Fashion Week Etiquette

Andrew C. Petersen
The things to know before walking up to the tents from a person that had to learn the hard way.
It is late Sunday night and I am sitting here looking at a blank screen. It seems as though a creative silence has fallen over the Holy City, and for now, my red eyes stare as my mind races with thoughts like what and where to begin. The clock is ticking, and I know that in hours when alarms all over the Peninsula and its surroundings go off, many of those poor souls in our bustling fashion industry have not gotten one wink of sleep. This is the time of year that I like to think of as "adult Christmas" to those that would rather give the gift of the next fashion trend, turn the page of a glossy magazine, and burst open the doors to their fabulous walk in closets, than unwrap some silly ole present wrapped up with bows and shiny paper. So as little children jump from their beds and run to see what Santa brought them on December 25th, so will the most fashionable of Charleston, and those who have traveled many miles to be here for Charleston Fashion Week 2014. This makes me imagine all the little elves, (fabulous elves by the way, who work harder than anyone that I know and doing looking so gorgeous) who have been toiling away over at Charleston Magazine all year long. The designers who have been cutting, sewing, and creating their own unique visions. My fabulous friends in hair and makeup with their leader Ashley Brook Perryman, who have been mixing colors and textures for months. The retailers who are preparing their finest looks to feature either on the catwalk or in the style lounge. The exciting names in the industry that are gracing our fair city to honor this event either as a judge, or as a guest for one of the many events that will take place over the next week, many to benefit a special cause or charity. Oh and yes, of course, this makes me think most of all of Charleston's very own fabulous fashion, Miss Santa Claus, Ayoka Lucas, creator of Charleston Fashion Week. Like Santa, she must have magical reindeer to somehow get her to every event, to set the mood each evening under the tents in Marion Square, and to somehow even manage to deliver her to the after party each night. Each year it happens and it all seems so seamless and flawless.

However, I am not a spring chicken at this point in the game. I have been going to or contributing to Charleston Fashion Week for the last few years, and I know that this event is a year in the planning, and although the next week will be magical, outfits pristine, makeup flawless, there are countless hardworking souls who put this event together. I can think of one brunette in particular from a little place called New York that moved down here years back to coordinate this little fashion soiree that has become one of the largest fashion weeks in the country and recognized around the world. I would not dial her number or send her an email at this moment if my life depended on it. Lets' just call her Nancy Brussels. I remember years ago when my naive makeup artist self ran up to her in Marion Square kickoff night and grabbed her shoulder to show her my new outfit that I had picked out for the event, her head swung around, headphones in place, and the glare I received left me paler than my normal pasty self. Thank you Nancy, because now that I have seen how hard all of you work, I appreciate more than ever the fabulous week that is looming before us and I also have been amazed at how, as each passes, you have managed to to somehow become calmer and yet still never miss a beat. 
I have learned a lot in the last 4 years.
1. I do have friends, they are just even though I may want to chat, this week may not be the best time.
2. Don't waste your best outfit until Saturday night. Don't get me wrong, look amazing on tuesday to set the tone but really bring it home near the end of the week.
3. Be thoughtful and realize that these fashionista's are here to shine and that means they need to meet and greet as many people as they can, so don't be a time hog. Say hello, congratulate them, and move on,
4. If you did not start your diet to fit into the clothes that you bought that are to small, a 24 hour cleanse is not going to do the trick.
5. Go ahead and make your friends take multiple pics until you get the right one for Instagram, everyone else is doing it.
6. I love the fact that I am a guy when it comes the to the restroom situation, sorry ladies....enjoy the line.
7  Buy your drink tickets first thing and get plenty of them.
8. No mean tweets about designers, models, or guests.
9. Seriously, try to stagger your after parties or you will look like hell for the finale.
10. Step back and look in the mirror before you leave the house, if you think you are trying to hard, don't take one thing off. Add something else!

Well there you have it. My word is not the gospel, but I can certainly say I have lived it. Trial and error my friend. Each year, whether a little skinny, a little buff, and oh yes, even a chunk, this 5'8 makeup artist has certainly hit Marion Square to see and to be seen. Now 2014 is here, and I am a little older, a little wiser (I think), and a little pissed that I have already gone to three events pre-fashion week and worn one of my favorite looks without thinking since I was going straight from work. Oh well, I guess we are always learning! On that note time to go, I gotta get some sleep!

See you under the tents!