What They Don’t Tell You About Fashion Week
The side of the twice yearly affair that doesn't get talked about in the news. Fashion is pretty, but there's an uglier and sweatier side to it, too.| September 19, 2016
As cliché as it may sound, fashion week is kind of like watching a concert or going to the theatre: it is a performance, and watching it on a screen isn’t the same as watching it in person. You don’t get to see the crew readying the “performers” and setting up the stage, or the massive traffic jam comprising both humans and cars outside the venue. You don’t get to hear the runway photographers yelling at the front row to keep their legs in, or at the models to slow down their walk.
Don’t get me wrong – the fashion week shows are still extremely thrilling and exciting, of course, and being able to attend them is #lifegoals. But that dream-like, perfect imagery of a runway show? It has been tainted just a bit, I’m afraid. Fashion week is full of pretty things, but there’s a grimier, rowdier and sweatier side to it as well. Here, the six amusing/surprising things that don’t quite often make it into your regular fashion week coverage.
1. Pre-Show Shopping Sprees
A lot of retail therapy happens before the show season starts. Like, a lot. Think of it as back-to-school shopping and fashion week is the new school term. Don’t be surprised if you bump into EVERYONE whilst strolling down Avenue Montaigne or Rue Saint-Honore the day before the first big event. Planning to snag a pair of those new season Celine pants or Chanel shoes for an upcoming show? You better run, because twenty other girls are probably thinking the same thing. You snooze, you lose, sister.
I can safely and honestly say that I didn’t know this was a thing until my first fashion week in Milan. People actually dress up, hop on a car, get off at show locations, walk down the photographer route, pose for a couple of pictures, walk to a quieter alley behind the entrance – and then leave. I once spotted a very well-dressed lady – reasonably well-followed on Instagram, I later realised – who did all of that outside a show in Paris. She settled on a little bench behind some bushes, fiddled with her phone for the show’s duration and joined the exiting crowd when the show was over. Curiouser and curiouser.
3. Wriggling In The Front Row
Shimmying to make extra space happens a lot in the front row. Who doesn’t like an unobstructed view, right? Sometimes, the reason is legitimate, like there is actual unfilled space and the show is starting in a minute, or you’re late and there is no way you can get to your seat in the third row without looking like an awkward turtle. Sometimes though, it can just be the result of a certain show-goer being unhappy with his or her assigned seat. It is a nightmare for the brand’s PR staff, especially when the seat belongs to an important guest, but it happens and you just got to deal with it.
4. The Post-Show Dash
As we’ve said before – schedules during fashion week are mad tight. Shows are usually half an hour apart, so that’s all the time people have to get to the next show location. What that means is that as the music softens and the curtain closes on one show, people are already up and out the door. Sometimes it starts even before the designer of the hour disappears completely behind the curtain. We have a timetable to keep to, people! There’s usually little to no lingering between the seats. Most of the “hellos” and catching-up happens on the way out of the venue.
5. Baggin’ The Goodie Bags
Some shows come with very nice goodie bags or show merch – Chanel, Moschino and Marc Jacobs, for example – and sometimes not everyone takes them home. If the coast is clear and no one seems to be claiming the spare ones, it is a free for all. We’ve even seen people try to take home some of the show props.
6. Let’s See Who Can Run The Furthest
One thing that I found quite funny out of the entire show-going process is the street style photography situation outside. The photographers really chase after their subjects, sometimes for several blocks. Do they do this for everyone? I mean, think about the stamina! The physical demands! Photographers also tend to stop as a group right in the middle of a road, and this usually leads to angry drivers, road marshals, policemen and a lot of yelling and honking.
Lead Image: DKNY Spring/Summer 2017/Imaxtree