I’ve always wanted to go to Fashion Week. Well, not always. It’s so hard to avoid hyperbole in this kleig-lit era. Let’s say I’ve wanted to attend ever since I started blogging, and NYFW became a thing, and then eventually a hashtag. #NYFW2016, ain’t we modern.
When Sue at Une Femme asked me to make a trip to NYC with her this September, I was tempted. But I was also deep in the throes of sorting out care for my 83-year old mother. I hemmed and hawed. As the time approached, things were settling with Mom; I was motivated. I turn 60 in a couple of weeks, I felt a deep desire to retrieve the audacity of my youth. If only for a few days.
So at the last minute I asked Sue if it was too late for me to confirm. It wasn’t. I sent a rush of emails to friends and family, made flight reservations, googled the link to Fashion Week’s schedule, and went. (Here’s Sue’s story of our adventures, and more.)
By the time I returned home I’d seen the following:
- The WHIT presentation, in person
- Tom Ford’s show, through a window, darkly
- Arrivals at Zimmerman, on the street
- Lisa N. Hoang’s show, in person
I’d also attended a Style Coalition suite, complete with champagne, cheese, and hair primping.
Tuesday I flew to New York. Requisite airport bathroom selfie above.
Wednesday Sue and I got up, had breakfast, and headed down to Soho in search of what was what. We wandered those retail streets, ducking into both Isabel Marant (rock & roll socialite) and Morgan le Fay (clothing is art). We missed the Rachel Comey show by just a hair. It was held in an undisclosed location that just happened to be two streets over from our rambles. I didn’t mind. We ate lunch, and headed off to see if we might get into the WHIT presentation – the collection designed by Whitney Pozgay, who happens to be Kate Spade’s niece.
We passed a sidewalk stencil on the way. I felt a little like this baby, reading the world for signs and loving my outfit. I wore this tee, from SEA, and a pair of high-waisted jeans.
The WHIT attendees reminded me a tad of a Whit Stillman movie. They were quite nice, however, and opened the doors to us without a hitch. “Oh,” said the registrar, “STYLE bloggers.”
Kate was there, holding paper and pencil, as must any loving aunt. She goes by Kate Valentine now, did you know? Has a line called Frances Valentine.
Artists stood at easels, surrounding the seated models, sketching.
The clothes reminded me of Cacharel in the late 1970s. Ah the striped sundresses of yesteryear.
Sue and I wandered out. We ate lunch. We went back to the hotel. We changed clothes. We ate dinner. And then we walked a few blocks over to the site of Tom Ford’s show. The TBA location had been strategically leaked to the papers, at “that now-shuttered iconic restaurant, the Four Seasons.” Gawkers aplenty; we had missed most of the red carpet.
Out of nowhere, a young woman, for no other reason than gifts from the universe, said to Sue and me, “Come this way. I know how we can see the whole thing.” And round the back of the building we went, only to find ourselves on one of those random elevated concrete plazas common to the East Side. We peered into tall bronze windows. Through the bead curtains, I’ll be damned, we saw the A-list, seated at white tables, chatting. Jon Hamm next to Cindy Crawford, Terry Richardson sitting silent with beady eyes, a glimpse of Diane von Furstenburg’s red mane, while Carine Roitfeld, eyeliner smoldering, bent down to whisper in the wrap-dress queen’s ear.
Then the show began. We saw the whole dang thing. Imagine our little group, eventually, oh, seven people, noses nigh-on pressed to the windows, watching the full theater of Tom Ford and his glitterati. A fellow nose-presser showed us his Instagram feed of Alicia Keys arriving. The janitor came out a back door and watched, cellphone camera held high. As someone said, when we dispersed, “A real New York moment.” Brilliant. Redemptive, in its way, of an anxious youth.
Pretty. Most of Ford’s stuff is far more brutal. Available now, in a new way of doing business, at Bergdorf’s.
Other people’s glamour becomes far less daunting as you age.
On Thursday, first I met Lauren for lunch. Then my best friend came to town. We rode the subway in 93 degree heat and a car without air-conditioning, took a pedicab ride in Central Park, and ate at Katz Deli. Decades of friendship behind that agenda, very little fashion. So dear.
On Friday, my son and I spent his day off together. A return to fashion.
The boy child poses at his mother ‘s request
First he and I headed over to the Zimmerman show. One by one, perfectly undone young women entered the door. The air bent around them. I asked about entry, tentatively, the registrar shook her head. We left.
This woman arrived too late for entry, but very Zimmerman all the same
Next we went looking for Jason Wu, thinking to gawk at more arrivals. Instead we found ourselves outside the show of Lisa N. Hoang. As a young, emergent designer, she had space for We the Great Uninvited. Only ask. In we went. People stood in line.
I stood in line. My son took my picture.
Usual straight hair
The show was so beautiful. Couture clothes up front remind you about fabric, about craftsmanship. Models up close make you worry a little about their skin care regimes. And the audiences – refulgent.
On to the Style Coalition suite. Champagne, young style bloggers, my son, me. Purple lighting.
I sat in the chair to have my hair curled with this gizmo. As you can see in the photo at top, it worked, at least for a while. I felt giddy that I knew what I was doing, although perhaps I didn’t.
Usual straight hair oingo-boingoed by humidity pre-curling
Finally, thinking to attend Kim France’s meet-and-greet at Claire Vivier’s store, my son and I went back to Soho. To while away the time, he and I shopped for a lightweight black outerwear layer for me. Although we missed Kim France – turned out the event was Thursday, not Friday – I came home from New York Fashion Week with this. Ha! Know thyself.
How To Do Fashion Week As An Interested Outsider
- Set overarching goals
- Bring a buddy
- Develop Plan A with logistics, be prepared with Plan B if required
- Set aside embarrassment
- Go for everything
- Take no failure personally
- Dress as well as you can, in clothes that you love
- Get a great haircut
- Wear tinted moisturizer with sunscreen if you plan to walk anywhere
- Be very, very polite and cheerful to everyone
- Show no anxiety. Try not to feel any. Forgive yourself if you do, I as forgave myself the evident clutching of that Céline bag.
Lessons For Next Time
- Try reaching out to a few PR reps before it all starts
- Stay at a hotel on the West Side. Crosstown traffic is terrible; most shows in 2016 are happening near the Hudson.
- If you hold out any hope of being photographed as Street Style, take whatever you want to wear up a notch. You are going to have to stand out, everyone’s so “done,” so vivid.
- By the way, no one but me is wearing hats in New York City
- By the way, all the women are wearing short black t-shirt dresses, with anything from white sneakers to Birkenstocks to slides to Ferragamo pumps
I fell short in several attempts. I missed Kim France’s event, we could perhaps have persisted at Zimmerman and gotten in, I left the city before one of my primary link partnerships opened their suite. But none of that affected my sense of success and joy in the experience.
While We Are At It, Some Possible NYC Fashion Trends, AKA Clothes That Looked Kind Of New And Cool Or Else Current And Still Cool
- Very large plaids
- Raw hem denim
- Degradé leather
- Ornamentation and decoration of all sorts
- Skirts super short or mid-length
- Bondage shoes
- 1970s and early 80s
Me, come fall I’ll probably still be wearing oversized pants, maxidresses, and UNIQLO tees. With my new black H&M jacket. Over and out, Sturdy Gals, the world is ours to seize. That we do so politely goes without saying.
Links may generate commissions. No events I attended required mentions or links for participation; no words or acts were sponsored.