An invitation to a runway show is one thing. Your seat assignment (or lack of one) poses an entirely different social conundrum. There are, allegedly, codes and bylaws, unwritten and unspoken, that determine seating assignments at top shows. Industry insiders believe in a secret principle where oneâ€™s station in the realm of retail is determined by oneâ€™s seating at the Marc Jacobs show. Seating at Carolina Herrera ranks socialites; her best customers are not only invited but seated well. Imitation of Christ, Zac Posen, and Heatherette all target stars and pepper their rows accordingly. And then thereâ€™s Calvin Klein, a New York Fashion Week tradition. Whether or not the jet-setters still don his clothing regularly, itâ€™s a must-attend event. His show is attended by starlets, fellow designers, Park Ave.â€™s elite, and industry mavens.
Iâ€™m fully cognizant that someone would have to accidentally leave their Calvin invite in the porta-potty for me to discover if I wanted to gain entry to that show. But the influx of celebrities has altered the pecking order. The traditionalist freak but the new generation of PYTâ€™s with expendable trust funds donâ€™t fret over seating. Their minds are already on the champagne and after-party elbow rubbing not Calvinâ€™s latest hem stitch. There were times where it felt oppressed and a bit lonely down on the bottom rung of the fashion caste system. But the reality is many inside the tents are just happy to be in, a sentiment I heard and expressed often while hanging out and grabbing freebies because I wasnâ€™t headed into Oscar or Proenza Schouler. At least I wasnâ€™t one of the suckers standing on the other side of the looking glass barred by suit clad security guards from entry into the magical wonderland of the white tents.
The view from inside the infamous tents in Bryant Park:
1. Early morning inside the lobby, when they hand out Atkin’s shakes from the bar (the booze comes in around 11 AM).
2. Midday, straglers gather around the flatscreens where you can watch the shows live.
3. This is right after Zac Posen started (finally). Those of us left out in the lobby-
4. weren’t nearly as unlucky as the folks clamoring to get in or even a glimpse of what was happening inside.