What Tommy Taught Me: Fashion Week Through The Eyes Of A First Timer

When Styleite fashion news editor Justin Fenner — who accompanied me to/held my hand through Tommy Hilfiger’s Fall 2012 Collection event at the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue last night — asked me what I thought of the show, apparently all I said was that I “kinda liked” it. I have an excuse for being a little dead-brained, though: I’d never been to one of these before. You see, normally I work over on Styleite’s sister site SportsGrid, and my knowledge of the fashion world consists mainly of what Styleite people tell me.

Yesterday, though, after a tough day of writing about how one guy on the Chicago Bulls looked like he had spray-on hair, I departed for the Tommy show, and now, my fashion knowledge consists of “things Styleite people tell me plus one fashion show.” And maybe some of you reading this haven’t been to any fashion shows and don’t know much about how they operate either. Here, then, is a list of what I learned.

1. Fashion shows are over fast. Not 90 minutes after the show officially started, not only was it long over, not only had Justin and I long left the Armory that sits between 66th and 67th Streets in Manhattan, but I was already back at my apartment. My apartment is in New Jersey. There is a 15-minute walk to my apartment once I get off the train in New Jersey. My point: the show itself is extremely short. And based on what Justin (who, again, has been to more than one of these things) said afterward, that’s how it usually goes. If you ever go to one of these things yourself, don’t expect it to take up your whole night. Which brings up a sub-point…

1a. You will need to kill a lot of time before the show begins. This is important because you will inevitably be there for a longer time before things get started than you will be after. My time-killing method of choice: flipping through Daily Front Row, the magazine being distributed (for free!) to people as they walked in. A couple things stood out. One, the cover had a small section that said: “Collect & Discuss,” which was interesting in that it was a magazine giving readers instructions on what to do with it. Second: in an interview with New Yorker publisher Lisa Hughes, the magazine asked why she got into publishing. Her response was strange:

“It’s sort of a dumb reason: I loved to read books and magazines.”

That is basically the best possible reason to get into publishing. Third: Martha Stewart Living editor-in-chief Pilar Guzman was described as an “editrix.” This, of course, is an actual term for a female editor, but still, doesn’t “editrix” bring to mind this hypothetical back-and-forth?

Trix cereal editor: So this box of Trix here, just checking — is it for kids?

Trix cereal quality control personnel: Yes. Every box of Trix is for kids. Why do you keep asking me that for every box? You have to know the answer’s always going to be yes by now.

Trix cereal editor: Hey, just doing my job here.

[Repeat for every box of Trix, ever.]

2. This particular fashion show, at least, did a good job of figuratively lulling you to sleep before it got underway. This was mostly due to the dimmed lights and Simon & Garfunkel-heavy background music. For a while before the show, unsure of what to do, I wondered: do I get up and wander around more? Do I join Justin, who’s actually trying to… do things? And then…

Ceciiiiiiiiiiilia/You’re breakin’ my heart/You’re shakin’ my confidence daiiily…

…At which point you almost instantaneously become content to sit there and sing along. And also sing along hours later, while you type up a recap of your experience at the show.

3. Again, I can’t speak for other fashion shows, but this one had a very forthright way of letting you know when it was starting. The start was about as subtle as, say… a terrifyingly apocalyptic orchestral arrangement of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” In fact, it was exactly as subtle… because that is literally what happened. With this blaring in the background, the models seemed about as likely to film a battle scene in a war movie as they were to walk down the runway.

NEXT: A beginner’s sad attempt at fashion photography, plus a few notes from the actual show.

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