Chapter 1: The Inception
I’ve attended fashion shows in the past, yet have never fully binged on the 5-course feast known as New York Fashion Week. Last season I flew in from California to see Leanne Marshall’s show wearing a wrinkled blouse and a hangover from the wedding I attended the night before. The designs were both vibrant and whimsical, and I locked down an interview with the designer herself. Regrettably, I had to catch a flight soon after, and the blur stemming from Prosecco-infused brain damage lessened the experience.
After moving back to New York City, I was equipped with access to a steamer and the discipline to throw myself in bed sans inebriation. My wrinkle-free attitude and physical self would return with vengeance.
Before we dive into the thick of it, let me tell you how I weaseled my way in, in case you’ve aspired to witness its glory, or simply want to be an impeccably-dressed wingman for the week’s loneliest attendee.
Aside from tackling hard news on the best site to ever exist, I also write for a fun platform called La Moda Channel and planned to cover some shows for their website. I first started my research on this site called Modem. Here you can find a comprehensive schedule for the week and contact information for each designer’s PR team. After touching up my email sign off with a La Moda logo and a self-appointed Content Contributor title, I slid into the inbox of every public relations intern in the tri-state area.
Soon after, a bevy of invites and many, many more rejections filled my inbox. While I will never forgive Raf Simons for not sending me a popcorn-gram and seat assignment next to Milly Bobby Brown, I was elated to receive the go-ahead from a slew of labels.
February 8th: A Thirsty Thursday
I woke up Thursday ready for the commencement of my first ever full fashion week and hit the ground running (in a confused, panicked sort of way.) I call it Thirsty Thursday because I was READY, and also parched because I couldn’t fit a water bottle into my handbag that resembled a wicker briefcase for hobbits. After requesting time off at my 9-5, I left work early to catch the Pamella Roland show at Chelsea Piers.
Of course, I arrived painfully early. After checking in as press, I was escorted backstage, and mid-journey got tangled in the moving legs of a herd of models. One of them complimented me on my cute, short stature, and I graciously shouted thank you up from sea level. After clawing my way free, I made it to a spacious room bustling with cameras, stylists, makeup artists, press stations, and Nigel Barker. I was scheduled to interview Pamella post-show, so I found a comfort corner where I could whisper positive affirmations to myself and make meaningful eye contact with Nigel.
15 minutes prior to start time, I made my way to the entrance of the show. Miraculously, I found my seat assignment in the front row and shed a single tear. After experimenting with six different leg positions and pursed-lip facial expressions, a very friendly gentleman took a seat next to me. Congenial small talk ensued until a visitor in a fur coat cut in to greet my new acquaintance. In subdued astonishment, I realized this furry gentleman was Miss Jay from America’s Next Top Model which cued me to partake in their shared laughter with manic giggling. These were my people now.
Side note: It appeared half of the original judging panel from America’s Next Top Model was there. I wondered… did I stumble into the reboot? Was the man next to me actually Tyra preparing to rip a wig off to ask me if I wanted to be on top? I braced myself for the reveal.
My neighbor took his seat again. Turns out, he’s the former fashion director of every fashion publication I’ve ever loved including Harper’s Bazaar and InStyle. He then told me about an exhibit at FIT featuring one of America’s most influential and unrecognized designers, Charles James. With exuberant interest, I told him I would check it out, and then regaled him with the fact that I had been to London once.
Before my conversational prowess could wane any further, the universe threw me a bone and dimmed the lights. The show was about to begin.
Pamella is revered for her opulent numbers that grace the red carpets of the world. Admittedly, it’s not my favorite genre of ready-to-wear, but I was made a believer by the modern shapes of this season’s collection. Structured matching sets, sharp pantsuits, and maxi coats tempered the glitz before megawatt numbers tied the bow of this perfectly-wrapped presentation. When I wasn’t attempting to invert my ankles to avoid tripping the models, I was consumed by the balance in mood and texture as well as the tribute to old and new world glamour.
The lights awoke and I bid farewell to my new friend. I weaved my way backstage to a transformed scene buzzing with chatter and flashing Nikons. While nestled in my aforementioned comfort corner, I texted my PR contact asking where and when I would meet with Pamella. She quickly responded, instructing me to meet her in the back corner of the room.
I arrived in a line of fellow press people equipped with camera crews, professional blowouts, and spiffy microphones. After talking my meager iPhone-sporting self out of an Irish exit, I rehearsed my questions and waited patiently.
Finally, I was up. I was last in line and as I greeted Pamella it was clear her post-show adrenaline was fading as she asked if we could take a seat. I graciously accepted and realized my final spot in the queue granted me access to the designer’s toned-down, vulnerable side. Gone was the embarrassment of my lack of proper lighting and Seacrest-style flair. Instead, my casual approach proved to be advantageous as we relaxed into an honest conversation free of looming cameras.
Following the interview, I skipped out of Chelsea Piers brimming with endorphins and plenty of material. Before I could escape to begin writing, I made it my mission to become the subject of a street style snap. After putting on my sunglasses in a Miranda Priesly-like fashion before stepping outside, I paused and waited for the self-affirming clicks of Nikons. When ego-bruising silence ensued, I stalled by looking at my phone and channeled a lost yet en vogue demeanor as I waltzed back and forth in the same general area.
An angelic camera woman eventually approached me and asked for a snap. I confidently exclaimed, “oh, sure!” in a way that was definitely not desperate. With a slight tilt of the head and a strained collarbone pop, I think I nailed it.
With day one in the books, I scampered on home to write my article in the largest t-shirt I could find. I then nestled all snug in my bed while visions of sugar plums, bejeweled gowns, and Nigel Barker danced in my head.