Guest Grit post by Joe Quinn, model coordinator, Charleston Fashion Week (CFW)
Every time I go to New York City I have the best, most modest intentions: I’ll take the subway to save money, take a stroll through Central Park, meet Andy Cohen, and even take a little time to shop for some last-minute pieces to complete whatever look I’m going for that day.
The reality of my trips is much different, especially when that trip is to New York Fashion Week. In reality, I had to rush through JFK, grab a $50 cab ride into Manhattan, and sit in traffic. And then, as the Nautica show start time quickly approached, I arrived in just enough time to check into the apartment where I stayed in with CFW Runway Director Jacqueline Lawrence, quickly change, and grab another cab to Lincoln Center.
My first NYFW show of the season is always a rush! The fact that it was exclusively menswear was an added bonus. Unlike CFW where we can enjoy multiple shows back-to-back before we make a bee line for the bar, New York Fashion Week is more one and done. As soon as that music stops, it’s a frenzy to make your way out. Everyone either has some place to be immediately following, or is sure pretending to.
In my case, I actually had somewhere to be. I had meetings before Friday’s main event, which was Nikki Poulos’ (NBC’s Fashion Star, CFW 2012 Featured Designer, 2013 Fashion Panel Guest) first NYFW show!
By the time of Nikki’s show, our CFW crew had grown beautifully. Production director Naomi Russell, runway director Jacqueline Lawrence, hair & makeup director Ashley Brook Perryman, and I had all made it to Studio 450. Unfortunately style director Ayoka Lucas was on a runway of a different kind, JFK’s.
After enjoying some skyline views with a couple of pre-show cocktails, we took our seats. Sitting in a chair is usually mundane, but not this time! Nikki’s show marked the first time seeing my name waiting for me taped to a front row seat.
Her show was simply amazing! Nikki knows how to design and pair prints like no one I’ve ever seen. The cherry on the top of the show was seeing a very familiar face walk past me on the runway—Amanda Foster. Amanda has been a CFW model and Rock the Runway Competition Finalist since I began as model coordinator in 2012.
We met up with Ayoka for Nikki’s after-party and was immediately reminded how much damage NYC-priced drinks can do to my wallet. After most of the crew dispersed around the city, Ayoka and I made our way to Le Bain in the meatpacking district. I could go on about the characters we met, the indoor pool in the club, the grassy rooftop, or the built-in crepe stand, but it was the view from the bathroom that was unparalleled. Yes, the bathroom. Floor-to-ceiling windows with unobstructed skyline views? I think it’s time for Charleston to up its game. I could lie and say I went to a few more parties my first night, but the glamorous truth is that I ate a deli sandwich at 4 a.m. and then got my solid four hours of sleep.
Saturday was epic. After making the mistake of getting into Orange Is the New Black, we made our way to Pier 59 for Tibi’s show. Models flooded the intricate runway for the finale of designer Amy Smilovic’s collection (below).
After Tibi, it was off to Broadway! In a much-needed break from the fashion week craziness, I was lucky enough to go see The Book of Mormon. Everyone needs to see this show.
I was more than ready to call it a night after a post-show stroll through Times Square with thousands of slow-walking tourists, but apparently the city had much more in store for me. The fashion week crowd was abuzz about a V Magazine party where Lady GaGa was performing. As a GaGa fan, I needed to be there. During Delpha Ramos’ birthday party (Elite model scout, CFW 2013 Model Panel), I found out where the V Mag party was: a block and a half away from us. After giving myself a pep talk, I gathered up Jacqueline and Julie Wheat (Cavortress) and headed over to Le Poisson Rouge.
Within a few minutes of us arriving, Courtney Love stumbled out of the club in all of her hot mess glory. She finally made her way into a cab that I pray was destined for her bed.
A few minutes after Love’s graceful departure, Mother Monster emerged!
GaGa’s security and surprisingly calm fans surrounded her as she slowly made her way to her black SUV. I couldn’t get a picture with her because I did not want her security to rid me of my teeth, but I got get plenty of her. After entering her car, she had her driver stop in the middle of the street to say a quick goodbye to a friend, and I seized my opportunity. Instinctively, I yelled “GAGA!” and put up my monster claw from the sidewalk. She then made eye contact, put one of her legs on the dashboard, and put up the monster claw to end all monster claws.
I was a happy fan, to say the least.
My last 36 hours were almost as busy as the first 36. We met with Karen Lee Grybowski of the Karen Lee Group and CFW’s 2014 Official Model Advisor (that's Karen and I below).
She offered amazing insight into the world of New York model casting.
Monday’s fashion highlight was easily Libertine’s show. Everyone who witnessed Johnson Hartig’s 2013 CFW runway show knows that he does not disappoint! With the male models in tiny skivvies and Johnson’s picture sewed into much of the collection, there was not a dull moment.
We were invited backstage following the show to congratulate Johnson and to see the collection up close and personal.
Tuesday I was faced with the harsh reality of repacking my suitcases. The more difficult task was then trying to get a cab across town during morning rush hour. Jacqueline and I were invited to Tibi’s studio for a private viewing of the collection.
I do not pretend to be a fashionista, but I sure felt like one that morning. Not only did we get to see and touch the pieces that had just gone down the runway a couple of days before, we got to then discuss the collection with the designer herself, Amy Smilovic.
Also, it was so amazing seeing CFW Emerging Designer finalist Katherine Barron (below, with me).
Although I didn’t meet Andy Cohen, it was another unforgettable season of New York Fashion Week. Most importantly, it has gotten me more excited about CFW 2014. It’s less than six months until our Fashion Village returns to Marion Square!
The CFW crew