Written and photographed by Heather Mahoney.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder; we must all have the same view…
Hello, my name is Heather Mahoney, the latest addition to the Fashiontographer team – recently named Publisher to this fashion-fabulous crew! This is a full rendition of my journey to the Big Apple and into the welcoming (chic) arms of the fashion industry… enjoy!
My career bucket list has consisted of interviewing Clint Eastwood (check); White House Correspondent’s Dinner (check – twice); and to top it off attending New York’s Fashion Week! I made the decision at the beginning of 2012 that I was going to make it this year no matter what the cost or commitment! I booked my flight, hotel, and went on a much-too-expensive shopping spree to fit in – and clearly last fall’s Mary Janes weren’t going to cut it! To take from fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker, I may “literally be the girl that lived in her shoes” after the whole process was over (since I skimped on paying rent) but what can I say… it was worth it.
I had only two days to immerse myself in all things fashion from the color-blocking, to the chevron, to the skinny jeans… oh my!
I woke up refreshed and ready to take on the Monday morning. I walked out of my hotel on Park Avenue, hailed a not-so-basic taxi (town car) and off to Lincoln Center I went. I felt revived – like I was re-born a New Yorker; this was HOME. I stepped out of the cab in my (only pair) of Christian Louboutin heels, walked past the New York City Ballet and up the steps to the steel-clad agent-guarded iconic tent. Inside it was the who’s who of the fashion industry – I had arrived at the holy grail of style.
I walked through the front door next to Kelly Osbourne; stood in the café line behind Vogue’s international editor-at-large Hamish Bowles; and walked into the first set of shows next to empire(ss) Ivanka Trump. The vibe was fun, fast-paced, and shameless. You either strutted everywhere you went or you would gracefully fall from not keeping pace.
I entered my first show, Carolina Herrera in the theatre – found my place amongst the photographers and set up. I stood in awe of the fashion monarchs filing in – suddenly, there she was Anna Wintour herself. I watched her turn down photo after photo, covering her face as if over being published; she retreated from the entrance to sit idly in her coveted front-row seat. I watched her slip on her signature sunglasses (which are said to be worn to mask her emotion). Her bodyguards turned down photog after photog – unimpressed by their media badges.
I don’t know what came over me but I thought I absolutely have to get her photo! If I didn’t at least try – to experience the breadth of my career, not just the length – I would regret it. I marched myself right up to the “Devil in Prada” and quietly said, “Good morning Ms. Wintour, may I be please snap a photograph of you?” And just like that, she nodded lightly with approval, removed her iconic shades so I could see the whites of her eyes as if I had made contact with another species completely, and smiled. I had done it – I had gotten the one shot that made my travel entirely worth it — in my first 20 minutes at New York Fashion Week!
I sat through the rest of Carolina Herrera’s show which included a flirty very feminine line. Carolina utilized fine materials like silk, organza, and Georgette with abstract prints. Truly beautiful.
On my way out, I stopped into Carlos Miele’s show (which I thought I had to miss because of timing) to find Vanessa Williams and Paula Abdul sitting front row. The vibe was Brazilian-jungle with wild unapologetic animal prints with a mélange of chiffon eveningwear on models with billowing hair and striking red lips marching to the tunes of Anthony and John Souza. After Miele’s show, I left the fashion tents to venture to SoHo for lunch.
I then returned for Reem Acra’s show. Her collection was lavish, beginning with ladylike silhouettes but quickly turning to luxe sheathes and gowns with peek-a-boo side panels exposing the models provocative profiles. Truly show-stopping. Her collection was red carpet ready playing with standout hues mirrored from the black ice runway. The photos from this show turned out to be my favorite. The colors popped with an unparalleled blue illuminated backdrop. The vibe was trés chic.
Later that evening I joined Walter, Lais, and Anastasia at the meatpacking district’s Fig & Olive for a late night bite with international designers Charlie and Luisa. I wore a black and white frock highlighted by my red lipstick (tip taken from the day’s shows). Exhausted and still on an emotionally high from the day’s events, I retreated to Park Avenue excited to return early the next day.
My final day began at the theatre with plans to attend Badgley Mischka but was told I would have to choose between that and Vera Wang since the shows ran back to back. I chose to shoot the Vogue-veteran Vera Wang’s Out of India collection which consisted of dark ornate garments. Her lace pieces were remarkable with contrasting hemlines and exquisite overlays. All models wore wedges which echoed the simplicity of a ballet shoe – neutral, silk, and ribbon-wrapped ankle straps. The natural makeup and sophisticated buns let the clothes speak for themselves.
Following the show I headed for the airport to head back to the drab blue-suit Washington, DC. Next in my sights… Fashion Week London, then Milan, then Paris!