By Elena Sendona
I’ve been attending the NYFW since September 2009 and through this fascinating experience I saw all the difficulties and pleasures derived from it. Attending it in winter time is more challenging due to weather conditions, especially the extremely low temperatures of the last couple of Februaries. You need to adjust your wardrobe essentials to the recurring snow storms. Streets are often filled with snow, and as it melts they get extremely slippery. I usually pick a combination of comfy, warm, and water-proof shoes; hiking or biker boots, sneakers, and generally soles with traction. I love those lined with shearling or other insulating materials. Ankle boots are fine when show is still dry, but the next day you need boots above mid-calf level because quite often your feet can end up inside ‘invisible’ water holes. Most of hiking or winter boots are quite heavy and can easily injure your ankles if too tight in that area. So make sure you pick lace-up or zip-up styles for increased adjustability.
You also need a warm outerwear piece. I’m proudly wearing my Feel Good Fur styles which combine functionality with the beauty of avant-garde silhouettes. Ethically-farmed and meticulously detailed, my designs are eligible for a very active lifestyle. During the New York Fashion Week my workout regimen is replaced by venue-juggling, so again it is very active. Besides fur that offers sufficient protection from the elements, I’m hugely charmed by the work of Ienki Ienki, a designer creating puffers inspired by the Michelin Man, especially those in foil-looking metallic shades. On a rainy day, layer over your regular coat a fashionable Burberry or Calvin Klein rubberized PU trenchcoat. And if you are able to invest more, think of the avant-garde puffers by Vetements and Balenciaga.
Vinyl is another material that will help you survive the fashion week and any rainy day of it. Totally water-proof, absolutely shiny, and edgy enough for an ‘it’ girl like those in attendance at the big venues. This season we saw vinyl pants by Acne Studios, Wanda Nylon, and Tibi. They work with a slouchy sweater and your boots. I prefer them to the admittedly cool vinyl top by Ellery because I could layer them over thermal leggings and make them feel ‘not that synthetic’. Still the Ellery pieces are so futuristic! Then there are vinyl jackets by 3.1 Phillip Lim, Ganni, and other brands. The luxe alternative to vinyl is glossed leather. I’m completely drawn to those by Off-White, Petar Petrov, Rag & Bone, and 3.1 Phillip Lim.
Final step in a fashion-week-worthy look is the hat and possibly some other accessories. Every time I promise I won’t buy another beanie, yet beanie styles are still developing and I’m excited to discover new ones, especially those designed by the likes of Eugenia Kim. I also love the felt hats by Maison Michel which are classy and timeless. If your outerwear collar is not that high, then make sure you protect your neck area with a fashionable cashmere scarf. Chunky knits are on trend. To my mind, you don’t need statement jewelry because it’s hidden under the cozy layers and uncomfortably blends with wool lint.
Looks is one part of the equation in a successful attendance; the other part is how to secure invites. There are many ways into attending it, yet the general rule is that you need to have some sort of connection to and involvement with fashion. A portfolio of your work as a fashion writer, editor, photographer, stylist, or makeup artist will help you articulate your request towards any PR fashion brand organizing fashion shows. The second step is creating your own list of recipients, looking for the agencies representing the designers, or the PR persons undertaking such task. There are some lists here and there, yet the best way is to search at the designer sites. Most of them include the name of the agency along with some contact details. In your email to them try to effectively pitch your role at the NYFW or the way you are going to communicate the designer’s vision. In your message, be formal and polite with a friendly touch.
With the help of the social media you can also contact such people directly. DM them on Instagram which is the medium fashion insiders are using the most, due to its strong visual identity. NYFW designers are in the hundreds now, so if you aspire to send requests to almost everyone, you probably need a day or two. Make sure that you keep on monitoring, because in the coming days and till last minute, you will be receiving ‘Save the Date’ messages, automated replies, and mostly those by Fashion GPS, which need you to respond immediately before the event gets fully booked. Follow back to those you didn’t receive any feedback from, asking for a confirmation. You always need a confirmation. Don’t waste your time, showing up at events you don’t have a confirmation or barcode for. Some organizers don’t provide you with a barcode, but they all send you a ‘you are confirmed’ notification when you get approved. Best-case scenario is when you receive both a barcode and a seating assignment which means that you are not standing and you have high priority when accessing the venue on time. If you arrive late, no one secures your seat, and you cannot complain about that. 20 minutes after the original show time, usually dressed-in-black assistants are encouraging standing people to take up the empty seats, definitely those in the last rows. If dressed fashionably, you have a great chance in ending up front row too!
Food, beverages, and often alcohol are abundant inside and around the venues. This season, shows will mostly take place at the Spring Studios, 50 Varick Street, and around you will find many coffee shops and restaurants to keep you refueled whenever out of steam. Protein bars are highly recommended on the busiest days. Some shows are overlapping or happen right one after the other so if you get more that 40 invites for the week, you will surely need to bring some healthy snacks with you. So get a roomy statement purse and load it with a survival kit including vitamins, a moisturizer, a bottle of water, nuts, and berries. Staying fit at that time makes you feel beautiful and strong.
Another surprise for Fall/Winter 2018 is that men’s shows (February 5-7, 2018) happen right before women’s (February 8-14, 2018), which means that you might want to attend them both, consecutively. It’s a long-long fashion week this time! For an updated version of the NYFW schedule download the PDF from the CDFA Fashion Calendar. And for even more details you can subscribe to it at a quite reasonable annual fee. Get connected to more and more fashion insiders and show-goers because they might be able to offer you last-minute opportunities such as attending fashion parties and presentations as a legit +1. As you might see, Narciso Rodriguez picked a menswear date to showcase his line, and it seams that the very first and last days of the two fashion weeks will be crossing gender lines, mixing shows for men and women. Also, as fashion insiders inform us, we are coming into a period in fashion history when market needs dictate a mix of seasons. We are not clearly talking about Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer, but about February 2018 shows including those that are ‘see now-buy now’, ‘pre-order’, ‘current season’, and ‘next season’. If you are member of the Press, pay attention to the recommendations by the PR offices on which images/info to publish now and which later. I’ll be sharing with you more and more tips as we are approaching the fashion week. For the moment, just get to work!