You only get your first time once and I’d been dreaming of mine since the first time my dad brought home a plaid tulled party dress wrapped expertly in a silver box. The mystique and allure of fashion week having long been an object of my desire was a natural goal. After years of being only a wish, through some hard work, hustle, humility and a little luck my first steps into the tents stretched into an entire week of shows, Celines and fashion’s A-list. My by chance position allowed me a literal bird’s eye view of the intricacies and very public goings on at Lincoln Center.
As every item on my Pintrest board entered the main doors, the curtains of my imagination were rolled back to reveal the vanity, flashing lights and of course… the clothes. The exclusivity, guarded closely by the multiple walls of heavy, broad suited men, is the engine that propels the whole operation. Much like how Facebook built its empire on guarded gates of megabytes, NYFW stands atop the starry eyed fashion obsessed obscure around the world. However, on the other side of these gates are the brocaded neoprenes and flowing seas of silk charmeuse billowing behind a six foot tall impressionist painting taken off the wall just to entrance you from your folding chair.
I wish I could say I was completely nonplussed by the pageantry and technical shallowness, but to me a J. Mendel cut out, crew neck draped mini dress equates to a 19th century Rembrandt hanging in the Musee D’Orsay. Who is tell me that just because it is seen on the streets of Park Avenue instead of behind a rope in Europe that it can’t be looked at in awe? Whose to say that because it is made by a living artist with a needle and thread that it’s not a masterpiece? I refuse to apologize or hide the fact that I can find artistic beauty among fabrics and lipstick. Accepting this does not mean also accepting my inherent shallowness, but reveals my joy in eliciting emotion and happiness by a prolonged glance. It’s just one area in which I do so, beauty is also found in a soup kitchen, the slums of Mumbai and in hospital beds. However, for this one week, in the brief respites between attending my station with a headset and radio on my hip, I basked in the rewards of my hard work and good fortune.
Catching Anna Wintour’s deer in headlights eye as she rushed into Vera Wang or sitting jaw dropped as Jenny Packham’s spring line cascaded before me or chatting with Amy Astley about that morning’s Daily, were just some of the benefits I enjoyed from my 95 hours of service. I hope to all those who long to enter the dark theaters of fashion week to experience one for themselves, but those starry eyes can so easily be appeased in the digital age. The lobby was stacked to the brim with fashion bloggers and photographers documenting everything (even me in my headset, vegan leather leggings and white tuxedo blazer) to later that night be uploaded into cyberspace. You no longer have to be physically present to enjoy everything the designers have created just for your visual pleasure. In reality, watching from a computer screen is not that different from the front row (or so I was told my occupants of those illustrious chairs). So go ahead and dive in.