Getting a seat at the top designer shows at New York Fashion Week is a feat that is not for the faint of heart. The fashion shows, often only lasting fifteen minutes, draw in the most notable retail companies, celebrities, and fashion writers and editors, all vying for spots in the coveted front row. These seats are literally priceless, with invitations from designers’ public relations firms being the only means to entry.
According to The Wall Street Journal, not just the seats are tactfully assigned, but even the guest list is heavily calculated for weeks before the show begins. “Guest lists are carefully curated by the designer with a fashion public-relations firm. Seating is assigned, and it isn’t negotiable,” says the WSJ. Invitations will be sent out to guests a few weeks before the show and are explicitly stated as non-transferable. All guests must show their invitation at the fashion tent entryway, and some of the more renowned designers even check guests’ identification for security purposes.
So who gets to sit in those coveted front row seats at Fashion Week? Reportedly, the likes of fashion industry heavyweights such as fashion magazine editors and writers, as well as socially notable fashionistas get first priority. Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, fashion it-couple and New York Royalty Lauren and Andres Santo Domingo, and other V.I.P.s and friends of the designer will always be spotted in these seats. Celebrities also dot the front row of fashion shows, but even this most sought after seating is strategically calculated.
The Wall Street Journal explains how “Wintour and other V.I.P.s will almost always sit near the end of the front row in the section to the left of the runway….This is considered the best vantage point because it is the first place where the models turn. It is also close to the doors—ideal for making a quick exit and getting on to the next show.” The article explains that “Celebrities usually sit in the middle of the front row, so the photographers can see them without creating a traffic jam,” and that “Retail executives usually are sprinkled between rival editors, to avoid awkward situations: Bergdorf’s for example, doesn’t want Saks knowing which looks it is circling in the program.”
The scrupulous seating arrangements take weeks to finalize, and the result is a high profile audience curated almost as carefully as the fashion show itself.
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