I Went To Fashion Week

This is not food-related, but John Kessler–the former food critic at the Atlanta Journal Constitution (and the one who profiled my site in June 2004)–invited me to join him at New York’s Fashion Week on Wednesday because he’s doing a fashion week feature in the AJC and wanted me to be his professional celebrity spotter.

John knows that my parents are celebrity hounds and that, trained in the art, I might be able to assist him. Sadly, I hardly lived up to my reputation: I only spotted one celebrity, after John spotted the celebrity he was with: and these are celebrities that would thrill the world’s theater geek population but not the People magazine lovers. [Scroll to the last picture to see who we spotted.]

But I had lots of fun with John at fashion week. We met at his hotel and walked up to Bryant Park. To quote John’s first article:

“Bryant Park, the French Classical green space next to the New York Public Library, has witnessed the retreat of George Washington’s army, housed the spectacular Crystal Palace Exhibition of the 1854 World’s Fair and served as staging ground for Civil War recruits. It harbored drug dealers in the ’70s, turned around in the ’80s, and is now a primo spot to loll on the grass and eat hot dogs.

Well, not right now. Right now Bryant Park is a series of interconnected tents thronging with attendees of New York’s biannual Fashion Week. It is a scrum of loud people who are there to pose, gawk, pass out free junk, scarf up free junk, hang on and shake off.”

Yes. And those tents are really awesome: frightening, almost. You walk in and a rush of cold air overwhelms you: how can they get tents so cool? It’s all very futuristic.

Our first stop was the Monique Lhuillier show. She, apparently, designed Brittney Spears’s wedding dress. I kept my eyes peeled for Britney but she was too busy giving birth. Here’s what the crowd looked like in the tent:

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Watching these people was a treat in itself. Lots of eccentrics: women with coiffed hair and funky glasses and loud outfits or subtle outfits and sophisticated hair—every combination. One woman looked like Murphy Brown’s character on “Sex and the City.” Maybe this was the woman she’s based on?

When the show started, the lights dimmed and clubby music grew loud. Models with blank expressions on their faces walked the catwalk.

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Seriously, I thought there were 3 or 4 models because they all looked so similar and at the end when they all came out to bow (and the show only lasted 15 minutes, which surprised me) there were almost 15 of them. I told John it was like “Attack of the Clones.”

The fashion itself left me a little cold but I’m not much of a fashion person. My mom went to fashion school and I think she’d have appreciated it more. I just enjoyed the theatricality of the experience.

After the show ended, I scouted for celebs to no avail. Some woman in the front row was getting lots of attention but I didn’t recognize her. “Sorry John,” I apologized and he was totally fine with it. I think he thought these shows would more star-studded than they were.

Then we took a break in the “lobby” and I cracked up when I saw the snack stand:

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It was like a parody of what you’d expect a fashion show snack stand to look like. Can you see what it is? Atkins advantage bars. Stacks of them. John got one because he was hungry but I couldn’t brave it.

After that, we went to the last show I could go to before class (this was the first day of my masters thesis class): the Bill Blass show. I’d heard of Bill Blass so I was a tiny bit more excited. Walking in–and this was in the larger tent–I studied the chairs which had name cards on them. It was like the cast list of “Pillars of Society”: Ivana Trump, Rene Flemming, Kitty Carlyle-Hart. Sadly, “The Amateur Gourmet” was not printed on my chair.

Sitting down near the front of the “stage,” John spotted the first celeb and I spotted who she was with. Can you tell who they are?

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[Don’t cheat.]

Ok, time’s up: Bernadette Peters and Joel Grey. John spotted Bernadette, I spotted Joel. That was my contribution to the day: spotting Joel Grey. Mr. Cabaret and father of Jennifer “Dirty Dancing.” John patted me on the back: “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”

Thanks John for taking me to fashion week! It was fun.

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