Front Row At Fashion Week New York

I felt as though Id finally made it! Here I was at my very first New York Fashion show sitting in the front row!

Every year, during New York Fashion Week, I pass by the tents with huge crowds of paparazzi and bouncers checking off names, wishing I knew someone to get me in to experience it. But, unfortunately, I have no fashion connections, so I was never invited. And then, out of the blue, I received an invitation to the Blanc de Chine Fall/Winter 2011 Fashion Show at 673 Fifth Avenue, their NYC flagship store.

Now, I had to dress the part. Most days, Im at my computer in sweats, slipper socks, and no make-up certainly not dressed to the gills like the other attendees in the latest trends wearing accessories costing more than the National Debt.

Fortunately, I knew exactly what to wear a beautifully cut Blanc de Chine dress. I happen to own a couple of Blanc de Chine designs, including a short red dress with a high round Mandarin collar. This dress didnt need Jimmy Choos or Louboutins to say WOW. All I had to do was throw on my black boots, grab my coat, and go off to join the fashionistas.

This year, my name was on the list. I let a fungible twenty-something blond girl/woman in a short black dress show me to my seat in the second row, not a good vantage point to peruse all the fabulistas in the front row. After all, the name of this game isnt about the clothes or even the designer -- its about Whos Sitting In the Front Row? I didnt expect to be a first-row Goddess. But when the seat directly in front of me was empty, I was directed to move up. Oh ecstasy!

I looked at the run-of-show sheet that describes the outfits. There were 43 looks in all, female and male. Six twenty-something blond look-alikes appeared in front of me, bent down, and untaped the stiff white paper protecting the floor. Beneath was a long white silk fabric runway. The lights dimmed and the first model appeared -- a guy with blond hair and attitude wearing a mandarin jacket. He took it off at the end of the runway to show off his silk mandarin-collared shirt, slung the jacket over his shoulder, and jauntily marched back down the silk runway. The second model was a very tall girl five-eleven or six feet. Or was it the six-inch heels she was wearing? How can anyone possibly walk in stilettos that high and not fall? Her body slanted backwards, shifting her center of gravity. She took bold strides without even tottering.She would have looked great, but I was appalled by her weight or rather, lack of it. She wore a pair of low-slung flowing black silk pants that hung off her bony hips. This is New York, and I have friends who have dieted to a size 2, but this young woman had to be size 0, and she was too tall to be so thin. When she arrived at the end of the runway, she paused to pose for the battery of clicking cameras, then spun around. Her top was sleeveless and backless. Her shoulder blades poked out of her back like stunted wings. She was beautifully coiffed and perfectly made-up, although I could see where her rouge line began. Close up, she looked more like a mannequin than a person.
A second model slunk down the runway in a satiny black dress with a jeweled mandarin collar. She seemed even skinnier than the first girl maybe because she was so flat chested. No cleavage in this show. Since the age of thirteen, Ive been endowed (stuck is more like it) with my girls who have stayed a solid 34-D. All my life, Ive resented their hugeness (not to mention guys calling them the rack or grapefruits or a host of other derogatory names). It was especially hard in the 60s when everyone else was burning their bra and I couldnt because I would have had to walk away flapping. As one flat-chested bra-less model after another sashayed down the runway, I finally felt voluptuous and healthy.As each scarily skinny girl in sky-high stilettos, billowing silks and beaded satin shimmied down the runway, I was more grateful for my well-worn body. Id spent my early adult years comparing myself to Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton and Wilhelmina, and my later years obsessing on losing the ubiquitous five pounds which crept up with as much regularity as my period, Id look at the famous girls as role models. Now, here it was, a good 50 years later, the first time Id ever been to a fashion show and so up close and personal with rail-thin models. For the first time in my life, I appreciated my body exactly the way it is. Im fit, fine, and fabulous, I thought as I stood up at the end in my very own Blanc de Chine dress and strode out of the room with sixty-something attitude.Margie Goldsmith, who has just won a Gold and two Bronze Awards from NATJA (North American Travel Journalists Association) Writers Contest, might not be as skinny as any of those models, but challenges them to out-run, out-bike, out-hike, or out-climb her, anytime.
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