by Kiani Ned
|Being trendy and photographable at Lincoln Center|
New York Fashion Week is an iconic week-long event that occurs in New York twice a year as a stage for designers to display their Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer Collections for the world’s fashion-enthusiasts, stylists, and socialites to ogle over. Those who know anything about the nature of the fashion industry know that NYFW, simply put, is a grand and glamorous social event. Celebrities of all varieties strut in their stilettos and leather loafers to the silver box labeled “Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week” situated in the Lincoln Center Plaza to schmooze with other fabulous famous people in the Star Lounge and to get some free but extremely valuable publicity. During NYFW, Midtown becomes the backdrop to a week-long fashion shoot. Hordes of photographers, teenagers with camera phones and self-proclaimed fashion bloggers, post up around the Lincoln Center to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrities, models and the current and next “it girl.” The fashion industry is one that embraces and thrives on change. Like the look of the season, the face of the season changes as the winds blow. The next “it girl” could be the lanky and awkward but beautiful girl in your Computer Science class or the short-haired beanie-wearing 16-year-old girl or boy who stops for a coffee before running to the bus stop every morning. Any face that inspires the designers of our generation could be the next on a billboard. For that reason New Yorkers quite literally rip through their closets to find the trendiest outfits to stand around Lincoln Center in the hopes of being photographed in during NYFW.
I decided to witness, for myself, the spectacle that is New York Fashion Week. I was lucky enough to be chosen by Hoot Magazine to photograph the Candela Fashion show. I was extremely pumped to be living one of my wildest childhood dreams! “Photograph a show at Fashion Week” was definitely about to be checked off of my bucket list. On the day of the show after class, I ran up to my room to change into something comfortable, but classically “Kiani.” Obviously this included a leather jacket, gold-toed booties, a bowtie, my signature cat-eye glasses and red lipstick (duh). Upon arriving early for the show, I was overwhelmed with nerves and excitement for the adventure that as about to take place. Little did I know, the adventure had already begun. I got asked by several people if they could take my picture which was extremely exciting except I’m about 80% sure that my bowtie was twisted in every single one of those pictures. At 1:45 PM I took my camera from my bag (to do some shooting of my own) and opened the bottom to find that my battery was not in it. My battery rested menacingly on my desk in the Quad, I learned upon calling my roommate. I asked myself, “Why is this my life?” Upon making this horrible discovery, I booked it to the subway on 66th to catch the 1 back uptown. I raced up to my room to change out of my huge and extremely hot puffer jacket, grab the camera battery and more money for the subway. Luckily, I made it to the show at exactly 2:38 PM. The show was beautiful and crowded. I was overtaken by misery induced by large crowds, lack of breath from running, and awe at the sequined skirts, floor-length lace gowns, and fuzzy pastel sweaters. I got some beautiful shots but was very happy to remove myself from the craziness.
On the second to last day of the festivities, sans ticket or press pass, I decided to brave the crowds surrounding Lincoln Center once again. I paced the plaza for an hour or so with friends in the hopes of spotting celebrities, or well-dressed individuals. I caught myself refusing to photograph the trendiest of girls and boys. They were standing too still and expectantly for a passing photographer, and I didn’t want to feed into their shenanigans. After the crowd outside of the “glorious silver box” died down in trendiness and energy, my amazing photographer friend, Vanessa, and I decided to face the security guards at the entrance and enter the box. We were let in, though not easily, by mentioning Hoot Magazine despite our lack of ticket. The inside of the box proved to be much livelier and filled with well-dressed fashion-y peeps. The walls of the structure were lined with sleek lounges, televisions and lofted bars filled with beautiful and assumingly important people. Vanessa and I wandered around in the hopes of spotting celebs. After an hour or so, our wishes were granted. We spotted Grace Coddington, Creative Director for U.S. Vogue, Bill Cunningham, photographer for NY Times and the star of the self-titled documentary, LeAndra Medine, creator of the Man Repeller blog, Julia Allison, journalist for Elle.com, and Dwight Eubanks and Cynthia Bailey of the Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo. Cynthia Bailey even said “Hi Sweetie” to me when I waved at her.
New York Fashion Week was nothing like I expected but in a good way. It taught me that in order to be someone important you have to believe that you are someone important. Anyone could have gotten into that building if they just acted like they belonged. If in New York the seemingly normal people you encounter everyday are designers, models, Fortune 500 CEOs and heiresses, than you can be the next great architect, philosopher or fashion photographer.
Kiani Ned is a first-year at Barnard and photographer and staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.