Before this week, my strongest memories of the Week That Is Fashion was standing outside the entrance to Zac Posen’s show three years ago being photographed in my proudest ensemble — a Donna Karan dress and pink heels — by a Japanese TV station. This year, however, was my first official foray into the inner confines of Bryant Park and the other “J.V.” shows scattered around the city.
Walking into the tents is literally like walking into a circus. After passing through the gates of the big top, the spectacle of so much hardware and, well, lighting existing between rubber sheeting, grass, and earth is hard to believe. Any Off-Broadway production would go green with envy at the lighting rigs hanging over the runways.
Inside the tents is a scene no different from the one found at any number of nightclubs around the city: pretty girls and boys standing in long lines waiting for a glimpse of the glittering life while the “VIPs” jump the queues flashing seat assignments and press passes. For this reason, I fail to understand why the fashion show continues to hold such mystique. Every show is like a live basketball game — “Wow, those models are really tall and gangly”; “Wow, the runway is much narrower than I would have imagined”; et cetera. While the Y and Kei show was a breeze, in that the show only started 40 minutes late and I even got a seat assignment, I waited an hour in line outside the BCBG show next to a guy in Dior sunglasses and a pirate hat before being informed that the show was “at capacity.” What is this, Bungalow 8? I’ve got a friggin’ invitation!
By week’s end, those close to me began to see the changes that the tribulations of Fashion Week had wrought upon my psyche. I failed to appreciate the intrigue that had brought all these foolhardy people to the gates of a glorified hallway with chairs. I was flabbergasted that a friend of mine in the finance industry got second-row seats at one show while I was relegated to looking casually important in the “standing room” line. I thumbed my nose at Yeohlee’s decision to use “real people” models, came close to blows with several men wearing sunglasses inside the shows and even regaled my friends with tales of trying to trip twiggy fashion editors walking past me into shows. I had become what I most abhorred. I had sidestepped the details that had brought me to the tents’ opening in the first place: the whimsical oversized pockets and splashes of ocean blue at Y and Kei; the dramatic balloon dresses and featherweight gowns at Bill Blass; the bubble tube tops cinched at the waist at BCBG; the playfully puffed sleeves of a capelet at Yeohlee. Much as a surfer sees rows and rows of oncoming waves between waking and sleep, I will no doubt be haunted for some time to come by a never-ending parade of clomping giraffe-women, conquering cotton, satin and seams in their wake.