Fashion Week is nearly at hump-day, and I have just been there one day (Friday) opening day. Deadlines and other obligations have put me at home, sitting in front of my computer, and also out of town. What follows is a belated view of the first day of this season’s fashion week:
I arrived at the Bryant Park tents early for the Michael Wesetly show. The weather was warm, but the mood was already chilly. The usual barricades with guards in front of them had been narrowed so that no one could get by, unnoticed. I recognized one guard from last season who smiled at me, even though I am sure he didn’t really know who I was. The other guard glowered, even though my press pass was in full view.
Inside, the narrow theme was continued. Everything seemed a bit “sparse,” from the information table with few items on it instead of the usual pile of magazines and give-aways, to the “exhibit” booths offering “goodies” that didn’t seem to have anything much to offer besides simple displays. The former “bar” area with coffee during the day and drinks at night had been eliminated in favor of a champagne lounge (Moet sponsored, I think) which had a large velvet rope accross it (don’t know when it opens, but it wasn’t opened in the early evening on Friday). The velvet rope only reminded me that this week-long circus is really for two crowds–the A-listers, who do not wait on lines, always get seats and goodie bags, and then sweep out to a limo or cab to the parties. And then there’s the rest of us who get to watch, and comment. We are supposedly lucky that we get to go at all. The press badge has an “I” on it instead of “Press” and a statement that the badge lets you in to the lobby area, only and not the shows. That speaks volumes. Even the Atkins Bar/Advantage folks who had abundant display racks full of food last season, had a leggy model sitting behind a table and serving up the bars on a tray, rather than leaving large display racks to be ransaked by hungry fashionistas.
Having taken in the scene, I walked to the registration area to check in for the Michael Wesetly show and of course, my name wasn’t on the list, although it was supposed to be. A young PR woman who reminded me of Sarah Jessica Parker graciously seated me (with a good, front row seat) anyway. While waiting on line to get in I spoke to a woman whose son was in the show (he had cornrows so I could recognize him). She was very attractive, and obviously passed along the “gorgeous” genes to her son! Although I didn’t realize it, the show also featured men from the cast of The Color Purple on Broadway. Some of the clothes fit the “purple” theme, in various suits, ties, blazers, trousers, and tailored clothes that often had a large, boxy shape on the various models.
And what of the collection? I loved it. The designer used a lot mixed textures and color, some surprising. I loved the smooth jackets set off by cable-knit hats or nubby jackets with khakis or jeans, and the surprise of brown with deep blue, relatively conservative business suits with less conversative, wide pinstripes of black and silver, and luxe fabrics such as suede, cashmere, silk, corduroy, and lots of velvet.
After the show I wandered around the tent for a while, and found myself in the Delta Airlines lounge. I just needed to rest my feet for a moment and had found a seat, when a gorgeous woman asked me to move. I could see that she was doing an interview. I moved, and started chatting with her cameraman. When they learned that I do extensive beauty reviews they insisted on having her interview me. I didn’t even get a chance to comb my hair (heaven knows what I look like on that tape) but they said the segment would air on the Delta Airlines inflight entertainment network in the next two weeks–so if you fly Delta, look for me!
After this, I wandered to another table in the main lobby to sit down, and a woman with two male companions asked if they could “squat” with me. Usually people just sit without waiting for an invitation, so I was suprised that she was so polite. It turned out that she was working for Delta in Public Relations. The talk turned to the Heart Truth show, coming up in a few hours and featuring female songsters (eg. Sheryl Crow, Fergie from the Black Eye Peas, Michelle Phillips, etc) modeling red evening gowns from well known designers. I told her that I didn’t have an invitation. She pulled one out of her purse and said “here, this is a ticket for the sponsors section. You will be escorted in.”
I was not only grateful, but I was delighted not to have to wait on line for once. A woman from Los Angeles and her Daughter were part of our trio. There was a long delay to get the show started and get the photographers onto the riser, first. We must have waited outside (with our escort) for half an hour, but the other people (and I’m usually one of them) waited over and hour. I had forgotten just how exhausting this process can be. Last year first lady Laura Bush was there. This year, 20 female musical artists strutting their stuff included: Amerie, Bebe Neuwirth, CeCe Winans, Christina Milian, Debbie Harry, Eartha Kitt, Jossie Perez, LeAnn Rimes, Lee Ann Womack, Michelle Phillips, Nelly Furtado, Sheryl Crow, and Thalía. They wore dresses by: everyone from funky Betsey Johnson to classic Oscar de la Renta and Vera Wang.
Show over, it was too late to wait on line for the next invite I had (with no seat assignment) so I went to the Columbia Club a few blocks away, dropped my press bag (nearly empty this season but cute LaCoste design) and my tote bags, and somehow walked into the accessories exhibit reception (not sure I was supposed to be in there but the rope had been moved to one side so I followed someone in). I had a few munchies and a terribly strong magarita, and said “adios” to fashion week, day one.
More to follow