Last week Auckland played host (and I played media-delegate) to New Zealand Fashion Week, and now that I’ve had a proper sleep and a chance to reacquaint myself with my fiance, I came to a funny realisation.
Fashion Week is like one long Wedding!
The Party! As you know, Weddings are pretty much just the best party the hosts will ever throw. Fashion Week, too, has an infectious, exciting and exhilarating atmosphere: running between shows; oohing and ahhhing over the beautiful models and risqué designs; rubbing shoulders with fashion’s elite and making friends (week-long if not life-long!); keeping your technological devices charged and social media updated; and simply getting crazy-excited by the hectic-awesomeness that is a fashion show.
The Exclusivity: If you’re organising your own wedding and have read over the guest list more times than you’ve admired your shiny new rock, keep in mind the job PR companies have in the weeks leading up to the shows! Its the PRs’ job to decide who’s invited (often without ever having met these potential guests), including the perfect mix of ‘seen and be seen’ Celebs; Media-delegates to report and blog about the shows; Buyers; Industry superstars; etc. Just like a wedding, there’s never enough seats to invite everyone, so what you end up with is an exclusive group of invitees (and then hope they can make it!). I’m not going to lie, being “on the list” feels pretty good.
You turn up knowing no one but you are all friends at the end: attending Fashion Week as a media delegate doesn’t lend it self to bringing a plus one for the most part! While I am friends with many other bloggers and media, the nature of Fashion Week (it’s not being open to the public) means that often you arrive alone and wait in anticipation to see who else might turn up and talk to you. This is good practice for weddings too, at which often we don’t know at least half the guests (often even families don’t know each other well!) but with enough food, wine and fun, will all leave following each other’s Instagrams and with plenty of selfies to remember the event.
There’s a lot of sitting around and waiting: In the hours of prep that goes into a wedding day or a fashion-show, they don’t always run to time (sometimes it feels like the designers just want to assert their importance over the 800 waiting guests), so ensure to have eaten a good breakfast and be prepared to wait! While you don’t people to question whether the event is ever going to start (whether that’s the bride arriving or the runway opening) the something about fashion week and weddings which leaves people sitting around and waiting for much of the day.
You won’t be the best dressed: While I wore some beautiful clothes this week, the truth is that my dressing impeccably is not looking to compete with professional stylists and international bloggers whose sole job it is is to turn-up turned-out.
Of course you’re going to want to dress really well, but it’s not worth pretending you’re someone you’re not, or blowing half your salary on wearing the designer’s last collection head-to-toe in the hope of being snapped for “street-style”. Rock your own style, wear your favourite clothes (you’ll be happier comfortable than in couture!) and unless you have a celebrity clothing budget, save your money for a couple of the best runway pieces after Fashion Week. The same goes for weddings: wear something nice, but don’t feel the need to treat it like a fashion show either! It’s easy to get caught up in a competition for best-dressed at a wedding or fashion week, but it’s better to put aside our own arrogance and realise that the bride and models will always be better dressed than you, and so they should be!
Hours of preparation and getting ready: Again, we know we’re not the attraction, and may not be photographed at all, but there’s something about the extravaganza of fashion-styling and beauty that is both a wedding and fashion week which makes us feel we must look the part! Dress smartly to show your respect for the event, the bride or the designer, but the necessity to have professional hair and make-up done (which many guests do in both scenarios) is a questionable one!
No matter how snap happy you are, or Instagram filters you apply your photos never look as good as the professionals: it’s funny really, instead of focusing on the beautiful bride or runway creations, we can’t help but seek a piece of the action on our own phones! It’s doesn’t seem to matter that we know there are professionals whose sole purpose there is to capture the moment, we need to also feel like we’re taking part of the show home. Much like fashion show, at a wedding this can be to the detriment of the professional photographs, or to the experience of other guests. The etiquette is clearly in both situations to, if you must take photos at all, do so in as unobtrusive way as possible, being sure not to block the view of the person behind you with your iPhone (please no iPads!!) screen, or lean into the aisle to get the perfect photo, so that the back of your head doesn’t become the feature of the Pros’ shots. My advice though, put the phone down, be in the moment and take it in.
The hierarchy: if you have ever been to a wedding and been made to set at the kids’ table or tucked away in the corner with the aunts and uncles nobody wanted to invite, you’ve had a taste of fashion week already. Even more so than the exclusivity of the invitations, the seating hierarchy defines the fashion royalty from the ‘working class’. Put simply, if you are sitting front row, you either know the right people, or the right people really like you.
Free food and drink: Fashion Week Events and Goodie-bags galore (each with at least one energy drink or sparkling juice, and hopefully a chocolate bar), I saved enough on lunches last week (it’s Fashion Week, who needs food?) to buy at least a small accessory! We didn’t all sit down to eat, like a wedding, but my wallet still enjoyed the freebie meals!
It’s over so fast! Fashion Shows, Weddings… months and months worth of work, thousands of dollars invested; days of stress and hours of hair and make-up, and suddenly it’s over and we’re back to reality. One runway show lasts approximately 10-15 minutes, a wedding might be all of 10 hours, if you’re lucky! Again, sit back and breathe it all in!