughly entertained along the way.
4. KNOW THE LEADS
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should be able to spot Anna’s bob, Andre’s cape, and Karl’s shades with one glance around the room. But now the familiar faces that used to fill the front row, may not seem familiar at all. While nothing could have prepared me for the bearded and bandana-ed cast of Duck Dynasty sitting front row at Woolrich (just what has happened to Fashion Week)– in most cases, a little bit of research goes a long way. Celebs are easy to spot, but bloggers can be a bit trickier. A mere 5 years ago the top line of their resume qualifications read “a lot of free time,” and look at them now. Bloggers have not only created a class of their own among the fashion elite, but many have done so with a level of refreshing creativity. Do yourself a favor and check out bloglovin’s top bloggers, so that the next time you see a teenage foreign exchange student, you’ll have the good sense to know it’s Bryan Boy.
Good luck, God speed, and I hope to see you on the field next go-around.