Did I mention the waiting? The endless waiting for shows to start? And how much everyone bar the newspapers & websites who need continuous streams of online-friendly copy, LOATHE celebrities at fashion shows? They are always late and hold up the shows, in turn making editors late for their next appointments. (Milan is WORK: we don’t have all day to sit around gossiping & waiting at the shows.) And whose anally retentive, built like a brick shithouse bodyguards always manage to tread on poor editor toes or send ickle twiglets flying with a careless elbow in the after show rush for the two exits (think camel through eye of needle).
Darling we are fashion editors, as if we cared about Beyonce/Gwyneth/Scarlett. Actually of course everyone is DESPERATE to get a good gawp in but it’s professional death to show any interest whatsoever. (Unless of course you are currently manning your publication’s Twitter feed in which case you are gagging for every last detail.) Personally, I say thank God for the people-watching. It’s the only thing that stops me from getting RSI from pecking away at my smartphone.
The reason we are all so busy is because we don’t just attend the shows: there are the hellish meetings called re-sees. These do what they say on the tin: not only do you have to endure the show but you then have to pitch up again at the showroom in the arse end of nowhere to look through rooms of blah (not just the runway pieces, but all the accessories, jools, bags, swimwear, knickers etc) making nodding gestures and lying through your teeth about how much you like it all, whilst making a mental note that you are going to have to find a way to include a piece from a collection majoring in mustard pailettes the size of saucers in the next main fashion story, currently slated as a nod to the return of black, because the publicist has just intimated that her label’s million dollar + ad budget is being reassessed.
So an average day might have 8 shows and eight re-sees. You just don’t stop with the pressure to get everything done. I once got the cold shoulder from an American publicist because I had the temerity to stop to use a loo and was therefore five minutes late for a re-see. They know that the balance of PR/editor power changes in Milan – in this climate if a major advertiser withdraws pages then the editor knows her job is on the line.
I used to spend my entire time scrolling through Google Maps on my BlackBerry in the back of my car working out if I had enough time to fit in the show of a minor advertiser on the other side of town or another re-see appointment or, hopefully, a trip to the Marni Outlet out in the South East – where every single editor goes during the week, preferably the day they arrive &, as mentioned, before the Japanese Marni-obsessive editor hordes descend. (Think locusts.)
Final part to come, plus a dispatch from my Deep Throat fashion publicist on what it’s really like being a PR at the shows.