1. Know who is DJ’ing. Start going to their weekly parties tonight. At their own parties, New York DJs are very accessible. Become friends with them (but don’t be sycophantic). Try to sync up with them: eat dinner at the same time, go to bed at the same time. Women: will your cycles to match theirs, and you may find yourself waiting on line just as they are making an entrance. Make sure they see you, and you might get swept inside along with their entourage.
2. Show up alone. Of course, make friends with the people in front of you. One of them might be able to help you out, either because of who they are or because no doorman wants to deal with everyone in the line banding together with cries of “let him in, let him in.” Also, you might be able to get some freelance work from the editor behind you.
3. It seems like a long shot, but if the curbside synchronicity is there, pull a DIY house-show courtesy move and offer to help carry an amp, er, crate of records (er, case of CDs). Carrying something heavy is always a good credibility-builder and crowd-parter. My favorite last resort is to chase down the DJ and tell them how much coverage that you are going to give them in a forthcoming issue of The L Magazine.
4. Very simply, know which line is which: pay attention to the door staff as they explain which line is guest list only, on-call, etc.
5. Do not try to skip the line. Independent of the fact that this is a red flag, if you are not on the list, the least you can do is wait (bring this feature along with you to memorize as you do so). The trick here happens before you approach: feel out the line from across the street. Approach from the side opposite the line/the shorter line. That way you have to pass by the door staff on your way to the back of the line. Perhaps there will be either a moment of recognition or a panicked scream of, “I need his look in here, now!”
6. If the doors have not yet opened, and you recognize a familiar face on the door staff, ask if there is anything you can do to help out. On the night of Courtney Love’s Cheeky Bastard performance, I (fireguard license in hand) cleared the street, repeating some form of the following, “Hi, I love you and do not want for you to get run over, also, if the cops come and see you all standing here, the party will be shut down.”
7. Once the doors open, be prepared with your reason for being allowed in without being on a list. Know who you’re talking to, do not tell the doorman you’re on so-and-so’s list only to have him explain that it is he who is so-and-so. You should know some trivia about the DJs, performers and designer. The door staff has better things to do than quiz you, but throwing out a random fact might add authenticity to your #1 Fan foam finger.
8. Your buddy inside cannot get you in and if he has not already put you on a list, he does not have a list. Save your breath. Speaking of not lying: tell the truth throughout, about your age and connections. Even if you are no one, being caught in the truth always goes further than being caught in a lie and being told to leave the line.
9. If you do make it in, you will immediately find yourself among the anonymous, unrecognizable proletariat. The VIP area is your next target. Eithermake friends with the bouncer (in advance) or find the party’s host. After explaining who I was at the 2006 F/W Heatherette party, Susanne Bartsch (while money fell from the ceiling) handed me a VIP wrist band.
10. All of the tragicomedy and drama aside, a Fashion Week party is not a movie. Going home, putting on a disguise and coming back is not going to fool anyone. Going home, changing into something fabulous and coming back… well, maybe.