Instead of bombarding you with images that are already splattered across the virtual highway I thought I’d introduce you to my version of a fashion week round up; may I present you with ‘A 12 Step Guide to (Surviving) The Shows’ (this applies to NYC, London, Milan and Paris).
1) The Fashion Stop-And-Chat
It should last exactly one minute and not a second longer; ideally you should have a Blackberry/iPhone in one hand and an inordinately large designer handbag dangling from the other whilst clutching a coffee/bottle of water and show tickets firmly in your manicured fingers. This we shall call the Fashion Balance. Begin with a rather high-pitched "Hi, how are you?" as if it is a really big surprise that you have bumped into a fashion editor/stylist/assistant/writer/blogger at a fashion show during fashion week. Wait for her/gay him to ask how you are, reply quickly with the obligatory "Really well thanks, sooo busy" and go straight into the compliment "I love your bag/shoes/hair/top". Wait for the thanks, smile and finish with "We must catch up properly after the shows" and go. Exit. Vamoush.
2) The Twelve Year Old With A Clipboard
When one is accosted by The Twelve Year Old With A Clipboard one must adopt a soft yet firm tone, one that says 'I respect you and your Rymann bit of stationary but don't mess with me I am important'.
3) The Fashion Text/Tweet
Adopt a quasi Californian tone and a general air of nonchalance at all times. Nothing is merely bad, it's 'an absolute nightMARE'. If you think something is amazing it's 'amazoid'; obviously is 'obvs' and if you feel ambivalent it's 'blaaahhh'. Wine is ‘vino’ and you really cannot use enough exclamation marks!!!! The front row is referred to as frow and it is preferable to end your message with #LFW or *pulls her hair out*. Name drop/engage others as much as you can using the @insert_name_of_another_fashoinista function. You can switch to an upper class gushing tone if arranging to meet someone: "sooo looking forward to seeing you darling, can't wait for a proper catch-up, it will be sooo nice" etc.
4) The Folleague (or Foll for short)
The Folleague (fashion/colleague) is not to be confused with Froleague (friend/colleague). It is someone you either work with or used to work with or just know vaguely in some sort of nebulous fashion/work capacity. Do not confuse this person with someone who is actually your friend. You must limit your interaction to a smile, nod or refer to point no. 1. Do not expect The Folleague to ever return your call/email/text/tweet/facebook message. It is a relationship based on a weak grimace/smile twice a year at The Shows. If there is no-one else to talk to The Folleague may decide to use you as her Fashion Decoy until someone more useful/appropriate/higher-up/better dressed comes along. Do not expect an introduction to this new person. Instead be prepared to be dropped faster than a Primark paper bag. Move on.
There is also the Folleague that you sat next to/assisted/interned for (yes, even if you were her PA for 4 years) doesn’t ever say hello or acknowledge you. If that Folleague ever does say hello you must employ Point 1, The Fashion-Stop-And-Chat immediately. And then Move On.
5) The Door Man With A God Complex.
Easily identifiable, The Door Man With A God Complex will have a standard issue dark suit on and will most likely be heard shouting into his walkie-talkie: “I got a lady here say she is called Marie Claire who wants to come in”. Do not loose patience or raise your voice with him, it will not help. Simply go and find The Twelve Year Old With A Clipboard and refer to Point 2.
6) The Holy Trinity
No, I am not referring to MacGibbon, Philo and McCartney (and if you don’t know who they are FORGET IT, do not step foot anywhere near The Shows), I mean Scott Schuman, Garance Dore and Tommy Ton. You should be acutely aware of what they look like and their blogs, and under no circumstances must you hover anywhere near them. If they want to take your photo they will, do not peacock around them. It is, of course, a Very Big Deal if you appear on any of their sites but must act completely nonchalant if anyone compliments you on it. Do not make the photo your Facebook profile.
7) Your Look
Hoik it up about ten notches. As a general rule ask yourself three questions:
1) Would you get stopped by The Sartorialist?
2) If you got stuck in a lift with Emmanuelle Alt would she be impressed?
3) Would you go to Sainsbury’s in your look (if the answer is yes change immediately, unless you do your Sainsburys shop in Balenciaga and vertiginous heels, in which case I salute you and proceed).
8) The Goody Bag
Unless you are in the frow, it is unlikely that you will get a Goody Bag. If you do get one make sure it is just the ONE and under no circumstances must you ever grab-bag or neighbour-pinch. Definite no nos (unless it’s those mini bottles of Champagne in which case what are you waiting for, grab them!)
9) Your Seat
Ideally you want to be in the first three rows. Do not even think about upgrading yourself to the frow, the general rule is, if you can jump up one row. If the seats are labeled with numbers – or indeed names - tread very carefully, if a ticket merely allocates a block and a row you are on safer ground. Timing is everything. Sit and act like you belong, wipe that look of terror off your face and make busy (tweet/email/look at your fashion schedule just do not look panicked – PRs can smell and spot an up-grader a mile off).
10) During A Show
Act composed and interested. A notebook and pen would be advisable and an iPhone/Blackberry to take pictures and upload to your Twitter account immediately is also a must. You can also have a small camera as you may like to put some of the pictures on your blog. Do not take a call during a show (texting is also frowned upon but Tweeting is not). Do not wear sunglasses, you are not Anna Wintour and do not bob your head up and down to the music (not cool).
11) The Stranger Who Knows You
“OMG, it’s been ages, when was the last time I saw you?” is a good line to glean information out of The Stranger Who Knows You and will hopefully give you enough clues to figure out who she/gay he is. Smile inanely and talk about the present, ‘such a beautiful show’ etc. If you can introduce them to someone else with the hope that they will say their name or enquire if they are on facebook/twitter so you can be virtual friends (and find out her/gay his name). 3 minutes is an acceptable amount of time to chitter-chatter with TSWKY. And move on (vowing to stay in touch/catch up/do a ‘glass’ of lunch etc etc).
If you can, avoid the Fashion Bus; if you can, blag yourself a car with a driver; if you can get a black cab (or ‘black bus’ to use fashion parlance). If you can’t, team up with someone who can.
And there you go, my round up of the shows. Hope you enjoy, learn and employ.