18 February 2014

New York Fashion Week: A Childhood Dream Is Coming True

It's been over a month since my last post. We've gotten through 2 of 4 major fashion weeks. I'm a little behind. If you follow me on facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you know I finally got to go to New York and attend shows. I won't offer reviews here, I don't think, there are plenty of those out there. But I will tell the story of my childhood dream come true. Here's the first of a few posts...

It all started with bad pageant wear. There were probably some batons, a bit of off key opera, and maybe a stilted sonata, too. The Miss Virginia pageant was on a local cable channel, and this woman I followed, @jessicaquillin, known only to me as a pair of red soled black shoes in her Twitter profile pic, was snarking it up.

I tuned in, snarked along, and the rest is history.

What the rest was – is – is a shared love of fashion, design, and the well-written word, and then of more “mundane” things like motherhood and reality TV. From the moment we met, we talked about elevating the written word around fashion. There are loads of photos and illustrations in this space, of course, but the writing in the fashion world, well, that needed our help. To realize that goal we needed to attend fashion weeks together. Naturally. We hatched plans. That was 3 years ago.

Fast forward past childbirth, new jobs, new businesses, a few (many) blog posts, many pounds lost, opportunities made and grabbed, and we ended up editor and contributing writer for Glass. Finally, then, this year, after covering New York, London, Milan, and Paris (Jessica in person for some, I remotely, thanks to the rapid posting of sites like Style.com) for Glass, the scheduling gods aligned, and I managed to join Jessica for 2 whole days of New York Fashion Week.

Let’s not be shy about it. As soon as I figured out that it was happening, I was ridiculously excited. Crazy excited. This was a lifelong dream, really. I was one of those (misguided) girls with a smidgen of artistic talent who sketched teal gown after teal gown (it was the 80s, afterall). I dreamed of attending fashion school. Then I wanted to be a marine biologist, a biology teacher, a history teacher, a German teacher, and then ended up in the current day job, nowhere near fashion.

As the email correspondence between my Glass editor (Jessica) and the PR reps hit my inbox, it got more surreal and more real simultaneously. I was to be there for 2 days only, and we wanted to maximize my time there. My schedule developed: confirmed seats for Porsche Design (yes, that Porsche), hoping for a standing spot at DKNY. Rolando Santana put us front and 2nd row, and Tommy Hilfiger confirmed standing at the last minute. Milly confirmed our spots, as did Guilietta New York. Only one of our requests fell through: DKNY just couldn’t make it happen. With the rest of the lineup, though, I was thrilled. It was a lovely mix of established, commercially proven lines, veteran niche designers, and newer lines.

Through all of the preparation, though, I was a mess. I had to ask Jessica about the app used for RSVPs, invite etiquette, and all sorts of other logistics. All while juggling significant day job deadlines, activities for the Beans, and, oh yeah, a few reviews of earlier shows for Glass. On top of that, I was coming off a 21 day food based cleanse, and was worrying about food choices.

A slinky yet-office appropriate DVF number I did not spend my Saks gift certificate on the week before my trip.

The easy face the Giorgio Armani counter at Saks gave me the week before I left. Buy the foundation. It really is that good.

It wasn’t until the night before the trip that I could even think about packing. Unless, of course, you count the morning I spent spending a Saks gift certificate on Helmut Lang pieces that would be absolutely perfect. Or the moment I spotted a pristinely vibrant but neutral vintage Pucci skirt and shirt set on my “dealer’s” facebook page. Also perfect for NYFW. So the night before I crammed on my last DayJob deadline, then made a packing list on my organizer app. But it didn’t list anything more than “Saturday night outfit,” “Sunday outfit,” “Monday outfit,” and “extra outfit.” That meant I forced H and the Beans to endure a quick packing fashion show Saturday morning.

The gloriousness of vintage. Thanks to Malena's, this is now in my closet - and came with me to NYFW.

I debated coats the morning I left. This vintage astrahan, a touch too big, as warm as it is (and with amazing details like a ribbon belt inside and embroidered monogram on the lining), stayed in DC.

How to pack for the most stylish event I’d ever attended? In below freezing temps. I had no idea where to start. What I did know was that I wasn’t in the least bit worried about standing out. I wasn’t vying to be photographed by the tents. I wanted, above all else, to simply look like I was meant to be there, even though I felt like a big ol’ pretender. In a bit of an existential fashion insider crisis, though, I realized on Friday night, as I was debating, of all things, whether or not to bring my blog business cards (I was attending as a fashion writer, see, not as a blogger), that not only do I belong, but I have something to contribute to the fashion conversation. And just as my blog – my writing – is what got me the gig at Glass – my writing is what earned me a spot next to the runways where I can almost literally feel the fashion fly past my face. That realization calmed me, and, maybe tritely, made it easier to pack. I put in four ensembles that make me feel good and strong and powerful, and off we went.

 It's not a party 'til there's a Bean on your shoulders with a glow stick in hand. If only you could see his little (self-selected hipster party outfit).

I said “we.” Did I mention I started my trip with a family night in Philly? We had a friend’s 40th birthday party to attend on Saturday, so we all went north in one vehicle – all five of us (my mother-in-law included). Then I got up at the crack of dawn Sunday morning (after showering, blowdrying my hair, and doing my nails the night before in the darkened hotel room so as not to wake the Beans) and took the train to New York City.
Traveling clothes, pre-dawn, in the Le Meridien Philadelphia bathroom: Hanes sweatshirt, Calvin Klein coated cotton moto pants, Bettye Muller oxfords, LOFT crystal necklace, Target aviators, vintage Hermes Kelly bag

Yes, Mommy, I am carrying a white bag, wearing a white coat, and drinking coffee. All in the name of arriving in style.

When I arrive in NYC, there are those minutes where the train pulls into Penn Station through dark tunnels. I can’t see New York. I don’t know where you are. Out of the platform, then up to the street I come. It’s bright, alive, and the world is zipping around.

So into the tunnel I zoomed, then disembarked. Up the escalator, and…into a cab I went…off to the W New York Downtown. My first shows were hours away. Hours. I could barely contain myself.


Deb Vaughan said...

I've been living vicariously through you. Attending NYFW is a lifelong dream of mine as well. The first time I went to a local fashion show I thought I'd burst with excitement. I'm not sure if I could contain myself at NYFW. So thrilled you got to realize your dream.

Deb Vaughan said...

I've been living vicariouly through you. Attending NYFW has been a lifelong dream of mine as well. What an amazing trip! I'm so excited for you.

Brea Ellis said...

Amazing! I actually attended two days of fashion week this year too! Wish I had realized you were there. Will your coverage be on Glass? I'd love to check it out.
WHAT I WORE: tip to toe!