Trust me, I get the whole Fashion Week thing, mostly because many of the cliches are true. You do get to hang out with industry insiders - including, but not limited to, bitchy fashion PRs who think nothing of telling you about someone else's drug abuse - and yes, Champagne does seem to be in endless supply, but really? Lately? I prefer watching the catwalk shows on Style.com. Below is a short list of reasons why.
#1 Just because a model seems cool, it doesn't mean she is cool - with you at least.
Yeah, so, I'm not gonna mention any names but some of the models you (and I) love, well, they aren't too nice. Backstage during London and New York fashion weeks I have heard language that made my head swivel Exorcist-style. There can be a certain brattish air to some of the models (especially some of the younger/less experienced ones) and while I don't think the real industry hair and makeup legends would even put up with that ish, I have seen a fair few younger session stylists and makeup artists get a little bit wobbly when so-and-so refuses to get out of her chair for a run-through. Don't get me wrong - I am generalising here, but there's nothing worse than when the model you personally have drooled over through every Vogue and W shoot turns out to be a drugged-up moody beeyatch who makes you wait to use the bathroom for over 15 minutes and, upon emerging, greets you with the dirtiest side-eye ever.
#2 Just because there's a ton of food on show, doesn't mean you should (gasp!) eat it.
We are all aware of the model/anorexic stereotypes, but this point really isn't about that. No, this point is about the fact that, backstage at many of the fashion weeks (New York, I'm really talking about YOU) there is a cornucopia of ridiculously calorific treats just lying in wait. Yes, there's always a she's-watching-her-weight table too, usually bowing under the load of the latest 'smart' water, but the sheer smell of the 'bad model' table cannot be resisted. If, like me, you have never been called 'slim' in your life, and if, like me, you are what I like to call, A Visual Foodie, then you are the ones I want to warn against visiting this table. First, if you do indeed partake of some tasty morsel, say, a miniature apple crumble cronut, it won't go unnoticed. But hey, who cares right - judge away! The real issue is, once you swallow the aforementioned treat, you will go back, and back, and back, until you're pretty much mistaken for catering staff - 'just keeping an eye on things here guys - do we need more truffled fries?'
#3 Unless you're Anna Wintour, Suzy Menkes or Carine Roitfeld (i.e. fashion royalty) you probably won't get to savour the moment you move from backstage to the catwalk show.
To me, there is real magic involved when it comes to watching a catwalk show, and it's one thing that I could never write a negative word about. I can honestly say that certain shows have taken my breath away and others have brought a tear to my eye. But being backstage is the total opposite - well, it might still bring a tear to your eye, if you're not having your best day... As a journo/beauty editor, all I ever wanted from a backstage invite was to be able to capture the look of the show, so I would always pay attention when the makeup artists and hair crew took a few brief moments to talk about the inspiration behind the collection. But I soon learned that it was never going to be a face-to-face with Charlotte Tilbury; instead it's you plus anything from 10 to 30 journos/bloggers, all teetering on your heels to get a closer shot of the work on show, or worse still, grabbing a selfie while the unassuming industry pro' dishes (not me, uh-uh). Once you've had your time, and if you're lucky enough to have a seat, it's all about getting you to said seat, even if the show isn't due to start for another 30 minutes - or even longer, depending on the designer.
#4 It's over too soon
While my other three points focus on the less positive parts of the international fashion weeks, I have to admit, that I do, and probably always will, miss certain aspects of the madness. If you enter this world, you will meet people who will remain friends - or at the very least, cocktail acquaintances the next time you're in each others' towns - long after the magic has worn off. You will have moments that you will pinch yourself over - and probably regale your friends with one too many times. And, unless you become completely jaded, you will be inspired.
Have you been to any fashion weeks - have you had any crazy/weird/heart-warming moments there? Or are you dreaming of entering the fashion industry? Let me know in the comments!