High Style, High Stress: New York Fashion Week, Part 1

  It has come to my attention that this is my first Heather's Diary as the new Creative Director of DFW Style Daily. I wish I could say I planned this, because it really doesn't get any better than New York Fashion Week. But regardless of my luck, I'm bringing you something big and exciting this time around.  

  I landed at LaGuardia Airport on Saturday, September 7th, dropped my suitcase, and hit the ground running. Fashion Week was already underway, and I didn't want to miss another moment. There was no slowing down until I arrived back in Dallas (a day late following multiple flight delays) on Friday, September 13th.  

The scene outside DKNY


Backstage at Vivienne Tam


Alice + Olivia

  While I was compiling photos and memories for this Diary, I thought it prudent to go back and read my article about my first experience at New York Fashion Week. You can check it out here. My excitement is palpable, but I don't produce any useful information about the event itself. After talking with several people at NYFW on this recent visit, it's apparent to me that many don't understand the meaning behind the week. To clarify, the basics are easy. There are two predominant fashion seasons, Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. Fashion Weeks are hosted twice a year in the top fashion capitals of the world, including New York City, London, Milan, and Paris, leading with New York. The purpose of the events is to provide designers, brands, and fashion houses a platform to showcase their collections for the upcoming season to buyers and members of the press. The Fall/Winter collections are shown in New York in February, with Spring/Summer following in September. This allows plenty of time to arrange pulls for magazine spreads and to purchase pieces to make available for retail stores. Fashion Week also dictates nail, hair, and makeup trends.  

Fresh, clean faces ruled the runways.


Nude-on-nude half moon manicures were featured at Alice + Olivia.

    The first New York Fashion Week was held in 1943 during World War II. The French dominated the fashion world then, but under the circumstances, American workers in the industry were not able to travel to Paris. One American fashion publicist put together an event called "Press Week," which showcased American designers for journalists and editors who previously paid no attention to their work. During that initial week, 53 American designers showcased their collections in a single location. Today, nearly 250 designers present their collections during New York Fashion Week at locations all over the city.  

To help cut costs, many designers showcase in one central location at Lincoln Center.


Off-site shows are usually more exciting. Phillip Lim's included a runway of pebbles.

  Despite the clear history, it’s a fight sometimes to remember why we're all there. With the world's current obsession with street style and celebrities, NYFW can feel a bit like a Hollywood movie premier. The paparazzi frenzy around some people is unimaginable until you experience it first hand. I remember, for example, arriving at the famous Milk Studios for Jeremy Scott's presentation. It was nearly 95 degrees that day, and there was no air conditioning in the small gallery. Literally dripping with sweat, guests and press waited for an hour while celebrities were slowly ushered in. With each arrival - first the Hilton sisters, then rapper A$AP Rocky, and finally Nicki Minaj - the press went crazy, circling around the stars like vultures. They filled the runway, making it impossible to begin the show. This was a smaller crowd, and the chaos that ensues at the larger shows can be almost too much to handle.  

A little crowded at Jeremy Scott.


Naomi Campbell closed the show at DVF.


Diane von Furstenberg takes her final bow.

  During this five day trip, I spent one day at Fashion Week’s headquarters, Lincoln Center, and the next four days off-site. My schedule included 17 separate shows, and of those 17, I actually sat and watched a dozen. I cannot stress to you how much work it really is for almost everyone involved. There are the hair and makeup teams running from location to location, and the models who sometimes walk in multiple shows per day for all eight days straight. Then there are the buyers, editors, and reporters who aren't just watching the shows, they're shopping them and transcribing each exciting moment. Not to mention, the photographers who carry pounds of equipment in all weather conditions. Unless you're Paris Hilton, you're working your ass off at NYFW. I've never been so exhausted in my life. And it was totally worth it.  

The big names make it out to Rodarte.


And they're all smiles at Victoria Beckham.

  Today, I've brought you right to the streets of New York along with me, inside the hottest shows and backstage at Lincoln Center. Tomorrow, I'll bring you even more photos, and I’ll offer my own thoughts on whether or not the end of New York Fashion Week is drawing near, as some experts have hypothesized in recent weeks. Stay tuned.  

Seating at Vivienne Tam


Basic monochromatic styles were shown at Philosophy.


Wes Gordon's dramatic runway mood.


Drama, as well, on the streets.

    All photos, credit Heather Lettieri for DFW Style Daily.    

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