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Fashion Features

NY Fashion Week (or How to Lose Ten Pounds and Your Mind in one Week)
by PJ Gach
EDGE Style Contributor
Friday Feb 3, 2006

You think Fashion Week is just one fabulous drunken debauchery after another followed by slick, chic, uber, hot runway shows, being surrounded by delicious tight bodies, and dragging home cartloads of swag and yummies in goodie bags? Ha, I tell you! Ha!

It’s more like being trapped inside a whirling top, spinning in a thousand directions, never knowing where you are because it’s so damn dark. After sending out the absobloodyfuckinglutely perfect attendee request email (which you sweated days over and are still worried about that damn misplaced comma), you’ll check your email, voicemail, mailbox, and cell phone a thousand times a day praying for a reply. You don’t care if it’s a message via carrier pigeon; you just want to know that after shelling out money for registration, you’ll be able to actually cover a show or seventy.

Then they arrive, sometimes in a trickle - sometimes in multiples –like good orgasms, you scream and cry when they come. But sometimes, the ones you’ve dreamed of, the ones you’ve only heard about from the big girls, never show up. You’re left high, dry and frustrated.

Out of all the fashion pr firms that rule this tiny kingdom is one that casts a long shadow. The other, the dark, the most powerful fashion pr firm in the land, can make the most hardened editor weep with fury. The Dark One who’s name must never be said in the light of day, reps the highest gods of fashion, and they’ll sqoosh any writer who tremulously asks for a ticket for one of their shows. After sending emails for nigh onto two years, I finally got a reply from those who must not be named. It was a rejection, but, I was finally noticed! I was giddy staring at the tight tersely worded email, telling me nope, sorry try again. What joy! They actually wrote back! Heavenly! I was suddenly 11 years old, in seventh grade with a mad passionate crush, desperately trying to get the attention of my beloved. And after months of tripping, accidentally pushing, hair flicking etc., they noticed me! Whee! Maybe next year I’ll get a maybe!

Now I did something that very few journalists do before fashion week. I switched press affiliations and was stupid enough to tell everyone. My original plan was to register and cover Fashion Week for publication D (in every sense of the word) and also cover it for EDGE. I stupidly registered using just one publication name. Why I didn’t write down both publications, I don’t know. I can only blame hair dye. Yup, all those years of coloring my hair, and the dye finally seeped into my brain.

I won’t say why I left the other publication, except that they made my college newspaper look like it was The New York Times. Even though the college staff spent most of the time getting stoned in the darkroom, we were still more professional than the professionals.

Anyway, being the honest idiot that I am, I promptly sent out emails to all and sundry stating that I had switched teams. You know what it’s like when you come out; suddenly the invitations dry up or get revoked.

One group said that they were sorry they weren’t going to allow any online publications to cover the shows; this from an online organization! Another company who reps Yeohlee (doesn’t that sound like a cat in heat), told me that they had hoped to get press from publication D, and were now taking my seat back. I asked could I sit on the floor (I didn’t want to, really, but was having fun), they hemmed and hawed.

Other pr firms followed. “We’re sorry.” “We suddenly have limited space.” Yeah, like aliens have descended and are demanding front row. My favorite was from a pr person who was out there. She emailed me that she was revoking my seat. I love that phrase, it makes me think that they’re going to wait until I’m actually there, then pull my seat out from under me, and make me stand in a corner. Then she said I was going to Fashion Week under false pretenses. I replied that I wasn’t, I merely switched teams. That wasn’t good enough for her. For over an hour and a half, a weird email fight ensued. When I mentioned to someone at the organizing arm of Fashion Week what happened. They laughed knowingly. Ah the many powerful wack-jobs in this business. So, here’s my review.

Cynthia Rowley Fall 2006 Fashion Show- I’m sure she showed lots of clothes all pointed towards the petite bourgeoisie dressed up (poorly) I’m sure as cutting edge urbanity for the mall crowd. But, honestly I wouldn’t know, since the pr person refused my seat once she was informed that I was now writing for a different publication.

It wasn’t all bad. Many pr firms sent me back reassuring emails; I even got a nice phone call, “we love you anyway,” from Eric, a wonderful pr person. YAY Eric!

So what else have I done to gear up for Fashion Week? Have I studied the bios and past shows of the designers? Have I checked out the Euro collections? Have I paid more attention to world news? It’s been said that fashion emotionally reflects the times. Have I leafed through WWD, Vogue and all the other fashion bibles? Honey, please! I did what any self-respecting fashion journalist does before fashion week happens. I got my hair cut and colored. Lucas from Studio A in NYC is a god! Went over my wardrobe; Joan Crawford one day; bad public school boy the next, followed up by demented courtier for another day. I’ve been plucked, groomed, waxed, sugar scrubbed and exfoliated. I’ve lifted weights so I can carry my laptop for hours on end. I’ve even practiced hip-checking, and I haven’t played hockey for years.

I had better explain that last statement. When you go to a show, you have to wait online. This can be for hours. People get antsy. And it’s usually some polyester-wearing Midwest department store buyer who decides to walk on you, over you or through you. This past fall, I started using old hockey moves to keep people behind me in check. Waiting for one show, I was first in line; two women walked up to me and tried to physically push me back. Mind you, we HAVE seating assignments. Maybe they were over-caffeinated from free coffee? I pushed them back, looked ‘em in the eye and said, “We’re all waiting for the same thing, except I’m first. “ They moved.

You should see what happens with goodie bags! Not every show has one. Some are incredible. I’ve heard that at some shows, first rowers get airline tickets. This past fall, some woman had a laundry bag with her. She managed to be first to a dozen shows. She’d run in, would sweep around the room stuffing goodie bags into it, while security idly watched. This year, I’ve cleverly built deep pockets into all of my outfits. And I will be wearing low heels. You can cover a lot of ground in flats.

My only real fear for this upcoming Fashion Week is getting a standee spot at the big shows. When the shows are held in the main tent, they have stadium seating that is about as high as Mt. Rainier. If you’ve got standee, you must leap up those stairs mightily fast or you’ll lose a decent sightline. During one of my leaps this past fall, I almost broadsided Dr. Ruth. She had the misfortune to get up from her chair as I was making a matrix move. To prevent this from happening, I’ve been practicing leaping about the apartment a lot. The dog thinks it’s a cool new game. The roommate…..well, he’s become used to odd things. I’ve gotten him well-trained.

I think I’m ready for the big week. I just wish I could snag some body armor.

PJ Gach is a Contributing Writer for the Style Section of the EDGE group of publications. She’s a Manhattanite, a proud dog owner, gal about town and freelance writer. Some of the publications her pieces have appeared in are The New York Post, Rolling Stone (web & mag), Ingenue Magazine and Drill magazine. In her spare time, she rescues orphaned shoes.

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