New York — Among civilians, it’s a little-known fact, but fashion folk are actually a hardy bunch. They are the practical sort who will let little stand in their way, especially when it comes to creating the potential 15-minute moment of glory that is the fashion show. That said, in preparing for this spring season, designers had two additional obstacles to accompany all the usual last-minute mayhem: an early start to fashion week, which will begin a mere two days after Labor Day, and the Republican National Convention, held right in the Garment District.

On Friday morning, Madison Square Garden (still bedecked like an overzealous delegate) and its surrounding environs were just awakening from lockdown. When he was asked if everything was back to normal, a cab driver responded, “Not yet. But it’s OK. Anyway, this is my first day back to work. A lot of us took the week off.”

Well, it was good to hear that cabbies had survived the elephant herd. But had the city’s designers fared as well? The answer: Sort of, but not without a few panic attacks here and there.

Since they expected the city to come to a complete standstill the preceding week, many had built in a cushion to allow for what-ifs. But some what-ifs couldn’t have been anticipated. Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough were forced to redo their prints when they came in wrong. All was well, however, at their Chinatown design studio-cum-apartment on Sunday afternoon, as they pored over model cards for their one-girl-per-look casting with stylist Samira Nasr. Nathan Jenden, creative director of Diane von Furstenberg, for his part, found himself the victim of temporary blindness two weeks ago. “I scratched my left cornea. It was a line sheet that bit me,” said Jenden, who was working in the company’s 37th Street studio on Saturday afternoon. “I just sat in bed for a week, because I mostly see out of my left eye.”

Jenden assessed his company’s level of alert as “mild panic,” which seemed to accurately describe the situation at many other firms, too. Things might have seemed relatively calm at Vera Wang’s plush studio on Friday, but the designer denied it. “We’re seriously freaked out,” said Wang as she and her team worked on a tie-dyed yellow silk dress. “I had no evening dresses four days ago!” On Friday afternoon, Peter Som, whose knits hadn’t yet arrived from Italy, wavered between being relaxed and getting antsy. “I’m thinking about going to the Hamptons for a day,” he said. “But as soon as I say that, I get nervous.” According to Jeffrey Chow, “It’s like being on autopilot. You just go, go, go.”

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