In London, it’s about the unexpected. In Paris, it’s the art. But, when it comes to Fashion Week in New York, the industry’s center of focus falls upon the juggling act mastered by attendees happily caught between shows, parties and the people-du jour.
It can feel a lot like high school graduation season: competing for the best dress, too-cool-for school DJs all about, conspicuous dates, and of course, then there is the chatter surrounding which pre and post parties are being hosted by the industry’s respected cliques, and as follows, which party you plan on attending. Unlike prom, it doesn’t matter so much if you go — it is a weeklong party after all — it’s more about if you were invited.
But like high school, there is a pecking order, social circles with their pack leader, and cool-kids only territory. At this past New York Fashion Week, it went a little something like this:
ALEJANDRO INGELMO – Rising Star
CALVIN KLEIN – The Godfather
FUSION MODELS – Catwalk Royalty
MARY ALICE STEPHENSON – Fashion Elite
MONCLER – The Partiers
NAEEM KHAN – The Coveted Dress
TED GIBSON – The Secret to the In Crowd
WARIS ALUWALLIA – The Cool Kid
LE BARON – “The” Scene to be Seen Hangout
The logic behind my voting system follows.
Since designers show off-site days prior to the official start of NYFW, the exact date of Day 1 is a gray area. While for Mercedes-Benz, Day 1 was Friday, the 10th of February at in the tents at Lincoln Center, for me, it was the night before, when I attended Refinery29’s soiree at Double Seven. Hosted by accessory designer and “Rising Star,” Alejandro Ingelmo, it seemed only proper to show my support in style — that is, personal style, and so I wore the nude Razor heels from his spring 2012 collection; a one-of-a-kind produced shoe, that are to-die-for.
On the official kickoff day, I nearly missed the eagerly anticipated House Of Waris party at The Boom Boom Room, due to a disco-nap gone long. My cab turned up and down maneuvering around the traffic, but it was my Vandam Go watch from Rumba Time that kept me quick and cool, when I waved my wrist across the screen, paying for the cab before my friends could fish our their cash/cards. 1 point, GS.
At the top of The Standard Hotel, Blood Orange, along with Solange Knowles – who was popping up everywhere – grooved on the plush sofas with a live show. Leaving the DJ to spin the night away, those willing and able to survive the overly packed, carpeted Boom Boom Room, danced on, overlooking the city in all it’s glory.
By 1 a.m., the crowd began to dwindle. Along with my fashion-party-partner-in-crime, I took it down to China Town to New York’s current pulsing obsession, Le Baron. The foreign brother to the famed French nightspot, notorious for owning the scene en Paris for years, Le Baron is officially open and considered to be the toughest door in the city to step a heel into (although Boom Boom is making quite the comeback).
Same faces-different place; was the on-going theme of the evening as The Cool Kids from the “Cool Kid’s” i.e. Waris Aluwallia party showed up in shifts at Le Baron throughout the night. Beautiful, fashionable, and fun people were found lounging on the low red velvet sofas on every floor. Me? I punched out early: home by 3:30AM. The morning word on the street was the party people moved to Nur Khan’s, Electric Room anticipating more…action.
When looking for action, not many would look to a juice place, but in New York – where trend and secret go hand-in-hand, an obscure juice place is just the place to find the scene.
Serge Becker is the genius behind Miss Lily’s Variety, an offshoot of his Jamaican spot, Miss Lily’s, and attached this NYC gem is another, Melvin’s Juice Box, where I found myself on Day 2. The city’s legendary juice king, Melvin keeps the local NY celebs and his adoring clientele such as myself, content with fresh pressed organic juices and smoothies. Day 2 required an extra shot of wheat grass in my Jamaican Green to keep me going.
Like a Fashion Week dream, as I downed the juice, London’s nail- art queen, Nail Rock by Zoe Pocock, hooked me up with her custom Miss Lily’s inspired Jamaican prints. Then it was off to Milk Studios to check out the fall 2012 Alejandro Ingelmo presentation, where I also happen to fall in love — wish shoes that is. No one does strappy and slick like Alejandro; anytime I wear his heels, I instantly feel sexy and cool. As for the men’s line, I’d rock his sneakers day-in and out, if only I was 5” taller. High top in height and fur trimmed in appearance, these babies are badass in the very best way. Sneaker-freakers start saving your pennies: they are not cheap.
Milk was packed, but I managed to make it in and look photo ready for fashion snappers to take my picture before I did an impromptu interview for LX/TV. At 10 p.m. I ducked out with fashionable friends and spend the night dancing to Whitney’s greatest-hits at APOTHEKE, the ever elusive lower east side drink-den, courtesy of Christopher and Heather Tierney, where the Pepper Infusion cocktail kept things hot – pun intended.
The cold reached an all-time low Day 3 and the fashionable furs were out in full force at the Central Park ice-rink. I donned a vintage aubergine fox bomber-jacket that my grandfather (a former furrier) had crafted for my grandmother. The view from the VIP tent was anything but VIP; fashion editors craned their necks to see the spectacle that was sure to be Moncler’s show: the gathering spot for a one-of-a-kind New York style party, complete with spiked hot cider and spiced hot wine to keep us toasty.
Figure skaters unfolded across the rink wearing the most glamorous skiwear in shades of red, blue and white, while the choir cut through the frost singing a capella the most obvious, yet delightful rendition of Frank Sinatra’s, ‘New York, York’. Even the most cynical New Yorker’s had to smile, it was a magically cliché moment where New Yorkers stop to ponder just how much we love our city.
Fashion reigned on at Rachel Roy’s runway show ,held on Day 4. Backstage, modern hair god, Ted Gibson, tousled the tresses of all the top models. Based on Rachel Roy’s inspiration from the film, Woman From the Dirt, Ted created a sleek, sophisticated 70’s vibe. “This girl is very modern, urban and deliberate,” said the guru as he glammed up the gorgeous gals.
Runway gals on the mind, I wanted to meet up with Jody Gordon, founder of Fusion Models sometime during the week, but catching up with her was proving quite the feat, as she was busy mapping out shows for London, Milan and Paris. My personal favourite model group this season, Fusion had 3 breakout stars well worth keeping your eye on: Lina Zhang, Chrystal Copland and Tatiana Krasikova, seen on runways including Calvin Klein, Anna Sui, Michael Kors, Ohne Tital, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Theysken’s Theory, Marchesa, Proenza Schouler and Herve Leger just to name a few. Of the trio, Lina is the favourite across the pond, already having taken London by storm vi a the runways of Acne, Christopher Kane and Burberry.
Day 5 was all about Naeem Khan take on red carpet glamour, dazzling with its disco-inspired dots that encrusted the hand-beaded silk tulle gowns and cocktails sheaths on the runway. True, the designer credited the Bindi as his inspiration, but I’m pretty certain his studio 54 days played a small roll. My view from the Amex Skybox for the designer’s show was like no other, it was like having box seats at a concert, only actually really close to the stage.
Post show I bumped into Nicole Bryl, make-up artist to the stars and behind-the-scenes go-to-girl at the tents. Her latest list of glamour girls includes, Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Naomi Watts, Molly Sims, Brooke Shields, Hilary Rhoda, Molly Sims, Michelle Monaghan, Maria Menounos, HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco and Queen Noor of Jordan. Nicole’s is a tough list to crack, given the ladies already holding a spot are constantly in-demand of her handiwork. Even still, I aspire to one day make the cut.
On Day 6… we rested… or rather, I separated from the crowd and tried to. I did though make it out to the Last Magazine party at ACME — a star studded event. After a brief appearance there, I once again parted from the crowd and headed to The Bowery Hotel. A night of merlot with friends was in order, in preparation for the final and longest day of my week.
Keeping up with the big guns is never easy, and when it comes to a veteran fashion editor, it’s just as much about looking the part as it is keeping up. I got a first hand look at how the pros do it alongside legendary fashion and beauty expert, Mary Alice Stephenson, who allowed me to tag along as she worked her way through Day 7.
I met up with Mary Alice during her downtime, which is actually a social media frenzy, since the 4 .3 million subscribers of the ‘Celebs On Facebook’ Page were following her every move at NYFW.
Mary Alice’s black SUV dropped us in a swarm of photographers lining the street outside the Calvin Klein Collection show. Chic as ever in her white Calvin Klein coat, Mary Alice handled the crowds like a pro, quickly located her front row seat, and then dipped backstage. After the show, she jokes that the hair was modeled after my dark brown bob, even though Francisco Costa clearly pointed to Rooney Mara’s character in her latest film as his inspiration. A girl can dream though!
Post show I was treated to play time in Mary Alice’s dream closet – she just calls it her closet, trust me, it’s a dream. She debated between two amazing Tommy Hilfiger dresses to wear later that night when she would be emceeing the last show of the week, American Express’ presentation of Tommy Hilfiger’s spring collection.
After hair and makeup touchups were complete, we jumped back in the SUV and headed backstage at Lincoln Center where the fabulous, fictitious family that made up ‘The Hilfigers’ (you know the really good-looking group of people having fun in his ads) were being groomed to go glamping – that’s right: glamorous-camping.
Waiting for the show to start, a video montage flickered against the white background until the first model took the stage and the tunes of synthpop band, Cobra Starship, blasted live from the end of the runway.
Post show, champagne was floating around backstage as everyone on site breathed a sigh of relief, waves of calm sweep over us as the madness of the week finally felt like it was beginning to wind down.
While glamour girls, Mary Alice Stephenson, Dee Hilfiger and Erin Featherston (who’s dating Gabe from Cobra Starship) caught up, I managed to sneak back downtown, just in time to meet my handsome date for dinner.
It’s a tough life, but someone has to do it.