I like bright colors and shiny things, but I can’t claim any actual fashion expertise. Last week, I nevertheless found myself on the list for multiple New York Fashion Week events.
I fit none of the criteria and/or stereotypes regarding that merit NYFW invitations … most of my clothes are free or thrifted, my haircut is a $5 number a la Phresh Cutz, and some of my wardrobe has been with me since I was 14, when I stopped growing (especially in the chestal regions). So what do I possess?
Last February, I went to just one event. This time around I was invited to nine after-parties, four VIP lounges, and six runway shows. I didn’t have anything better to do, so I RSVPd (+1, of course) to all of them.
My miseducation kicked off on September 5 with the DL1961 Spring/Summer ’13 Fashion Week After Party at Chelsea Pier. It involved the electric musical stylings of quasi-celebrity DJ Mia Moretti, free cotton candy, booze and grilled cheese sandwiches served from a food truck parked inside the venue.
I hung around consuming the free edibles and puzzling about exactly how any of this was related to fashion, until some VIP with Gene Wilder hair asked me if my Mohawk was “an homage to Pee-Wee Herman” and then the free booze ran out.
Kinder and gentler events followed … a showcase for designers of color, at which I was asked if I was one of the designers (I am omni racial … an old white lady once told me I had “that Arabian look,” just like my Mexican cousin); a brunch with the designer of the Kardashian clothing line for Sears (not a single Kardashian was in attendance); a really sweaty loft party where I was repeatedly asked if I was a model, then given the stink-eye when I said no.
The true alternate reality occurred at a gifting suite — yes, they have such things at Fashion Week — in a hotel near the Lincoln Center. I was invited to go in these different rooms where beauty and clothing brands were giving out swag such as anti-aging potions and detergent. Upon entering the rooms, it was clear there were different tiers of swag depending on your level of relative celebrity.
At the bottom were the DIY media folks (non-famous bloggers) and other miscellaneous swag-grabbers known as “vampires” and “crashers.”
At the top were celebrities, quasi-celebrities and their family members; models; big-time fashion bloggers (Sartorialist, Sea of Shoes, A Piece of Toast, Jak&Jil blog); and people who write for recognizable magazine outlets.
As a Nobody on the Fashion scale, I got one pair of socks from a fancy designer sock company, while some model’s sister walked up and got a whole eight-pair box. And a watch. I also had to wait a lot longer for my complimentary facial than the notables. Not that I’m complaining.
As I inevitably encountered some fashion celebs, my most starry-eyed encounter was with Robert Verdi (because I totes used to watch one of his interior design shows. But all in all it was a bit challenging to know who was worthy of respect, because I learned that everybody looks famous when dressed in expensive and/or weird clothing.
My favorite Fashion Week moments were watching the runway shows from the comfort of a VIP Blogger’s Lounge at the Duane Street Hotel with live streaming video, whilst eating brownies and drinking Perrier. That and a very impressive rich people party at a fancy bar in Columbus Circle that I was nodded into without a shadow of judgment or sneer. When I checked into the location on Foursquare, I unlocked the Millionaire Matchmaker Badge of Love. I took that as a positive sign, considering I was asked out by a homeless dude in the Bedford Library very recently.
I’m as snarky as the next social media whore, but I have to admit it’s fun to be a nobody-insider at Fashion Week. Even if nobody else enjoyed my coining of the terms “Birth Control Glasses” and “Glitter Hooves.”
I guess I’ll save them for Twitter.
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