I love it and I dread it (Wipe that shocked look off your face!). Believe it or not—and really, is it that unbelievable?—Fashion Week is something most of us in the industry love and loathe. It's a swag bag of contradictions, from the sleepless nights (from all those parties), to the anxiety of not feeling like there's enough time in the day (between socializing rushing from one designer's show to another, there isn't), to the effortlessly-chic-looking outfits you catch yourself painstakingly planning out (because Tommy Ton might take your photo, you natural-born street style star, you). I'm telling you, it's very exhausting.
Then of course there's actual work involved: shows to review, stories to pitch, text to write and deliver, photographs to edit...the champagne luster fades fast when you're on a deadline.
What I love about NYFW:
- Newness: With the exception of some freaky meteorological occurrences, the seasons stay the same year in and year out, but seeing a designer's fresh take on dressing for those months can be downright exhilarating. The same goes for coming across talented new designers. Very often, it's the emerging up-and-comers who take the biggest risks.
- And... Hmmm. I need to revisit this. Ok! As someone who prides herself on being a New Yorker, I do love that NYFW reinforces this city as one of the world's quintessential fashion capitals. And every February and September, we get to show the rest of the world what we've got. It's like the Olympics, but with better-dressed teams.
- And going along those lines, I appreciate the stimulus that NYFW brings to the city's economy, pulling in $860 million, which, according to the New York Times, is more than the projected earnings of the U.S. Open, the New York City Marathon, or last week's yawn of a Super Bowl.
What I hate about NYFW:
- The waiting: After a show last season, a friend I'd spotted walked up and said, "I just stood in a line, to stand in another line--to stand." Enough said. The average length of a show is 10 minutes, while you're often forced to wait three or four times that amount of time before getting to your seat—if you're even lucky enough to have one. Every season I find myself saying, "There's gotta be a better way." Many designers agree, while some have even gone so far as to host their presentations in smaller, more intimate venues (ie, Tom Ford, Oscar de la Renta).
- The @#$%show: NYFW is a lot of things. But never is it not a circus. From the peacocking street style aspirants to the increasingly aggressive photographers, to the crowds, then the waiting, it's a bonafide @#$%show.
- Hearing colleagues complain about the @#$%show that NYFW has become, when they had a role in perpetuating it. Not too long ago, NYFW used to be a trade-only event for those in the industry (buyers, editors, journalists, etc). Now it's broadened to include celebrities, bloggers, street style fixtures, gawkers and gatecrashers. I don't relish it either, but to my colleagues who write and publish pieces like "The 25 Pieces To Get You Noticed By Photographers At Fashion Week," yet still moan about all the preeners and spectators who have "no right being there," you're not allowed to complain when your writing encourages them to actually go and experience it all firsthand, instead of merely through your coverage. This is partly your fault.
Today I came down with something—the first something to hit my immune system all season. Strangely, after bragging this entire winter about how healthy I've been, I don't mind so much, not even the glassy, puckered eyes and resemblance to a washed-up feline. Maybe I subconsciously allowed it to happen so I could take to my bed and blame it all on unfortunate circumstances and timing rather than being a baby. Can I still experience NYFW from the glow of my ipad? I think so. And I'm excited to try. It's certainly a new experiment, and one without the intolerable wait.
And for when I do recover enough to step back out into the world, I've made some resolutions.
This Fashion Week—starting right NOW—I resolve to :
1. Bury my head in the sand from a safe distance, and wait out the storm as much as possible.
2. When I do have to show up somewhere, I'll treat it like going to a Broadway show (it is like theater, after all) and dress presently for the occasion, but not in any way that's untrue to who I am or what I'd normally wear.
3. Take it for what it's worth—actual value and face value.