To facilitate easier reading & to give myself time to get it all out on the page, this post will be released in parts. This is Part 1. I hope you enjoy it & it whets your appetite for the detail still being remembered & formulated in my mind.
Ok, here’s the thing. I didn’t really have Fashion Week on my radar until Project Runway hit the air. I knew it existed but I had no solid intention to ever attend it as an event. I was tangentially involved with the fashion industry in my late teens & I did not enjoy myself. I was going through intense internal transformation spiritually & was actually working at what was then Body, Mind & Soul on Walt Whitman Rd in Huntington Station. We’re looking at circa1989-1990. My hair was really long. My waist was really small & my legs were & still are really strong & sexy IMHO. I did my best & crashed. It’s ok, I started teaching right after that…TA DA!
Anyway, people usually have an image in mind that Fashion Week (wherever it is located, New York, Paris, Los Angeles etc) is just champagne & pretty people 24/7. It’s not. It is a lot of work for just about everyone involved from the engineers who erect the structures the shows are held in, security, electricians & other ‘on the ground’ workers. Then you have the people who work for the sponsor companies. I watched an around the clock rotation of sweet girls in yellow dresses pushing Fiber One bars like their jobs depended on it, which it probably did. There are thousands of people employed via the week. If you include the actual designers, models, staff, buyers, & Public relations/Publicists, really the number keeps multiplying exponentially.
Also, it isn’t just confined to Lincoln Center. There are events all over NYC. In one day you can see shows from one end of Manhattan to the other & both east & west sides. It’s a lot & so interesting that most people think it is just a huge cocktail party held in Lincoln Center.
So, what happens when you drop a Professional Witch into the mix? Let me start by saying I wouldn’t have re-entered into it all without the invitation of one of my best lifelong friends Eila Mell. Eila is a fashion Journalist & author. Her last 2 books were certainly fashion oriented, New York Fashion Week, the Designers, the Models, the Fashions of the Bryant Park Era & her newest work. Project Runway: The Show that Changed Fashion. I can only say that this collaboration between us to take on the Fashion World was fated if not destined.
You see, Eila aside from being the fashionista that she is, is also a wife & mother. The idea for the 2 last books both came over lunches that I attended. It is amazing how one conversation changes lives. I just felt at the time that if she was going to be running all over NY doing interviews that I wanted to help her: drive, get coffee & whatever else she needed to keep a balance between home & work. So I became her Personal Assistant, Bodyguard & Professional Witch, a job title I had taken on several times before in my very long career of Virgoan service.
That said, I have grown immensely in my own spirituality as a result & here’s why. Everything in this world holds an opportunity for us to learn, heal & grow as spiritual beings in the human experience. One could easily see fashion as a materialistic distraction & for many years I was one of those people. No one NEEDS fashion. It’s not like there is a lack of clothing in the world, at least in the USA. But upon my entry into this world of fashion, I learned that just like art, it is not a survival necessity, but a passion for so many just like painting, dance, music & cuisine.
What did I learn? I learned more than I thought I would have, not just in the overall experience, but in this past week specifically. I learned what my pitfalls are, how my own empathy, usually a blessing, can feel like a curse. I learned how my preconceived notions, well, let’s call them judgments if not prejudices, were holding me back spiritually because they were completely erroneous. But most of all I learned how to train my eye (3rd) to look past the surface & into the soul of the people, places & experiences I found myself confronting.
To this, I am still integrating it all & will continue this blog over the next few days in more specific detail. In general though, let me say that New York Fashion Week is a spiritual Boot Camp/Obstacle Course. I would never trade these days with my dearest Eila, nor pass up the opportunity to go to the shows again & again. I am better for it, stronger on my path & in my sense of Self. The people I have met & befriended, the many I have helped/influence/uplifted along the way are more than worth the chaos of it all.
So, for now I have to get ready for our last day, ending with a party at Saks 5th Ave & yet another opportunity to learn, heal, grow & all around revel in the artistry & people that make up New York Fashion Week.
Mark A Lyons
Follow me on Twitter @ProfWitch