Although the parties and runway began earlier this week, Olympus Fashion week officially began, today. The Bryant Park entrance was littered with young people offering up free copies of the Fashion Week Daily and young men in stylish suits and bowler hats welcomed press and celebs, and some who didn’t seem to know why they were even there, to Fashion Week. Despite the gaiety on the steps, security was very tight at the door. Burly men (retired or moonlighting police?) clad in all (or nearly all) black made sure that only those who had an invitation in hand, or a press badge, entered the main lobby.
Step one was clearly to get my press badge. I waited on a short line and discovered my name wasn’t on the list (why wasn’t I surprised about this??). I waited on a longer line, and the badge was found, so I was finally free to wander at will. I explored the sponsor’s exhibits in the main lobby first. I spoke to the folks at Kinerase, Cotton Inc, and the Bermuda Tourism BoardI drank a free water, courtesy of Aquafina and I noticed that Atkins was offering free Advantage Bars again this season. Since they are just about the only available food, I thank them! I also visited the Gap Body Bar where I learned my bra type (not going to tell you that) and took a short quiz online to find out my “bra personality.” Carefree and casual was the verdict. You can take the queiz, too (it’s fun) and get a discount VIP card: http://www.gapbodybrabar.com/
The TOMER fashion show was beginning in the UPS Hub, and even though I didn’t have a ticket, I decided to take my chances and wait in the line for a place, inside. I stood for over half an hour (the show was delayed) in a long line for the great unwashed, the standing room crowd. I chatted with an elderly woman wearing a garish green blouse festooned with gold metal ornaments, who said she was a freelance writer (she didn’t have a card and couldn’t tell me where she worked or any publication that uses her writing). She was overly interested in what kind of freebies she could glom off advertisers and talked at great length about what she speculated would be in the various fift bags. This topic of discussion got pretty tired, but thankfully, we moved forward, towards the UPS hub and the show. The UPS Hub which is a new, more intimate, venue for new designers. I was prepared to stand, but to my surprise, I got a seat (and a gift bag that had a brownie in it–very welcome since it was lunchtime and obviously I wasn’t going to get any other food). The Tomer show featured very subdued and austere menswear in shades of grey, white and black. Notable was the use of collarless shirts, some even without bands, almost t-shirt-like, which really have not been shown for a while. TOMER also showed dress pants tucked into knee-high socks. This “newsboy” look is not for everyone, but it was eye-catching.
I had about an hour before the Gottex Swimwear show, for which thankfully I did have an invitation and a seat assignment. I ventured towards the WE (women’s entertainment network) booth, where they were offering free mini-massages and large, bronzy tote bags (but only at specific times when I am likely never to be in the tent). I enjoyed speaking to some of my colleagues, including a sweet girl in a conservative buisness suit (and cute shoes) who covers a Latina magazine. I had an espresso at the MAC Cosmetics lounge. I had hoped to meet some of the public relations people I’ve been working with, but none were there. The MAC lounge was done up in bright red (very chic!). About twenty minutes before the Gottex show, I got into the line, but this was too early. I realized later on that none of these shows start on time, and even with a seat assignment, you are going to be on your feet, standing in some sort of line, for a healthy period of time. To the uninitiated, Fashion week seems a bit like organized chaos. No one seemed to know just where people with seat assignments and invitations should stand. I ended up changing lines three times (it’s the first day, so I’m cutting the security guys some slack). That show was late, and by the time I go to my seat, my feet were throbbing. Note to self, wear flats, even if you look frumpy. But the show was amazing! Although there was plenty of basic black, jewel-toned swimsuits in colors of yellow, purple, turquoise and orange predominated, adorned with crystals, paillettes, and accessorized with sheer, flowing, pareos and caftans. A great collection (this Spring you will definitely want to buy a new swimsuit)
By 3:30, my feet were killing me. But my day was hardly over. I made my way to the Style Lounge on 44th Street and Broadway to see what was going on there. I met some of the press people from Lincoln Mercury, as they were launching a new car, the Mercury Milano, parked right there in front of Stylounge (actually, the Times Square Studios). Women were lined up for free make-overs, but after waiting about 15 minutes, I decided I’d had enough standing and waiting in lines for the day. Luckily, talented makeup artists are available any time you want at the best department stores in the world, all in near-walking distance!
My energy fading, I hobbled back up to 6th Avenue, to the Columbia University Club, where I had a scotch (yes, at 4pm) and attempted to soothe my aching feet.
At 4:45, having been sufficiently revived by a scotch and some cheese crackers (all I’d had all day was a Brownie), I made my way back to Bryant Park, picked up my huge and heavy press bag (full of makeup, coupons, a t-shirt, even a bottle of margarita mixer) and sat down for another drink — this time in the Olympus Fashion Week lobby. I met two delightful people who were somehow involved with Donna Karan but who worked in real estate , and an exotic looking woman named Paola from Agentina who said she had done makeup for some of the ads for Tommy Hilfiger. We chatted, exchanged business cards, had some mojitos, and then it was time for me to head home.
I lugged my press bag home, grateful that I got a seat on the train (no cabs for me unless it’s really late), hobbling and wondering how soon I could lie down Had a sushi dinner with my husband and fell asleep early.
It’s fun, but it’s hard work!
stay tuned for more