This is Fashion Week in New York. I sort of wandered into fashion by wandering into the tent shows in Bryant Park soon after finishing school. Back then the shows were both more open and more closed. I’ll explain. Security wasn’t rigid and students and those who cared could generally find a way into most shows and see the collections as they were presented. In that sense it was more open. Back then it was a smaller circle of familiar faces: buyers, editors. It felt much more clubby. In that sense it was more closed.
I met many editors and stylists I’d eventually work with just by being an enthusiast and being there. I still find it thrilling to see the collections. It’s the culmination of half a year’s work for most. You’re there at the moment of success, failure and everything in between.
I went to see a couple friends’ presentations the last few days. Fashion Week has changed. It was always slightly carnivalesque. People in costume and so forth. Now it’s bigger and crazier: aggressively stylish hordes trampling back and forth from Lincoln Center to Milk Studios and points in between. The difference is all the fashion and street style blogs. It seems like the week is now less about the collections than media about the collections.
Witness this scene on 26th Street on Sunday as street style bloggers converged on anyone and everyone leaving the DKNY show:
As fashion reporting has become democratized, so has celebrity. All you have to do is dress well and you can experience being pursued by paparazzi as if you were actually famous.
I always wondered why people find fame so desirable.
I remember once a friend had just moved to New York from Detroit. I took him out for the evening. Back then I paid attention to night life and knew what was what. At our first club we saw Donald Trump and Madonna. “Welcome to New York”, I said.
Madonna split quickly. Trump was pinned down by some guy who’d recognized him, initiated conversation and wouldn’t stop talking. Trump was actually gracious. The guy finally left. I was standing a few feet away. Trump and I looked at each other. “Price of fame”, I said. Trump rolled his eyes.
But being pestered by strangers has become a totem of success. If you feel like ritually enacting it, at least for a minute or two, dress avant garde and head over to Lincoln Center before it all ends on Thursday.
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