If there was one thing I remember pondering during my very first New York Fashion Week it was “wow, I wonder what it feels like to sit front row”. Well, fast-forward just a few years and here I am, sitting in the front row end of runway eagerly waiting for the Ivana Helsinki runway show to begin.
Actually, in all honesty this wasn’t my first time sitting front row at fashion week but it was my first time actually being at fashion week in over a year and it seems that the absence has indeed made my love for fashion grow fonder. When I first moved to the city I covered countless shows each time fashion week came to town. This was back when I was working full-time at a record label and as soon as the clock struck 6pm I was off to the tents, swapping my comfortable sheepskin boots for a pair of black pumps. This was when fashion week was still held at the Bryant Park tents – Lincoln Center may be a more appropriate venue size-wise but Bryant Park felt magical and the newer location just doesn’t do it for me.
Anyway, so even though I don’t cover fashion much these days, I’m still on a lot of press lists so instead of passing my invites along to friends when I’m out of town, I took advantage of being in New York to attend a few shows.
Truth be told, Ivana Helsinki was my very first show where I was actually assigned a front row seat – that was two years ago and I never forgot it. There’s something so powerful about sitting so close to the stage. For me it’s not so much about the actual garments themselves but about the entire production. The music, the make-up, the fierce attitude of the models strutting down an otherwise bare runway. It’s the same feeling I get when I see a Broadway show. It’s this feeling of truly feeling alive. This time around, after having visited her hometown of Helsinki, it was obvious just how big a role her Finnish heritage plays in her design process. I got to speak to her post-show and she was super sweet and refreshingly humble.
This was my first time ever hearing about Nina Skarra but once I learned that she hails from Tromsø (sometimes called the Paris of the north) and is based in Oslo, I was officially intrigued. It’s no secret that Norway is my Neverland so I could not wait to see how Skarra incorporated traditional Norwegian fabrics into her modern, ready-to-wear collection. This particular show took place at Lincoln Center’s “The Box”, which is designed like a showroom rather than a long runway. Surprisingly I was given a +1 to this show so I gladly invited along a pal. Another major perk? free champagne and mimosas! It was not even 11am but I didn’t hesitate to grab one of the sparkling flutes.
Clearly, I was not in the front row of Custo‘s show. They overbook every year and while I could have sat in one of the last few rows, I know from experience that I have a better chance of actually seeing the clothes if I stand up in the back. This was my fourth or fifth time at his show but my first time seeing a collection after having visited Barcelona. I loved how he took inspiration from his Barcelona beach roots and incorporated a variety of fabrics into his garments. As always, he never fails to go over-the-top with some of his styling but it works none-the-less. I appreciate that he sends many of his models down the runway in flats because that is something I can definitely relate to while traveling.