Trapped in the Closet

The dubious highs and extreme lows of Fashion Week

DAY ONE

6:11 Fashion Week is finally here! Though the official start isn't until tomorrow, lots of designers are jumping the gun, including Form, which has set up an installation in the courtyard of the Soho Grand Hotel featuring mannequins wearing floating frocks and shoes made of cracked mirrors. "It's modular constructivism! The infinite patterns of geometric shapes—limitlessness!" the designer explains with little prompting.

8:12 Receive an e-mail telling me the Mao Magazine party has been postponed until Saturday. Start to wonder why so many fashion businesses are named after left-wing movements. What twisted notions of irony have given rise not just to Mao PR, but People's Revolution PR, and the highly trendy Socialista club on West Street, where the launch party for Nina Garcia's Little Black Book of Style is being held tomorrow night?

8:50 Am fashionably late to the Van Cleef & Arpels party at the Manhattan Center—too fashionably late, it turns out. The whole building is bathed in lavender light, laser renderings of $100,000 brooches are projected over the Quiznos across 34th Street, and the FDNY insists that no one else is getting in. It turns out this isn't strictly the case: Though there are thousands of us clamoring at the gates—such is the chaos that the two PR girls in charge throw up their hands, throw out their lists, and simply walk away—Mischa Barton, dripping in Van Cleef jewels, is swept in, fire department or no fire department. Why Mischa and not Lynnie? I am livid. I spot a colleague who tells me that even if I do get in, I've missed the show—"Dancing girls! Bare titties! Models with dogs!" When I finally gain entrance, I chat with a Van Cleef guy who is wearing a big diamond pin on his lapel and says wistfully that he's hoping it will start a trend. I stay for the performance of a prepubescent Parisian punk band called the Plasticines and trip over a broken champagne glass. "Ashley Olsen left," I hear an employee say dolefully into her earpiece.

DAY TWO

1:10 Here is who is sitting at my table for the luncheon honoring Lanvin's Alber Elbaz at the Rainbow Room: me, Paper magazine editor Kim Hastreiter, Iris Apfel, the octogenarian legend whose wild way of putting clothes together garnered her a one-woman exhibit at the Met's Costume Institute, and three women who look like they haven't taken a bite since 1956. Elbaz is clearly in the camp with Kim, Iris, and me—he makes a speech in which he declares that he hates sports, loves eating, and wants to make sure everyone has noticed his funny gold shoes. After his talk, a guest comes up to me and thanks me profusely for all the pleasure my work has given her—turns out she thinks I'm Zandra Rhodes. This is an improvement over last night, where a breathless young girl insisted I was Isabel Blow, which is very flattering except that she is dead.

2:35 A model is sporting wrist restraints at the Alexandre Herchcovitch show.

3:41 A model kicks off an excruciating high heel at the Erin Fetherston show and completes her runway walk with one shoe only.

5:22 The LCD ticker in the Bryant Park tent reads "Plastic skin—it has a little reflection so it's not dewy but it's not matte either," a sentiment offered by the designer for the fashion line Grey Ant.

9:02 Stop by at a party for a magazine held in a private home in the West Village which I have not, strictly speaking, been invited to. There's a lily pond permanently embedded in the parlor floor.

9:46 Drag up to Tommy Hilfiger's party at MOMA. Stay five minutes.

DAY THREE

2:58 They're serving beers on silver trays at the Preen show—Budweiser is a sponsor. When I suggest sourly that the parade of dull beige we've seen thus far this week (jumpsuits! drawstrings!) is a reflection of the fact that we're at war, the editor next to me—a big deal at a big-deal magazine—responds, "Yes, and the planet's falling apart."

4:28 At Yeohlee, my seatmate, who is affecting a denim-and-diamonds look, whispers, "Are you a cape person?"

5:31 Jenni Kayne lines her models up tableau vivant style, a revival of a 19th-century technique that allowed our Victorian forefathers to gawk at ladies in flesh-colored leotards in re-creations of paintings like Rape of the Sabine Women. Kayne's ladies, all of whom sport stick-straight hair, have been standing like animals at the zoo for almost two hours; a few seem about to burst into tears.

9:12 At her after-show dinner, Erin Fetherston confirms my unerring knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. "So how much did that MOMA party suck?" I ask her. "Oh no," she replies, "right after you left, Debbie Harry did an acoustic set for like an hour."

DAY FOUR

10:35 The program at the Vera Wang show says her collection continues "to explore the vibrancy and seduction of ancient Rome." I actually have a Wang skirt, which I rarely wear and which was inspired by the fact that it was on triple markdown. Luckily, Vera Wang has just designed a line for Kohl's that will necessitate a field trip not to classical Italy, but to the nearest Kohl's, which is in Secaucus—something to do when Fashion Week is over!

4:17 Crawling down West 37th Street in the taxi after the J Mendel show, I look out the window and see a perfect, lovely-looking red-and-white dress in the window of a place called Ziani Couture for $10.

6:12 "You need to get in line! Nobody's getting in unless you get in line!" the security guy screams at the Baby Phat show. Nevertheless, I see Ivana Trump and her escort, who is wearing a heavily encrusted diamond watch, sail right in. Then, suddenly, over a sea of bobbing heads, the big guy points at me—and I am swept inside. I feel like Mischa Barton, minus the Van Cleef jewelry.

DAY FIVE

3:22 "This is the only Rodarte I'll ever own," says the woman sitting next to me, who works for the museum at FIT, fingering the white shirt the Rodarte sisters made for the Gap last summer. It's 2,000 degrees in the Chelsea loft where Rodarte is showing, my hair gel is running down my face—so elegant!—and I'm craning my neck to see if I can spot the model I overheard on the 23rd Street crosstown bus on the way over: "I got seven shows," she lamented to a photographer. "I already walked in five of them—all shitty."

5:45 I am desperate to take a gander at His Royal Highness Prince Sultan Abdulaziz D'Na, whose lengthy moniker adorns a front-row seat at the ThreeAsFour show, but either he is a no-show or the guy in shorts and none-too-fresh-looking tee, chewing gum and slurping from a water bottle, is a genuine prince.

8:37 At the Warhol Factory X Levi's X Damien Hirst show at the Gagosian gallery, a journalist asks brightly what I think Hirst should do next. "Diamond dildos!" says the guy next to me, not missing a beat. "Chanel suits made of Play-Doh?" I finally offer weakly. This tribe of reporters and bloggers trolling the crowd asking questions on the order of "Can you rank the upcoming trends on a scale of 1 to 10?" and "What's your favorite thing so far this week?" makes me feel like Edward R. Murrow.

DAY SIX

5:41 "Big girls, you are beautiful—you take a girl, multiply by four, now a lot of woman needs a whole lot more," booms Mika while the requisite giraffes and gazelles amble down the runway at Diane Von Furstenberg. Which leads me to wonder: Does DVF make plus-sized garments?

6:52 "The journey that we all partake from moment to moment. From day to day, from person to person, from space to place. With each step, we gradually work our way into an experience," reads the program notes at the Philip Lim show. Huh? Oh well, maybe these steps will lead me to a better seat at Marc Jacobs tomorrow night. I mean, what with Jane magazine folding, shouldn't I move up at least one row?

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