While there’s no point in pretending this is up-to-the-minute New York Fashion Week Fall 2009 coverage now, it’s time for me to reflect on what went down in New York last week. Even though London Fashion Week is almost over, I am still recovering from eight days filled with attending over two dozen shows, parties, and “happenings”, many of which I covered for several magazine outlets. Between scrambling between shows, arranging lat minute interviews and backstage meet-ups, writing the actual coverage, and you know, traveling, eating, outfit-planning, and sleeping, my week quickly become unmanageable (as the best things always do). How did I survive it? Caffeine, adrenaline, and sheer nerve. Oh, and a few free drinks and gift bags never hurt…
So, while it was a subdued affair compared to Spring 2009, I had some terrific, memorable, and weird experiences all Fashion Week-long and I intend to share with you the highlights, anecdotes, and those few shows that truly “stood the test of time”. Or that at least seem relevant to mention a week later.
Without further ado, I present to you my first NYFW F09 flashback: Ten From The Tents.
1.) Everyone got sick. Fact. Every editor, writer, stylist, model, and designer I encountered came down with the “Fashion Week Flu”, a devious, persistent bug that first surfaced around Valentine’s Day, spread alarmingly fast, and put a damper on many a fashionista’s work and play plans for the rest of the week. Did I come down with the mystery illness? Miraculously, no. I just got food poisoning instead.
2.) The mood at the Tents was…sober. Not to say everything was boring. Thanks to the liberal stream of free alcohol at the open bar, the living Sony models, Barbie’s omnipresence, and the McCafe, there was reason to stick around to pass time between shows, but the sub-socialites turned down the floss about ten notches, thanks to “these uncertain times”. To be honest, I found the absence of the “look at me” factor quite liberating. Fashion Week should be more about fashion itself, less about the girls who buy it.
3.) The best VIP Lounge came courtesy of the W Hotel. It was clandestine, purple-lit, and harbored the ambience of a low-key electro club. Between my Bryant Park shows, I was able to chill back there on a few occasions. On Day One at midday, I enjoyed cupcakes and champagne. Wise? Unlikely. Decadent? You bet. And I needed it already.
4.) The McCafe = better than expected. I’m not going to pretend their caffeinated offerings were of gourmet bistro, or, hell, even Starbucks, caliber, but in a pinch, they were terrific. And free. And their mocha latte? Just the thing needed to revive a girl between her fourth and fifth shows of the day. Spotted at McCafe many times: Hamish Bowles, who likes his strong and dark (insert pun here).
4.) Contents of the official Mercedes Benz Fashion Week giftbag: a tiny bottle of Chambord, Peroni glass, two MAC makeup products (eyeliner and lipstick), a bunch of “journals” (cutely anachronistic, me thinks), hotel-sized Tresemme haircare products, a “cool guide” to New York (wasted on the city’s own tastemakers?), YKK zipper necklace, Vitamin Water, and rimming sugar. Attractive non-essentials all packed in a pepto-pink Barbie tote. I estimate it weighed about 15 lbs, so I’m glad I picked up mine last thing before I headed home on Day Six.
5.) Everyone wore black, every day. It’s winter, so it makes sense everyone stayed within neutral grounds. Many people didn’t even bother to remove their coats, even when the street style bloggers sniffed around for a quirky subject to shoot. This time, the dapper dandies and the cheery, floral cocktail dress contingent were in scarce supply. But thankfully, color was not entirely lost, thanks to Barbie’s bubblegum influence, which mainly excited the few West Coast cougars who happened to be in town and the reliable flurry of drag queens who populate the Tents.
6.) Someone from a future (dear God, not yet another) VH1 reality show got their hair touched up next to me at Tresemme’s walk-in lounge on Day Five. It was one of the drag queens.
7.) VIP Perk: My “Daily Suite” appointment, arranged via FWD, at the Warren Tricomi Salon last Wednesday. Within one hour, these beauty mavens saved my hair, nails, and, temporarily, my sanity. Too bad that following my halcyon hour, I had no choice but to face the midtown rain. Taxi-less and tempest-tossed, I arrived 20 minutes late to Alexandre Herchcovitch’s show back at The Tents and was closed out. Sigh. So much for free luxuries.
8.) The YKK necklace — aka our official “press credentials holder” — was functional fashion at its finest. Not only did I willingly wear it later in the week as an actual bit of jewelry, I have plans for the extra one contained in the gift bag. If nothing else, it will serve as a gift to another fan of zippy, “statement” neckwear.
9.) Like it or not: fur is back in a big way. It was on the runways, it was on the front row, it was fake (and unconvincing) in the standing section. That said, no one really bothered to attend arch furrier’s Dennis Basso’s show. Including me.
10.) I saw the Ashley Dupre drama unfold at Yigal Azrouel. Wish I hadn’t. What does a front row foul-up look like several rows back? A lot of PR girls in black screaming, a lot of bulbs flashing, and a lot of quizzical stares from other front row veterans. And somewhere in this picture, insert a wild-eyed, defiant Kelly Cutrone and an indignant Yigal. Fortunately, the show itself was surprisingly strong and made up for it. I just kept my eyes on the runway and focused on the excellent (Siouxsie & Joy Division-fueled) soundtrack.