This last week I had the pleasure of going to see The Tents at Bethesda Row Cinema with my most fashionable friend Rosa from Rosa Loves DC. The movie documents the birth of New York Fashion Week as most of the general public knows it, in tents at Bryant Park beginning in 1993. (The shows moved to Lincoln Center in 2010).
Ok now the rest of this post is going to make me sound REALLY OLD.
The movie made me nostalgic for the genuine, glory days of the fashion week of my early years, before it turned into one big marketing machine to be broadcast instantaneously across the internet. Can you believe that the only way one used to be able to see the shows “immediately” was to watch the TV screens outside the shows or read Women’s Wear Daily THE NEXT DAY? Watching the movie, I was so taken back to 1994 I swear I could SMELL the tents. You would walk up the steps of the main tent, show your PAPER TICKET at the door, and then feel like you were entering a secret fashion club as you were nodded past the front door. The AIR was different and special in there. It was magical.
You never knew who you would see. Never mind Hollywood Celebrities, they weren’t interested in Fashion Week yet. The real thrills were to be had in spotting the Fashion Celebrities. The ultimate sighting was Anna Wintour, the Editor of Vogue. My point is, there was in inside world and an outside world. The greater public didn’t know or care about our insular, weird fashion world with all of it’s drama and personalities.
My one disappointment with The Tents is the lack of footage from those early days. The movie mentions, but doesn’t show video, from the shows EVERYONE wanted to get into in those early seasons. Remember Todd Oldham, Anna Sui or Isaac Mizrahi before his uber documentary, Unzipped? I didn’t think so. That was all pre-commercialization. The excitement and the energy of those shows, a few of which I was lucky enough to attend, is something I’ll never forget. Every cell in my body was screaming, “This is where you FINALLY belong, in NYC with all of the other weird fashion people!” The clothes were interesting, Cindy Crawford and Shalom Harlow were on the runway, and all of downtown NY was in the audience.
The past few months, amongst a rash of new clients, as well as a chance to help my sister create an Intentional Wardrobe for her new job, I have been reminded of why I went into personal styling as opposed to the glamour and excitement of the fashion magazines and shows. I love helping REAL PEOPLE! Besides, the shows just aren’t the same any more. I hear Paris fashion week is still the real deal. Maybe I’ll get the chance to go one day!