Photos and text by Lisa Klein.
I had graciously and very happily been invited to the Fall 2012 Diane Von Furstenberg show in New York by one of my most fashionable Georgetown patients and was thrilled to have the opportunity to go to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York!
A little while later, one of the sought-after Fashiontographer Fashion Correspondent spots opened and my dreams of spending endless hours looking at beautiful clothes started coming to fruition! I’ve been a life long fashion lover and have for years wanted to attend in person the NY runway shows (seeing them online is great but somehow just not the same). With the DVF invite in hand and full length mink coat lent to me by another of my fabulous DC fashionista friends, I was ready to go.
My journey to Fashion Heaven started off a bit rough; I missed by 30 seconds the Acela train which would have gotten me to NY with plenty of time to get to my first show, Rebecca Taylor. My mink coat and I boarded the next train and after a while I realized I was sitting in front of three fellow Washington DC attendees. As it turned out they were also going to DVF; the first of several DC related coincidences.
My train arrived at Penn Station at 1:44 pm and somehow I was able to get cash, get a cab, drop off my bag at The Hudson Hotel on 58th and Columbus, get my press pass, get my show ticket and make it to the standing line for the Rebecca Taylor show by 2:10 pm (doors opened at 2pm). I think I was in some sort of Fashion Week time bending wormhole. Anyhow, after all that, the show was packed and I couldn’t get in, learning Fashion Week Very Important Lesson Number 1: get there early!!
Because I was running late, I hadn’t had a chance to change so at this point I’m wearing multicolor Custo Barcelona leggings, my super comfortable black suede Aerosole wedge boots (yes, Aerosole!), a white Vince top, my uber fabulous Brunello Cucinelli brass wrap necklace from Rome, and a full length brown mink coat. Seriously, it was hilarious. Thankfully, however, hilarity seemed to be one of the unifying themes of the Fashion Week attendees and I fit right in! I felt like some kind of wild bird that had been returned to its native habitat. Everywhere I looked there were people in outrageous, hilarious, ridiculous, over the top outfits involving ginormous fur hats, feathers, sequins, long sheer black and white prairie skirts, Annie Hall hats, outrageously high shoes, more feathers, neon colors, much black and much attitude!
Lugging my coat (mink is hot!) and my two small bags from the train I was on my way back to my hotel (which I realized I could walk to from Lincoln Center) and I walked right passed the Empire Hotel, the location of my next show, the Nautica box presentation. A box presentation is when the clothes are shown on the models but the models are standing on a platform and you can actually see the clothes in detail because there is no runway walking action. The line was huge but I figured what the hell, I was already there. I ended up chatting it up (everyone on each line I ended up in was super chatty and friendly) with a business writer for Self Magazine who also was having a hard time getting into the shows, as well as a woman in line behind me who couldn’t get into Rebecca Taylor. She said she’s never seen it like this, so crowded (a sentiment I heard several times from other fashion writers/bloggers/stylists attending the shows) and she couldn’t believe she got shut out. That made me feel better about not getting in, but it reinforced how popular Fashion Week has become as an event not to be missed.
To get to the Nautica show we had to stand in a huge line, go through the Chowder House Restaurant, and up into a packed bar/restaurant area that I couldn’t tell was part of the Chowder House or Empire Hotel. We were hoping someone would feed us as we walked through the restaurant, but alas, that was not to be. Once upstairs, it was packed with people trying to get a good look at these uber gorgeous male models dressed in Nautica. At least we were given champagne and some concoction featuring St. Germaine. I found out later from Anastasia Lambrou (fellow DC correspondent) that last year the models were half dressed. And that may have been the case with the ones in the back but I didn’t stick around long enough to find out. Between the crush of people, the mink, and the champagne, I didn’t last long. I decided to go back to The Hudson, check in, dump extra baggage, and head back to Nautica.
Once in my room at the fabulous Hudson (great NY hip hotel, my room was barely large enough for both myself and my large carry on bag), I connected with the fabulous Walter Grio and the ever wonderful fellow Fashion Correspondent Jennifer Harlow. They had just come from having lunch with Debra Messing and their friend Tia who lives in London and who just happened to be in NY. It was getting close to the time of our first backstage access show, Katya Leonovich, so we decided to just head back over to Lincoln Center.
Thus began our amazing evening. With our backstage access we were able to get behind the scenes with Katya, who was showing at the Box presentation. Katya is a lovely designer from Russia whose concept is making “beauty from garbage”. Walking backstage and being right there as the models were having makeup and hair done and then being photographed in the clothing was one of the most fashion fabulous things I’ve ever experienced. To see what goes on behind the scenes was so interesting and you are right there, so close. The models were super skinny and gorgeous and looked to be about 12 years old. Jen was able to interview Katya who was truly gracious even though there was so much going on around her.
Walter and the girls were at the Charlotte Ronson show so after that show, Jen and I plopped ourselves at the Fashion Cafe to rest our weary and aching feet. Fashion Week Very Important Lesson Number 2: wear comfortable shoes! We chatted it up with a fashion blogger and stylist (those two things seem to go together) who lives in NY and is looking to start a fashion branding company www.mildredbrigoni.com. Mildred was very interesting to talk to and super friendly. I think the two things that stood out the most about the attendees were the clothes they were wearing (which were off the hook) and the fact that pretty much everyone was really very friendly. There was an excitement/party vibe that permeated the lobby and the shows and it felt like everyone was caught up in the excitement of the moment.
We met the rest of the Fashiontographer crew and had a great dinner at Blue Ribbon Sushi on 58th. Afterwards, Jen Harlow, Jen Field, her boyfriend, and I went back to The Hudson to check out the Hudson Library Bar (very cool, many lovely black and white pictures of cows wearing hats), but in the end I was exhausted and called it a night. Who knew fashion could take so much out of you?
Being raised in New York by an artist mother, Lisa Klein has always been fascinated by design and artistry. Her interest in the design and artistry of fashion developed into a full fledged passion during her years as a sales associated at Saks Fifth Avenue during college. Lisa is currently the owner of Total Health Physical Therapy in Washington DC, a practice specializing in comprehensive structural physical therapy. Becoming adept at treating the structure of bodies has reinforced her love of clothing, artistry, and design. Lisa is thrilled to be able to merge her interests as a fashion correspondent. In her free time, she indulges her love of fashion by collecting vintage designer pieces. Some of her favorite designers are Alexander McQueen, Christian Siriano, and Nicole Miller.