NEW YORK — Fashion Week, thanks for rejecting me on Valentine’s Day.
My trip to New York Fashion Week seemed perfect. It was the day for love and a blue-skied Sunday. Even with the light dusting of snow in Bryant Park, it was warm enough for me to wear a pair of little navy shorts with polka-dotted tights and my lace-up leather boots. It’s my favorite outfit. I felt damn good.
I took a few laps of the park with my friend, enjoying the sunshine and good-looking people. Near the backstage entrance to the Salon, model Georgina Stojilkovic strutted by us before a photographer stopped her for a picture. She posed obligingly, trademark lips curved into a smile and disappeared through the door. This was definitely a good omen.
While waiting at the tents, three or four security guys in suits presided over the fashion groupies, tourists and photographers clustered around the railing. Well-dressed men and women flashed security their invitations before disappearing into the tent’s dark interior.
I clutched a copy of the e-mail Rebecca Taylor’s PR people sent me and prayed this was enough of an invitation to get me into the tent. At this point, I was good: I was on “the list.” Slipping through the rope, I walked up the steps and approached a security guard who most resembled Santa Claus.
“Rebecca Taylor?” I said.
“In and to the right,” he replied.
I was vaguely disappointed. That seemed far too easy, particularly since I’m exactly the kind of fashion-crazed college kid who would try to sneak into a show. Oh well. Fortified by this success, I entered the tent ready to take on the whole fashion world.
The tent looked like the world’s coolest airport, with little promotional shops set up along the walls. But my destination lay beyond another line of security. Carpeted steps led up to the Promenade and the Salon, where the Rebecca Taylor show was to take place in fifteen minutes.
I located a PR girl with a clipboard. Last name, first name, standing room, check. She pointed to a table. Same deal. I was handed a white index card — meaning I didn’t have an actual seat but had a standing spot in the tent — and shuffled into line.
I was feeling optimistic and happily whiled away twenty minutes checking out the scene. It was much quieter than expected, and rather than harried, the people waiting in line with me just looked bored. One checked her cell phone with intensely metallic silver nails; I made a mental note to look into this.
Even better than the women’s outfits were the men’s. The constant parade of polished, on-trend fashionistas led to a weird kind of sartorial desensitization. It was only when a tech guy carrying a large tripod and camera walked by that I perked up. The cut of his jeans and his presence in the tent indicated an obvious interest in fashion, but his fingerless gloves, sneakers and knit cap were just schlubby enough to look real — infinitely less studied than his female counterparts. After a second scrubber, a photographer, walked by, I was pretty sure I was on to something.
After deciding that I should work for GQ, I checked my cell phone. Hmm. We’d been there for half an hour. I sent some texts, fiddled with my index card, glossed my lips.
Finally, the line started moving. Fashionistas are a pushy lot, but it wasn’t long before traffic came to a halt again.
Then, to everyone’s horror, a man dressed in a suit addressed the group:
“There’s no more room in the tent. Nobody’s getting in.”
And just like that, my perfect day at fashion week came to a screeching halt. Swell. As we spilled out of the roped-off area, hisses of displeasure filled the air. I hung around for a few more minutes, but headed for the exit. As I stepped into the fresh air, I’m sure it looked like I’d just seen something fabulous. Some randos snapped my picture, assuming I had any level of influence in this world. Damn the irony.