Sunday, February 09, 2014

Editorial: The Fashion Week Experience


East Side, West Side, All Around the Town

Let me start out by stating the obvious: THE BIG ‘Fashion Moments’ will inevitably be happening not at Lincoln Center, but all over town. This is nothing new and has been the case for a while. But it’s even more pronounced this season as exemplified by Alexander Wang’s recent choice of venue which was quite far from the “maddening crowds”: The Brooklyn Navy Yards at 8:30PM last evening. I guess you can say having attended is the ultimate "badge". It not only necessitated a car and driver to get you there and back efficiently (unless you live right there LOL), but proved you were lucky enough to have scored an invite, (or quite frankly, to even have gotten someone at KCD to respond to an email). By the way, this leads me to ponder the question: what’s next for Alexander Wang and his New York based eponymous collection? Will he be showing in Paris, meaning one will need to buy a ticket to the City of Lights?

 “I’ve had better days on my second tour in Afghanistan” - referring to the shows at Lincoln Center

In the meantime, let’s not forget that there ARE still shows at Lincoln Center (which is still considered to be the centralized location). And it has undergone quite a noticeable face lift. The most obvious one: the security is now SO tight; it’s on par with Israel’s famed Mossad, and has the same ambiance as a major airport anyplace on earth. You have to pass through at least 4 checkpoints before you even get to your seat, and while in the venue, you might still be asked to see your invite, once seated. Quite frankly, if Ty Yorio’s Citadel Security team was hired to guard the Olympic Winter Games in Shochi, based on what I’ve seen thus far, I can almost guarantee there would be no terrorist attacks.

As to whether or not the security guys have been a bit too heavy handed and rude at times..I have not found that to be the case. Quite the opposite in fact. I have found security to be cordially professional and patient given the circumstances. Although on Friday night, when one guy in particular asked a ticketed guest how her day was going (and she responded, “fine, how is yours?”), he returned with: “I’ve had better days on my second tour in Afghanistan”. Ouch! I guess fashion people can be quite taxing. This has also made a difference in terms of the crowds both inside and outside the venues (in a word, much less “riff raff” shall I say).

On the downside, it must be pointed out that they have made it so disquietingly dark inside, it’s hard to gauge what time of day it is.  As I was leaving Mara Hoffman yesterday afternoon, I overheard a show attendee remarking to another: “It feels like a ride at Disneyland”. Having been there and having gone on a few rides there, I can attest to the fact that it perfectly summed it up and may be a case of “be careful what you wish for”. While I was not a big fan of the Lincoln Center venues and still long for the Bryant Park days, let me just say that in defense of the local, .regardless of what time of day or what season it may be, it is still a bustling vibrant neighborhood in New York. It is near services, hotels, restaurants, food, shops, subways, and taxis are always readily available. And, it is quick and easy to get in and out of (no elevators needed).

As a professed claustrophobic, I admit it is hard for me to go to shows where I have to crowd on a small elevator with dozens of people (I still remember the days back in the 80’s and 90’s where groups were routinely stuck on lifts). Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the far west Chelsea Area (where many shows are based), and particularly, the Spring Street Studios on Varick Street which is currently beloved by such design houses as Calvin Klein, Altuzarra, Michael Kors, and Diane Von Furstenberg. This area can be a true nightmare in terms of finding a cab, particularly on a cold winter’s night. I guarantee many will be wishing to go back to Lincoln Center or, better yet, Bryant Park.




- Marilyn Kirschner

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