When we put out a call for questions about Fashion Week, we had no idea you guys would come through in such awesome droves — nor with such burning curiosity about Chad Michael Murray. Here's a sampling of answers that we hope cover the spectrum, and at least partly satisfy your curiosity about what is certainly the best job we've ever had.
Let's start with the obvious: What in the world do you guys wear?! How do you decide?
THE FUG GIRLS: February is a whole different beast — the main goal: to retain feelings in your extremities while trying to flag down a cab on a street corner — but for September, because you don't know if you'll get summer or autumn temperatures, we keep it simple and bring layers. You'll see us in a lot of lightweight dresses and heels, some from random shops in L.A.; some by Theory or DVF, etc., that we picked up during a weak moment at Bloomingdale's or at the Barneys Warehouse Sale; and very often from the likes of J.Crew, H&M, Zara, Banana Republic, and Club Monaco, because at the end of the day we're regular girls who have not won the lottery (yet). All of the aforementioned brands will definitely make an appearance at least once if not more, from at least one of us. To be honest, even if we sound like crazy overpackers (which … we are), we usually each bring double-digit dresses for the eight days — which allow for us to change midday if it rains or gets super sweaty, or we're going to a dressier evening show — and some skirts and tops for variety, as well as jeans to fall into toward the end of the week once we're too tired, blistered, and full of bagels to care.
Shoes are by far the hardest thing to pack, because they eat up space, they're heavy, and we LOVE THEM. We're suckers for a hot pair of stilettos, and — like a lot of women — shoes are our favorite thing to buy. With the rain-or-shine aspect of Fashion Week, we never know what pair we'll feel like wearing — which leads to a lot of, "I can cram ONE more in here, I think…" Cut to one of us sitting on a suitcase while the other struggles to zip it shut. The housekeepers at our hotel must bust a gut every time we come to town, because we often have to keep all the shoes lined up on top of the armoire. There's always a pair of boots in the mix, some flats, and then a gallery of heels in various heights. It is ALL about assuming you'll have blisters, and bringing shoes that hit your feet in different places. Our Fashion Week involves a lot of trekking across town, waiting in line, and occasionally standing at a show where you're squished in so tight you only even have room for one foot, so you'll want to be able to endure it without wishing someone would hand you a hand saw for easy foot removal.
As for accessories, we're both fairly minimalist — it's just so easy to drive yourself crazy with the specter of being surrounded by fashion journalists, so we're constantly reminding ourselves not to do anything we wouldn't do at home. Just because we're headed to Bryant Park doesn't mean we need to get wacky with hypertrendy scarves or arm warmers or fur corsets; we just want to get in and do our thing, and get out again and go buy a Diet Coke and gossip about what we saw. However, sometimes we do find ourselves wearing far more eyeliner than usual.
I'm a boring, sloppy law student with marvelous friends who have weaseled me into some shows for Fashion Week — Charlotte Ronson et al — and to put it very bluntly, I have NO IDEA WHAT TO DO OR NOT TO DO. General, expansive tips?
FUG GIRLS: The clothing thing used to stress us out, too, especially because oftentimes we are boring, sloppy bloggers who work in our sweatpants. But now that we've got a few of these under our belts, we've learned that the beauty of Fashion Week is how ANYTHING goes — pretty much every trend is showcased on somebody, so we try not to get too caught up in worrying about ourselves any more than we would in our daily lives. Here are a few keys to keep in mind:
1. Short of dressing up as a leprechaun or lighting yourself on fire, you'd have to work super hard to stand out as the best- OR worst-dressed person in the room. When there's a woman in a bedazzled fur turban making the rounds, your skirt is beside the point, so just relax and ogle.
2. Like we said: If you shop at H&M, Forever 21, J.Crew, etc., you're not alone. In fact, someone might be wearing the exact same thing you are, and unless you are a celebrity, that's okay — last September we saw four or five people in the exact same things we'd brought, and we went ahead and wore them too. After all, most attendees at Fashion Week aren't made of money, and tragically, wishing one-of-a-kind designer frocks grew on trees does not make it so.
3. In that vein, don't lose sleep over, say, whether you're carrying last year's bag. Sometimes we've got a purse from Target, sometimes it's Kate Spade, or anything in between (including, once, a purse one of us bought in Beijing that was a hilariously flagrant D&G knockoff but which held a LOT of stuff). Honestly, most of the time we don't even know which bag we're going to bring until the day we leave. The only rule for us on that score is this: Bring one that's big enough to hold a notebook, phone, camera, Band-Aids, possibly some deodorant — it's HOT in those tents sometimes — lip gloss to feel better when the rest of us is sweaty, and definitely some flip-flops.
4. We're serious: flip-flops. Love them or hate them, if you — like us — do not have a car and driver whisking you around town, they are an invaluable shoe swap when you need to schlep to another show, the subway, the sandwich shop, or your hotel.
Do people recognize you at the shows — designers, celebrities, Fug favorites like Chloë Sevigny — and if so, is it high noon at the OK Corral, or are you able to observe more unnoticed? Do you ever get people sucking up to you horrendously once they figure out that your pen is mightier than their leggings line?
FUG GIRLS: Nobody has recognized us that we know of — and honestly, we'd be surprised if they ever tried, not least because the cluster of reporters, photographers, and flashbulbs is so dizzying. We're pretty sure celebrities barely have a chance to check that they're in the right seat, much less wonder where those two cranky girl bloggers might be. And we're never backstage, so we don't interact with the designers.
Of all the celebrities you've seen at Fashion Week, were you surprised by any of their appearances? Whose skin looks like leather? Who has secret varicose veins and bunions? Who shows up all flaky from some chemical peel?
FUG GIRLS: Parker Posey looked a little rough last season, although having since seen her terrible short-lived Fox show The Return of Jezebel James, we can understand why. As former models go, we weren't blown away by Veronica Webb and Helena Christensen, both of whom mostly looked tired. However, most of them are all spackled up and dressed to the nines, so we're more struck by people who don't get sufficient credit for their hotness — for instance, in person, Aisha Tyler is six feet of awesome.
Is there an obvious presence of stylists attending with the various celebrities, or is it something that is kept hidden a bit so as not to spoil the illusion that said celebrity is responsible for her own look?
FUG GIRLS: It depends. Rachel Zoe, for example, attends a multitude of shows on her own, and we’re sure that other stylists do too, since scouting out the latest fashion is an integral part of their jobs. We’ve definitely seen celebrities seated with people to whom they whisper about items on the runway, and we assume at least some of these folks are stylists rather than just unfamous pals, especially since it seems like it'd be an uphill battle to pretend — especially around fashion journalists and other stylists — that anyone is working without a net anymore. But celebrities are often seated in a clump with other celebrities — as if to protect them from people who have never been in Us Weekly — so it’s hard to say how much of an entourage is there with them but sitting elsewhere.
How do you manage to recognize all of the socialites and minor celebs so well at the shows? I am always impressed by your eagle eyes!
FUG GIRLS: It helps that our day job involves looking at endless pictures of any chucklehead who attends the opening of an envelope. Eventually you realize that you’ve somehow memorized the faces of all kinds of different people. But we screw up all the time. We’ve “seen” everyone from Bruce Dern to a Cheetah Girl to Victor Garber before realizing we were totally smoking crack. We once thought Gwyneth Paltrow was at a show, and it turned out to be a dude. Nine-point-nine times out of ten — hey, nobody's perfect — if it's in our piece, we confirmed it, but in the moment we have seen some crazy, fictional things.
Based on last year's shenanigans, who are you most looking forward to observing and reporting on?
FUG GIRLS: As celebrities go, it tends to depend on who has something to promote, so it’s fun to anticipate which starlets will be making the rounds this time. We’re crossing our fingers that we'll see the new 90210 cast, and because we were stunned last September when Gossip Girl only ponied up Leighton Meester (who went almost unnoticed) and Taylor Momsen — who was late and missed her photo op — we’re keeping an eye open for them. Please let Ed Westwick show up in a turtleneck.
Do you ever get swag bags at the shows? And if so, what's in them?
FUG GIRLS: It varies and frequently is tied to who's styling the show or what new item the designer is promoting. For example, Derek Lam usually gives out a huge bag of Kiehl's because he often works with them, and Diddy put not one but FOUR of his fragrances — two huge bottles, two small — in a Sean John gift bag last year. Sometimes all seats have something on them, sometimes designers only put them in certain rows, and others don't do anything. Occasionally, the front rows will get more elaborate goodies than those behind it. For instance, Karen Walker almost always gives out bags with nail polish and a random item of hers (a scarf, fragrance), but one season, front-row dwellers also got sunglasses. Betsey Johnson usually tosses in some kind of animal-print thong, and Kimora Simmons gives out Baby Phat–branded notebooks full of color photos of her — and famously last year gifted the front row with a crazy-trashy Kimora doll. It's the only piece of swag we're crushed to have missed.
How does the rest of the fashion world react to Tyra and her Top Model coterie? Is she taken seriously or do people cringe, roll their eyes, and find a different seat?
FUG GIRLS: We've only seen Tyra twice, but she keeps it low-key and isn't stomping around trying to make the fashion shows all about her, which is a relief. She doesn't seem to run with her ex-contestants or current co-judges, so they're all treated separately and with about as much fanfare as you'd expect them each to command — with the exception of Nigel. People LOVE Nigel Barker. He is always graciously posing for a photo with somebody, and we'll never forget the time Miss USA hit him up for a business card.
There are many questions in this world, but none so mystifying as the walk of the male model. It is too stiff and weird for words. Like a woody object has intruded on a posterior orifice. Why on earth do they do that?!
FUG GIRLS: Honestly, we'll never understand why they stomp around like Eurotrash serial killers with wedgies. It's one of life's great mysteries. But at the same time, we wouldn't want it any other way: They sate our Fashion Week man-candy cravings with HILARITY. And nice abs.
I just saw a preview for the new season of One Tree Hill and I’m wondering — why is Chad Michael Murray on a show that is still on the air? Do you think he is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse? I’m concerned that he is and that the other three aren’t far behind him.
FUG GIRLS: Chad Michael Murray probably is one of the four horsemen, and his terrible hair is one of the others. But the truth of the matter is, One Tree Hill is hilarious. This is a show where a major character murdered his own brother during a mostly unrelated school shooting/hostage crisis and then set his grave on fire (accidentally, but still); where a season-ending cliffhanger once involved four potential pregnancies and three potential drownings; where a girl has buried not one but two mothers, was kidnapped on her prom night by a psycho pretending to be her long-lost brother, and escaped thanks to the boxing lessons her real long-lost brother gave her; and where Sophia Bush plays a watered-down 21-year-old Diane Von Furstenberg type. So, while at least it teaches us practical things about fashion (like how you should never hire your nymphomaniac, drug-addicted best friend as a model, because she will totally steal from you), it's also the kind of soapy camp that turns CMM's coif and pained furrow into unintentional and invaluable comedy gold. Which may be the nicest thing we've ever said about him.
More in our Spring 2009 Fashion Week Preview:
Word Up: The One-Word Inspiration Behind the Collections
Fashion Week’s Greatest Moments
The Freshman Class: Meet the New Girls of the Season
Designers to Watch: Joanne Cordero Reyes
Designers to Watch: Jen Kao
Designers to Watch: Miguel Adrover
Designers to Watch: Frank Tell
Designers to Watch: Abigail Lorick
Spring 2009 Fashion Week Party Guide
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