**Note- Most of this post was written back in February when we actually went to Fashion Week. It just took me this long to get the pictures together and actually post it. Sorry!!
Fashion Week. This was the title of an email I received a while back from my hubby. Having no idea what he could possibly be emailing me about fashion week, I opened the email to find out that he had won tickets to the Isaac Mizrahi fashion show in New York. I about died. I’m pretty sure I’ve always wanted to go to a fashion show (I mean ALWAYS…I used to practice my runway walk in our kitchen for any poor sucker I could get to pay attention!) and of course all the episodes of Sex & The City made the fashion world seem even more exciting and frankly less accessible for a Mommy like me. Apparently, Starwood Hotels ran a promotion on Facebook for its fans that the first two people to email a certain address won 2 tickets to the show and passes to the W Lounge backstage. Travis had absolutely no interest in the whole thing, so I ended up taking my friend Marcy along.
As soon as I had the tickets I started thinking of people who would want to go to NYC with me. Of course my first thought was that I’d head up to NJ and Shalan and I would go. Shally had other plans, so it was on to my DC area Mommy friends. I threw it out to some of my friends at a playgroup one afternoon and before I could finish my sentence Marcy raised her hand with a resounding “I’m in!” Marcy is probably the last friend that I would ever think would want to go to Fashion Week. She’s a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal and just not someone who is generally into celebrity gossip it would seem. However, she is one of my best friends and I knew we would have a blast. My one requirement for the trip though was to go shopping with me beforehand to buy a fun, Fashion Week worthy outfit.
The weekend before our trip we met Marcy and her family at Fair Oaks Mall. Travis and Vince took are cumulative four children to the play area and Marcy and I went shopping. Three and half hours and several stores later, Marcy and I had the majority of our outfits put together. The guys had managed the kids through the play area, lunch, a very large Chinese New Year program, ice cream and back to the play area. We were two extremely happy Mamas with two very tired husbands! The next day Trav and I took the boys out to the Leesburg Outlets and picked up the finishing touches to my ensemble.
The whole week before we left, Travis worked vigorously to put the trip to NYC together for me and Marcy. At the last minute he was able to get us a room for a great price at the Hotel Roger Williams and dinner reservations at Nobu Next Door. We took the train up on Wednesday night of Fashion Week, got in around 9:45pm, checked into our awesome hotel room and headed out for dinner. First off, our room was so great for New York. When I think of NYC hotels, I always think super tiny, dark and sometimes really dingey. This could not have been better. The room was super small but it felt huge. The color scheme was bright and airy and there were back-lit Japanese screens for window coverings. When you walked in the room it felt like the middle of a sunny afternoon. And we even had a view of the top of the Empire State Building. It was extended Restaurant Week, so we were able to have the Restaurant Week Special for dinner. I had an amazing Yellowtail Tartar, Sushi and a bento box dessert. We met one of Marcy’s friends for dinner and had a great time. The fashion show was Thursday at Noon, so after sleeping in a little (I made it until 7:45am!) we got breakfast. Travis had of course done a bunch of research and found Penelope that he suggested we try for breakfast. Knowing that you can never go wrong with Trav’s travel tips and suggestions, we walked a few blocks to Penelope and enjoyed the best breakfast. The cafe is quaint and on the smallish side, but not cramped. It has a homey yet upscale atmosphere. I kept feeling like I was in some old, small, Southern town. The service was excellent and I think it was my favorite meal. Definitely a gem that I can’t wait to take Travis back to. After breakfast we headed back to the hotel and got ready.
Going to a fashion show is a bit intimidating for a couple of Mama’s whose main social activities include meeting up with other Mamas for coffee and hitting the occasional Smithsonian with our kids. We found what we hoped were the perfect outfits. I wore a BCBG grey silk blouse, black leggings, grey suede boots & a big chunky necklace & bracelet. Marcy wore the most amazing black dress with black boots. She looked so beautiful! It turned out that we dressed completely appropriately. The fashion show attire ran the gamut from completely ridiculous to jeans and a t-shirt. Most people were somewhere in the middle and wore what seemed to be classic but trendy. I’m sure we put way more effort into our outfits than the average joe, but I think we appeared as if we knew what we were doing.
We had tickets to the Isaac Mizrahi show at Noon. We had been advised by a friend of a friend, that since we had access to the tents, we may want to arrive early. We grabbed a cab to Bryant Park and tried to get the lay of the land. We quickly figured out that even though we had tickets, we had to wait a little while before we’d actually get into the tent. We scoped out some crazy outfits, took a few pictures of the tents from the outside and hoofed it to Times Square for the obligatory NYC tourist pictures. No matter how many times you have been to New York, Times Square is always a fun sight to see. When we got back to Bryant Park we only had to wait a few minutes to get into the tents. Once we got into the tent we had to figure out what to do. We had a cell phone number that we were told to call when we got inside and that the person would come get us. There was a lot of confusion but eventually we figured out that we had to be escorted to our seats.
It was really hard to imagine what the tents would be like, so we really had no expectations. The tent had a pretty basic layout. When you walked in you were immediately greeted by an information booth, but they really weren’t much help. The booth was staffed primarily by what seemed to be interns. The tent itself was set up as a large circle. Beyond the info booth in the center of the tent was a large round display. On either side of the display was a table with check-in lists. Around the perimeter were little booths set up convention style. One was sunglasses, another jewelry, and one that had a chocolate fountain at the back of the booth (remember this chocolate fountain, it’ll be the source for my favorite event of our entire trip!). Beyond the two check-in tables were the entrances to the different tents where the runways were located.
We eventually figured out that we were going to be escorted to our seats shortly before the start of the show. Several of us with complimentary tickets from sponsors of the show huddled around the info booth until finally we were all escorted to our seats in small groups. We still had no idea where we were sitting, but it seemed pretty apparent that we had good tickets. When we finally got taken back, we realized that we had GREAT seats. The runway is what you would picture except that it wasn’t raised, it was ground level. We walked in at the corner that would be the end of the runway. There was stadium style seating going the length of the runway on either side. At the opposite corner from where we entered there was a band. I wasn’t expecting live music and I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be the kind of music it was. I guess I was expecting techno not a hip version of a string band. At the end of the runway there was an entire section also set up stadium style filled with cameras and cameramen. I have never seen so many cameras in my life. It was crazy! The corner section next to the cameras was elevated more than the seating on the side and was completely enclosed. This is where we were seated. We ended up being a couple of rows up, right in the corner and with the best view of the runway. The only seats that would potentially be better is first row, center runway. Our seats were perfect. I expected that the show would be large, but really it was pretty small. I’m bad at estimating crowds but there were probably 15 or 20 rows on the sides that ran the length of the runway and our section which was maybe 8 rows high and 10 people across. There were not that many people there.
Once they dimmed the lights, the music got a little louder and the show just started. The girls walked out one at a time, the length of the runway, paused at the end turned and walked back. The next girl came out and did the same. There were a few things that struck me about the show itself. First off, the collection was beautiful. The nice thing about Isaac Mizrahi is that his lines are actually pretty normal. Sure, there were some wild dresses but by in large his collection was things that you could imagine yourself or a friend actually wearing to a formal dinner or party. Secondly, all the models walked at a different pace and with their own style. Some were pretty fast, others seemed slow. I always imagined that it would be so choreographed that all the models would be as close to identical in gait, that they would be indistinguishable. Not the case at all. The last thing that I noticed about the models was the large variability in body type. Of course, they were all fairly tall and thin but they were far from waifish. There was one girl who stumbled a bit and I definitely thought “Oh god, don’t fall ’cause you’ll break!” She was one of those models you wanted to force feed ’cause she could have blown away. There was one other girl who was on the borderline of that look. However, most girls didn’t look too skinny. AND, there were multiple girls who were very average looking in size. They had curves and looked tall but normal. I really liked that. It added to the feeling that these clothes not only looked like something my friends and I could wear but were shaped in a way that all of us average girls could pull it off. The MOST striking part of the entire show though was not the fashions or the models, it was the sounds of the show. When the show started you immediately noticed the flashes of the cameras and the number of cameramen videoing the show. But 30 seconds after the show started, Marcy and I looked at each other wondering what that sound was. Simultaneously we realized it was the clicking of all the cameras next to us. It was so loud and distinct that we were trying to take pictures of it. It really is the thing that stands out the most from the show. It was so LOUD and so cool to think that there were literally thousands of pictures being taken right next to us, any of which could appear in magazines around the world. I will never forget that sound. The show itself was pretty short. We had no idea how long it would last. The last girl came out, then all the girls came out one right after the other and lastly Isaac Mizrahi came out. He was flamboyant and giddy. He waved, he bowed, he disappeared. That was it. The whole thing lasted maybe 10 minutes.
Part of our tickets was a pass to the W lounge “backstage”. We found the lounge which was just in a hallway between different runway tents. The girls at the door kind of gave a hard time but we dropped our contact’s name and we got in fine. It was a tiny little room with a bar, seating around the perimeter, and a few televisions. We figured out that the lounge was a place for people affiliated with W to go to throughout fashion week in between shows or when they had down time. There was WiFi, food& drink and Bliss sponsored hand massages with a small gift bag. We got a drink, had a few cupcakes, surveyed the free stuff and patiently waited our turn for a hand massage. The televisions were playing the runway show we had just seen. It was pretty amazing because the production quality was high. We watched a show that had ended not 10 minutes earlier and it was clearly edited and perfect. That is some fast work! We hung out in the lounge for a while and then we made our way back to the main tent.
We wanted to take more pictures of the main tent and people watch. There were some very interesting outfits and it was fun just to watch how would be designers pawed for the opportunity to get on camera or just to get noticed at all. We saw some of our favorite outfits while we were walking around after the show. The highlights were a person that from the back we assumed was a man with mohawk, wearing skinny jeans and heels. When we saw their face, it was one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. She was one of those people with a soft, quiet yet commanding presence. I don’t know what her designs are, but if her natural charisma speaks anything to her ability, she will go far in fashion! Another standout was a fairly young guy with a huge ’80’s style headband complete with gigantic bow. We saw a guy carrying the LARGEST purse I’ve ever seen. The picture really doesn’t do it justice! There were just so many great outfits to spy.
So the best part of the whole morning was after we left the lounge and entered back into the main tent, we went through some of the booths. One booth had a chocolate fountain in the back with pretzel rods and some other sweet treat on a stick that escapes my memory. This was of course a popular spot. There was a pretty long line for the chocolate fountain, but we had nothing but time so we waited. We are standing in line visiting, people watching and then it happened. This woman with credentials for the show, wearing jeans and a t-shirt pushes her way the front of the fountain. We were chatting so we sort of saw her but weren’t watching. It was one of those moments where you think to yourself, “Did she just cut the line?”. We are a couple of people from the front and decide we want the pretzel rods because the line is shorter and they look so yummy. The woman is still at the front with the fountain and it has been a while. Then I’m thinking, “I swear she just double dipped!”. But no, no one would double dip at a fountain, right? Marcy must have noticed at the same time because we sort of nudged each other and really started to pay attention. The woman was UNBELIEVABLE. She stood there dipping a pretzel rod, really smothering it, then ate down the chocolate, re-dipped it, a down further, re-dipped it and finished it off licking her fingers. She grabbed another rod and repeated. She must have done this 3 times while we were paying attention. She was stuffing her face, chocolate dripping and double dipping like mad! When she was finally done and with a mouthful of pretzel, chocolate everywhere she mumbled something like “Mmmmm, those are so good” and walked away. Marcy and I were dumbfounded. We were trying to control our laughter and just in awe. The poor girl working the fountain apologized to us and said something like “Some people just have no manners!”. The whole thing was unbelievable! I mean I really can’t describe the whole experience. I will never forget the woman’s dipping and crunching and licking and re-dipping. UNBELIEVABLE!
When we had our fill of the main tent we just headed back out into the city. We grabbed a quick slice of pizza at a dive and headed out to shop. We hit Anthropologie, FAO Schwarz and got coffee and cupcakes at a cupcakery. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to our hotel. We had checked our bags at the front desk, so we grabbed them and did the not so quick change in the hotel bathroom. It was a one holer, so I think we monopolized the bathroom for a good 15 minutes! We had never been able to take a good picture of Marcy’s dress, so the bathroom served as our makeshift photo shoot. Then we made our way back to Penn Station and caught the train home. It was a great 24 hours in New York. It was quick and long and perfect. I could get used to quick Mommy getaways. And I think it reminded Marcy and I that we need to do more of those quick getaways with our husbands.
Fashion Week was amazing for us. We had no expectations and it was truly a dream come true. Thanks Travis for planning yet another of my Girls Getaways…and thank you Marcy for the best Fashion Week trip I could imagine!