"It’s fashion week in New York, and you have the misfortune of not being a VIP, a fashion editor or a 19-year-old Bushwick gamine whose daddy is sponsoring a show. How do you gain access to those giant white tents behind Lincoln Center?
It’s easier than you think.
Crash with purpose. Walk with purpose. Above all, dress with purpose: all in black, large sunglasses, larger bag and the largest possible disaffected stare.
If crashing for the first time, it’s best to attempt a second-tier show like Jenny Packham or Zang Toi. The gutsiest but simplest strategy is a lie that preys on an up-and-coming brand’s desire to please the right people.
To enter the tents to the left of the Metropolitan Opera House, flash of any piece of paper that could be construed as an invite and you will pass the first wave of security. Publicists stationed inside now employ digitized check-in systems complete with iPads and bar-coded receipts, but the latest technology hasn’t made life impossible for the uninvited.
Declare to the 22-year-old assistant publicist that you are a writer for Women’s Wear Daily or some foreign publication with a plausibly sartorial-sounding name, such as Die Weltwoche. Serving as tent gatekeeper is probably the most stressful job this young woman has ever had. Capitalize on that fact with a confident facade, and she’s likely to at least grant you entry on a standing-room basis.
Fear of making a faux pas is very real for these young publicists. “If a person claims to be from a major media outlet, they may be apt to let these people in even though they aren’t on a list because they’re scared of insulting someone important or losing a possible press hit,” explains Jono Waks, a media consultant who organizes press access for shows like BCBG and Max Azria.
Crashers lacking a poker face can employ the so-called sandwich approach, slipping in between two legitimate guests. Don’t have friends with invites? Make some in line. Flash any 3-inch-by-3-inch piece of white paper and a smile to the security personnel as your party passes through. When the line is crowded, not everyone’s barcode is scanned.
“Two of my friends had invites and I didn’t have an invite, so I just walked in the middle of them,” said unabashed crasher Mara Siegler, a former publicist turned writer, about how she once entered a Tuleh show.
Making it backstage is even easier. There’s no digital check-in at the backstage entrances near 62nd and Amsterdam, where a phalanx of hair, makeup and catering staff file through. If you look the part, you can stroll right through the backstage area and into the front row.
A few seasons ago, beauty blogger Jeannine Morris used her backstage access to slip into a Zac Posen show and ended up in a seat next to Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. “I snuck in from backstage,” said Morris, “and found myself a seat in the second row directly across from him, by the runway entrance.”
Scrappy bloggers tend to know all the tricks of the crashing trade.
Nadine Jolie, who blogs on her own site, isn’t even credentialed this season, but has seen her share of shows. She suggests wearing a disguise. “Grab a clipboard, wear all black, sport a perma-scowl and bark imaginary commands into a wireless headpiece,” Jolie says. “Voila: you’re a fashion week publicist!”
If those options fail, determined students from the Fashion Institute of Technology have stooped to scouring the trash outside Lincoln Center. On Friday morning, one fashionably dressed student was picking through a garbage can near the backstage area. He was rewarded with three show receipts, a press credential and a fake ponytail.
“Ain’t no shame in this game,” the scavenger yelled before purposefully sashaying his way into the Duckie Brown show with an alienated glare on his face.
by Jo Piazzahttp://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2010/09/13/how-to-sneak-into-fashion-week-runway-shows/