As we continue to decompress from the glamour and glitz of last week, we're left wondering what ever did happen with the ticket scammery going on with the shows. As it turns out, while everyone else in the tents was busy preening and BlackBerrying, one savvy publicist from BPCM was fighting crime. Well, sort of: The publicist, who wishes to remain anonymous, tipped us off to two of the shady dealers who were selling "tickets" to the shows. (Silly scammers: They're called invites and they’re non-negotiable. That's your first mistake.)
To recap: There was the midwestern mom and her tween daughter who said they paid $12,000 for an all-inclusive Fashion Week package courtesy of Fashion Ledge, an online "magazine" whose landing page is like a mock-up for a pretend magazine (and is WELL worth checking out) — all airbrushed boobs and sad cover lines like, “Rocawear boots” and “How to shave your man for Valentine’s.” Shudder. According to the BPCM publicist who had to deal with them when they showed up at Erin Fetherston, the Midwesterners' spiel was something like, "We're not on the list and we're not supposed to say our real names, but we're with Fashion Ledge." Yeah, that's what you think, tourists. The publicist, realizing the two had been duped, took pity on them and let them sit at the show. The next day at Tadashi Shoji (another BPCM client), a different victim was stopped at the door — she claimed her invitation originally belonged to one “Yvette Coleman,” who happens to be listed as the fashion-and-beauty editor of Fashion Ledge. Coleman, with her husband, also runs a casting agency called Silver Poses.
So what gives? The BPCM flack contacted Fashion Ledge; the publication claimed "rogue agents" had used the magazine's name without permission. Carl Kalonzo, a full-time web developer at Financial Week who runs Fashion Ledge on the side, said the site doesn’t sell tickets and that he’s meeting with 7th on Sixth parent company IMG to get to the bottom of it. He isn’t ruling out his own people (“we’re a small company, but you never know”). Interestingly, Kalonzo claims that Yvette Coleman is no longer associated with Fashion Ledge — she moved on because the site is ultimately insolvent. Kalonzo also says that Coleman's company, Silver Poses, is not associated with Fashion Ledge, but the voice mail for Silver Poses also tells callers that they're reached Silver Poses AND Fashion Ledge. As for Fashion Ledge's New York Fashion Week coverage, the site just lists eight shows, all of which are from spring 2009. "This whole thing has hurt us for this Fashion Week, but you'll definitely start to see our coverage," Kalonzo assures us. "Starting tomorrow." Or not. As of right now, there's no fall 2009 content.
Meanwhile, another Craigslist seller grouped shows into package deals — such as one that got the buyer into Cynthia Steffe (9 a.m.), Badgley Mischka (10 a.m.), and Matthew Williamson (11 a.m.) — for as much as $350 per person. The vendor, a jack-of-all-trades named Jordan Manley, emailed interested parties saying, “I do not sell tickets. I accompany people to the shows.” He then laid out the deal (show first, payment later) and promised to walk each buyer into the shows, “I often if not always get my clients backstage, photo ops with designers, models, and celebrities, and more.” When he’s not peddling chichi trade shows, Manley is president of Manley Media, LLC, a publishing venture with no media properties; head of JMM Fine Art, a fine-arts consulting firm; and proprietor of Manley Tours, where he “plans trips and outings dealing mostly with art and fashion,” including leading tours to Mexico City and apparently to Fashion Week, too. Turns out that shady gig just isn't enough these days.