Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is possibly one of the most important seven days the city of New York has twice a year. For one week, people from all over the world come to Lincoln Center (and a few assorted venues) for runway shows, parties, street style photographing and a jolly time. The same goes for the following weeks in London, Paris, Berlin, Miami, Australia…the list goes on and on. If you’re not a renowned blogger, designer, stylist, celebrity or photographer, it’s not so much fun. All we can really do is sit in our pajamas with our laptops and a cup of tea and wait until they post the photos on style.com. Whether you attend a show or not, there’s still much to be done in regards to covering fashion week on your blog. If you do have the great privilege of entering the tents, there’s a few tips for you below too. This week I’m doing a little bit of both (show-going and at-home stalking), so these pointers are coming right from the frazzled, overexcited source. For all of us bloggers out there, here’s a mini-guide that will get you from Thursday to Thursday, every time. It’s Fashion Week For Dummies.
BLOGGING ABOUT SHOWS YOU DIDN’T ACTUALLY GO TO
Here’s the section that will apply to the majority of the people reading this. This is the position I’ve taken in past seasons (okay, really just last season but we’ll keep that between us), and it’s quite agonizing to scroll through every picture on your computer, longingly stroking the screen and wishing you were there. Alexa Chung was sitting in the front row, for God’s sake!
Look at as many shows as you can.
• The more runways you see from the comfort of your couch, the more knowledgable you are on current trends and who wore what to where. You also have the ability to slightly obnoxiously reference the presentations in conversation. For example: “That dress is so Alexander Wang Fall 2012.” I say things like this all the time, and people are usually impressed externally and thinking I’m really pretentious internally, or vice versa.
Write about them with a unique perspective.
• People can go to any website to find a runway review, so you have to make them come to yours. If you just put in every image from the show, no one’s going to look at it. That’s what style.com is for. My advice is to pick five to eight of your favorites from the show, or ones that you think are starting/part of a trend, and talk about those. You’re not going to be in love with the same Tibi pants that I am (well, maybe you are, because Tibi made some mighty fine pants for spring, but that’s not the point), so as long as you stay true to your aesthetic and honest with your readers, you should be a-okay.
Don’t write about every show you look at.
• If you’re like me and you fanatically click through every photo of over 100 shows per season, there’s no way you’re going to be able to write about every single one on your blog. That’s what Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue are for. Select your favorites and write in-depth reviews about them. Talk about how Sarah Burton had probably been watching sci-fi movies when designing the Alexander McQueen spring 2012 show, or how the Easter Bunny was hopping around in Vera Wang’s mind while she was creating the color palette for this season. I’d also suggest doing some trend-spotting—take notes in a Sticky on your laptop as you go or else you’ll have to re-look at shows, which you don’t have time for. Also you would go insane.
COVERING A SHOW WHEN YOU’RE IN THE TENTS
Going to a runway show is exciting and everything, but it’s also kind of terrifying. If you’re into photography, you want to get good shots of the models, but it’s hard to get focused, properly exposed pictures when the lighting is weird and the clothing moves quickly. Now, I’m no master photographer or anything, but I know basically how my camera works (not by reading that overwhelmingly dense manual they gave me—ew.). It’s best if you have a DSLR for this kind of job; I don’t suggest using a film camera because chances are each photo will just have an indistinct shape in the middle. Below are some tips on how to shoot a catwalk, “shoot” here meaning photograph, not literally with a gun. That would be scary.
Pay attention to the lighting.
• I was a wee novice photographer when I entered the Stage for the ADAM S/S 2012 show in September, so all of my images came out blurry and overexposed: just the way I like them. Kidding. I read up on this topic so I’d be prepared for this Fashion Week and I’ve decided that it is best to use either Aperture Priority mode (the A on the dial) or Shutter Priority mode (TV on a Canon). With Aperture Priority, you set the ISO and aperture and your camera sets the shutter speed. With Shutter Priority, you select the ISO and shutter speed and the camera sets the aperture. Use whichever mode floats your boat. Get more high-tech info here and here.
Write about more than just the catwalk.
• People can go anywhere to find a runway review, which is why when you’re covering a show you went to, talk about the whole experience. If you saw Derek Blasberg sitting front row, I want to know. If your camera freaked out and the flashbulb shot up and almost hit you in the face (it freaks me out every time), I want to know. Mostly so I can laugh at you, but still. Tell me more!
I hope this helped you prepare for the biggest week of the year. I’m still freaking out, but at least my nerves are slightly calmed by consolidating all of my knowledge. At least now I seem prepared, when in reality I’ll probably show up to a show the wrong day, or do that awkward foot slip while wearing heels. Some things are just inevitable.