On the Sidelines: New York Fashion Week

and that's why they call it a cluster.

and that’s why they call it a cluster.

Street style photographers swarm around the outside of buildings, waiting for the fashionably overdressed – the stylists and editors who spend more on accessories in one year than you do on your entire wardrobe in ten, the people who wear $1,300 shoes in the rain. Sometimes you get stopped for a photo, depending on how expensive or clever you look. And once one descends, the masses come like vultures. Snap! Snap! Snap! Japanese photographers in Rick Owens’s drop crotch pants and sneakers yelling “Over here! Over here!”

Once through the gauntlet of Canons and Nikons and through the front doors, you check in with people holding lists and iPads, taking names, assigning seats. Your level of importance determines your place along the runway. The nobodies get the nosebleeds, where you’d be lucky to get one useable picture out of seventy once the show starts, each model an indecipherable, overexposed blur.

New photographers comb the crowd looking for the bold-faced names — the celebrities and socialites and six-star stylists. There’s Harry Brant. There’s Kate Lanphear and Keegan Singh. Linda Fargo from Bergdorf’s just walked in. If none of these names sound familiar, that’s because the fashion world is a bubble world, where the behind-the-scenes kids come to the forefront. Here, they are revered.

There’s lots of two-cheek kissing and feeling privileged and important.You’ve made it. Not just the show, but “It.” Somehow, even though you’re here to see a designer’s hard work, it becomes, in the smallest way, slightly about you. The excitement of rushing place-to-place, adhering to a punishing cross-city schedule. The dressing up and the heading out. The jetsetters with corporate credit cards and designer coats. The intoxicating, ego-maniacal stew.

Suddenly, the lights come down and the music begins, and for ten minutes, it’s not about you. And then it’s onto the next one. —Jenny Bahn

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