Fashion Weeks are always a struggle: it’s challenging for the body, but also for the mind, which could be deeply affected. Inflated ego or lost of self-esteem, tantrums, insomnia, and combat stress syndrome are not uncommon.
This cannot be stressed enough: a Navy Seal is a real wimp compared to an experienced Fashion person. I remember Hamish Bowles once telling of his experience as a participant in am American wilderness Training Survival Camp (I think he did it as an assignment for US Vogue), and how big macho types started sobbing on the second day, while he smoothly cruised through the entire trek. No wonder that when you’re used to navigate the Fashion crowd, angry snakes or enraged bears are nothing in comparison. And one would rather drink from a pond contaminated with animal droppings than from your Fashion show neighbor’s abandoned bottled water.
Here are my own tips on how to behave in such situations, while remaining yourself.
1- Be ready to strike a pose for the herd of Fashion bloggers waiting at the entrance of the show. I personally use airplane bathroom mirrors for rehearsal.
2- Adopt the Pitti Uomo walk, also known as the Milanese walk. This particular walk has been largely popularized by The Sartorialist. Look back at his archives for the appropriate gesture.
3- If you’re commuting by foot, it’s not a bad idea to start looking absorbed by your important thoughts at least 10 blocks away. A Fashion blogger could be waiting in ambush, and you want to give him the busy-as-hell-while-amazingly-dressed shot that will bring him 10 000 likes.
4- Acknowledge your best-dressed competitors by openly photographing them. Make sure they hear you whispering « how gorgeous !… », like you can’t keep it to yourself.
5- Unless you’re prominent within the Industry, being granted a good seat is always the harshest part. Don’t hesitate to bribe the PR assistants.
6- A true Fashion person doesn’t eat (or needs a pee in 12 hours) but you might more likely be starving to your death. Pack a lunch, and use the long waits before the shows to take a quick bite. The bonus : a vomit smelling melted cheese panini will give you extra room.
7- Lack of sleep, over-heated spaces, dull music, and especially tedious Fashion are the most common causes of patent drowsiness. Instead of uselessly fighting somnolence, indulge yourself with a 20 minutes nap.
8- Bored with the whole scene ? Make yourself useful as a dresser. This high-responsibility position will teach you a lot, while helping to keep the interest alive until the next Fashion week.
I like to think that once upon a time at Indochine people like Warhol or Basquiat were sitting in these very same booths, beneath the banana leaf murals and eat the very same delicious entries. (Althought I don’t know if they were really into eating).
It used to be a place for artists, my friend Glenn told me.
Then the artists were joined by the Fashion people, but as he pointed out, nowadays, Art and Fashion are more or less the same.
And it’s true that people who think of one at the exclusion of the other are usually not very funny, or much artistic. This works both ways.
Friday night was Indochine 25th anniversary party and I skipped a philosophy lecture to arrive early.
Some people in amazing costumes were already waiting anxiously outside the tent, and then once inside we queued in front of the stairs into the restaurant where most of the action seemed to happen. At irregular intervals the charming Nadine would appeared from behind the curtains, and with the magnaninous power of a blond goddess saved a few human beings by letting them in.
Once saved, I elbowed my way to the center of the booming crowded room. But most of the guests were too gorgeous –or too tall, as is the case with some of the superstar drag queens – to be pushed on the side, and I finally had to retreat in the basement bar and dance floor, which some insiders refers to as Under-chine and had not seen open for decades.
Todd’s straw hat state of destruction is far more sophisticated than one would thought.
Gabi and Adi wearing their own extraordinary designs
I’m not so much of a dance person. I would rather read a book, or talk to someone, so I went up to the go-go dancer poles and asked one of the prettiest go-go girls if it would bother her if we had a little chat while she was working. I had to shout over what I recognized as an old B52s tune, without the certainty to be heard. She shooked her head, but it was not clear what the answer was.
From Art, or Fashion, I insisted, what do you think is… It seemed she meant go-go dancing is an Art form, like everything else.
For those who missed the party, a commemorative book has just been published by Rizzoli : Indochine, Stories, Shaken and Stirred. The limited edition available at Indochine even comes with a free set of labelled paper napkins and two pairs of chopsticks.