>> Or Bryant Park**, rather. Mercedes-Benz really brought out the beef in front this time around -- there was no walking through the Red Rover line of security guards with a simple "I'm on the list." It was all press credentials, invitation, or bust. The funny thing is, even when you're inside the tents, it doesn't guarantee you'll be seeing the show. The only things you're guaranteed are free copies of Fashion Week Daily, New York Magazine, The New York Times and a visit to a smelly Port-a-Potty (the poor woman cleaning the toilets was wearing a surgical mask, just to illustrate).
After running the security-guard gauntlet, you have to face the table full of public relations people. If you're lucky (an editor, buyer, well-connected person), your name is on the list, you have an invitation and a seating assignment, and you can pass right through. You can even arrive a few minutes late from your last show (fashion shows on average start 40 minutes behind schedule, and the actual show lasts about 10-15 minutes). If you're not so lucky -- you have an invitation, but no seating assignment, you are relegated to the standing room line. If you think (or know) you will be in standing room, it's good to arrive about 20 minutes before the show is scheduled to start. Because there will be a lot of people in the standing line, and almost never will they all be let into the show. Once you're in the standing room line -- you will be doing just that -- standing -- for about an hour and fifteen minutes (20 minutes before the show is scheduled to start, another 40 minutes before the show actually starts, and 15 minutes during the show).
If you are part of the standing line allowed to go into the show, be prepared, you feel like cattle being herded through the shoot. People elbow, push, and power-walk just short of running. They have to get into the (insert designer's name here) show, goshdarnit! Then you file behind the rows of seats along both sides of the runway, next to the wall. If you're really lucky (notice how much luck is involved in this process), a public relations person will ask you to fill in a seat that was assigned to someone who neglected to show up.
You're in. You breathe, prepare for the spectacle -- because believe me, as much as you have to go through, it is worth it. Very very worth it.
Welcome to New York Fashion Week.