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WWD photographer Steve Eichner sees it all and shares his unique perspective on New York Fashion Week.
This story first appeared in the November 14, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
6:14 p.m., FNO at D&G with Justin Bieber: Bieber gets on the red carpet, tells all of us photogs that there is no need to scream his name, he will look at every one of us. He stops and looks into each lens. Total professional. I wish every celeb was this cooperative.
7 p.m.: A girl was just about to get her autograph from Bieber when he gets up from the table. Time’s up. She was just two away from meeting him. She let out a wail and broke down crying. I snapped a few pix of her as she put her hand over her face and sobbed uncontrollably. The screaming and crying and hysteria was the craziest thing…
7:33 p.m.: I leaned over the rail looking straight down from the third floor to the packed-like-sardines throng of howling girls trying to get a peek of the Biebs. They caught a brief glimpse of him and yelled their lil’ hearts out. I grabbed a shot of them all looking up at me in various states of hysteria. It is one of the greatest of my career and ran the next day as the WWD Style cover and I got many compliments from my peers.
5:02 p.m., Rag & Bone show: Anna Wintour is sitting in FR. Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade come by to say hello to her. She introduces them as if they don’t know each other.
9:49 p.m., Jason Wu party: I’m hanging with Julie Macklowe and Robert Burke, drinking Champagne. Julie grabs my hand to follow her to get a shot with the designer she’s decked out in. I can’t believe this surfer from L.I. is hanging at the St. Regis, drinking the finest Champagne. What a life I lead!
11:37 p.m., Tommy Hilfiger party: Talking to Tommy about his son’s baptism that I shot at his house in Connecticut. That son is now grown and a rapper. Move on to Andy and chat about when we lived in the same building together on 109th Street and B’way. Then he tells me all about his new company with Steven Tyler. Invites me to the opening party. Reminiscing about his band Hilfire and friends from Elmira who lived across the street. Then Ed Westwick from Gossip Girl walks by and admires Andy’s scarf. Andy takes it off and says, “Keep it.” Ed kisses Andy on the cheek. My shot.
10:46 a.m., Lincoln Center: Eating at fashion café in tents, woman gets up and walks away wearing supershort shorts. Someone says, “Gross!” I look, her butt cheeks are hangin’ out.
11:15 a.m.: Photog Marion Curtis and I are waiting to shoot Emma Roberts in the FR. Marion says, “Fifteen years ago we were here shooting Julia Roberts and sipping Champagne. Now we’re here shooting Emma Roberts and drinking coconut water!”
11:19 a.m.: Kourtney Kardashian’s baby daddy, Scott Disick, comes in. There’s a paparazzi crush to get his pic…ridiculous.
12:13 a.m., Prabal Gurung show: Nicki Minaj arrives in these amazing bright colors, and she’s wearing a pink femo pretzel-shaped necklace.
3:21 p.m., Vivienne Tam show: Michelle Harper says what’s up with all the women on the steps of Lincoln Center dressed in Renaissance garb. I tell her they’re giving away samples of hand cream. Everyone’s got an angle on FW.
4:37 p.m., Alex Wang show: Watch Alex and his team deliberate, then make the important decision at rehearsal to hold the motorcycle helmets by the chin guard not the strap because they say holding by the strap swings too much. Then I almost bump into one of the huge mirrors on the runway. A security guard gets mad and tells me to stand clear. They call in another to guard the mirrors.
5:13 p.m.: Courtney Love arrives, a paparazzi crush ensues. She sees Peter Brandt’s son brandishing a gold cig holder and says “Hi Junior!” I see Terry Richardson. He gives me his trademark thumbs-up.
5:48 p.m.: Had great timing. Shot Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz first before the paparazzi crush. Got a great spot for runway ambience. Then climbed high on risers for parade shots. Shows don’t flow much better than this!
7:25 p.m., Monique Lhuillier show: I saw Michelle Robichaud, Miss America Junior National Teen, wearing her sash. As a joke to entertain the 300-plus photogs in the pit, I brought her over in front of them and had her pose as they took shots. Total spoof. They did not care about her. Pure entertainment.
8:08 p.m., Altuzarra show: Lots of p.r. drama getting in. I and the other two WWD photogs are not on list. After calls from the office and much confusion, we get in. Now roaming the front row. There are no celebs, and we wonder what the hoopla was about.
10 p.m.-ish, Roitfeld party: Had a conversation with Cathy Horyn about the Westway club, which we were in. It was formerly an all-nude strip club. Having lived down the block in those years I told her all about the debauchery that went on there and gave her a quick tour of where the VIP area was and where the stripper poles used to be.
10:24 p.m.: Got really psyched when I saw the taco truck parked outside for the guests. I ordered two chicken and two bean. Scarfed those down. Went back to work.
11:02 p.m., Roitfeld party: Margherita Missoni, Carine Roitfeld and Julia Restoin Roitfeld all drinking shots of tequila and smoking and eating limes from a table with about 30 shot glasses. Partying harder than college girls on spring break.
11:34 p.m.: Valentino takes the stage to sing “My Way” by Frank Sinatra, karaoke style. Could have been the best thing I ever saw at a fashion event. The energy was amazing. The things I see in one day, most people would talk about for a lifetime.
11:47 p.m.: Almost got run over crossing West Side Highway by hundreds of motorcycles going to Ground Zero for a tribute.
12:41 a.m., Alex Wang party: From a strip club to a frat house—what a life I have. Keg party with Odd Future, a hard-core rap group, performing. They were going crazy with blow-up dolls. I get soaked in beer sprayed from the stage, my camera shorts out. Now I have to do world-class photography with a beer-soaked camera.
1:32 p.m., DKNY show: After front row, got shots in street of models preparing to walk runway. Was very cool that they did the backstage prep in the street.
3:51 p.m., DVF show: I’m standing up high on the steps. I see the crowd part like the Red Sea and Valentino come through on his way to the show.
4:13 p.m.: Oscar de la Renta and Valentino are sitting front row but far away. I ask Kerry from KCD what he thinks about getting them together for a shot. He’s says he thinks it ain’t happening. I decide to ask Valentino to get up and he obliges, standing next to Oscar. Kerry sees it and shakes his head like I did a miracle. The shot ran in WWD the next day.
4:31 p.m.: I find a seat in front row to shoot runway ambience. I realize that I smell really bad. My photo vest stinks of body odor and stale beer from night before. I’m kind of embarrassed. I’m next to Steven Kolb, head of CFDA. I’m sure he smells me. We have a brief conversation about my 14 years at WWD. The show starts, I get great ambience shots, then Diane walks the runway passing out American flags () because it’s 9/11. She gives one to Steven Kolb and I get a great shot.
5:53 p.m., Thakoon show: Bill Cunningham sees me, makes a beeline. He says he’s having trouble with his flash. I try a few things but can’t figure out the problem. I set his camera on manual and it solves the problem so he can shoot the rest of the show. He shakes my hand and thanks me five times. I’m actually honored that he trusts me enough to help him out.
7:47 p.m., Tommy Hilfiger backstage: Tommy posing with his wife, Dee. I’m in back of some other photogs. Tommy points to me and says, “Let WWD come up front to get the shot.”
8:56 p.m., Edun party: Bono poses with wife Ali for me. I shoot five frames, then Bono fist pumps so I fist pump and I scream “Edun!” Bono and Ali smile.…Great moment, great shot!
9:02 p.m.: I pose Reeve Carney and Bono for a pic, but then I ask Bono to step aside to get a solo of Reeve. Probably the first time Bono was asked to leave a pic.
1:39 p.m., Donna Karan Show: I’m early for the show so I chat with Anna Wintour’s personal security guard. He says that she must know me because he noticed that she always looks at my camera. He says Anna skipped lots of shows to go see tennis at the U.S. Open. I guess tennis is more important than fashion.
11:15 p.m., Steve Klein party: Amazing presentation of his film project with Amber Valletta. It was in the Armory on 68th Street. A huge space, and they mounted like 10 movie screens in a circle with the party in the middle. This is true art. On my way out, I see Naomi Campbell posing with Steven Klein. I got the shot!
9:07 a.m., Tory Burch show: Tory is doing her first runway presentation for fash week. I happen to be introduced to her mom and Tory is standing there, too. I say, “I love your daughter,” and Mom says, “I do, too….”
11:04 a.m., Vera Wang show: I can’t take my eyes off of Kim Kardashian’s butt. It’s mesmerizing.…Then Serena Williams comes in. Serena sits next to Kim and admires her new wedding ring. We get word that Beyoncé is coming to the show. The photogs all try to get in position but security wants us all out before they bring her in because she’s pregnant, they don’t want a big pushing match, which could endanger the baby. Mario Grauso, Vera Wang’s chief, sees me and says “Stay with me, we’ll get you the shot.” After a ridiculous pissing contest between Mario and security, Mario wins, Beyoncé is seated and I get the exclusive shot!
3:36 p.m., Marchesa show: Another p.r. hassle getting in. Finally in, there are some celebs and I click away. Just as the lights go out, I trip over a small floor light. It makes a loud noise and I make my way out. Looking for the runner to take my card back to the office, I see she texted me: “I’m in the show, see you after.” Well, I’m on a very tight schedule and need to get to the West Side from The Plaza hotel. I wait for the show to end, then give her the card and a dirty look. Can’t get a cab, so I subway, then walk. By the time I get to the Theory show, I’m a sweaty mess.
10:17 a.m., Michael Kors Show: Michael Douglas and two B-listy celebs are there. The runway is supercrowded and everyone is pushing to get a shot of Douglas. I hear the security guard say into his radio, “We need some help here—it’s a f-king mess.”
1:03 p.m., J.Mendel show: Olsen twins are there, and they seem to remember me and look in my direction. Their personal security guard, Dale, is an old friend of mine…we give each other that look of “Here we go again!”
10:58 p.m., V mag party: Mario Testino arrives with some male models in a Rolls-Royce. We snap some shots outside then he comes up to me and asks to see the pix. I show him and he likes them. He gets in the elevator and a few of us get in with him. Some others want to get in, too, so he pulls a diva trip and tells them to get the next one, he doesn’t want to be crowded, says he has a phobia.
11:15 p.m., I see Lindsay Lohan and try to get a shot. She ducks me, but I manage to get one. Then she comes over to me and says that if I delete the one I just took, she will pose for me. So I did and she did.
9:11 a.m., Ralph Lauren show: Decided to take the subway to the Ralph Lauren show instead of a taxi. The subway had delays and I sweated it out. Just made it to Ralph on time. It’s such a controlled show. If I miss the arrival time, they won’t let me in. They have us wait until the front row is seated then they escort us out to the runway—we get the shots in like five minutes, then they escort us out of the venue.
1:34 p.m., Calvin Klein show: It starts to rain and there is a huge line for photogs to get in. I did the chat and cut—said hello to some friend in the front of the line, then cut in with them. Once inside, we were required to wear shoe covers, or “shoe condoms,” to keep the runway white. Ladies with lint brushes were cleaning the seats.
9:45 p.m., Marc Jacobs show: Only a few celebs. Got a great spot to shoot runway ambience next to Bill Cunningham. The show started on time and was very cool, as Marc always is. Lots of fringe and plastic. One of my ambience shots makes Page One the next day!
10:24 p.m., Calvin Klein party: Thrilled “Fashion Eight Days” is finally over. Snap shots of Uma Thurman, Naomi Watts and Francisco Costa. Toasted my fellow image-making warriors. Guzzled four glasses of Champagne to celebrate. Completely wiped out but totally stoked!