Fashion might be a spectator sport, but that doesn’t mean the sidelines are free of bumps and bruises. The collections are no stranger to pain, with ordeals ranging from pushy swarms of paparazzi to the now-notorious tales of front-row disasters past (Suzy Menkes’ run-in with falling ceiling debris at Michael Kors circa 1990, anyone?).
This story first appeared in the November 11, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
SMOKE SHOW: BCBG Max Azria kicked off fashion week with a bang—or rather, a flame. During a makeup test, a fire erupted backstage at the brand’s Broadway showroom. Despite the momentary chaos, makeup artist Val Garland kept calm and carried on, simply requesting that a nearby window be opened.
NEED A LIFT? A bevy of editors found themselves trapped following the Philosophy by Natalie Ratabesi show when the venue’s freight elevator stalled between two floors. Fire trucks soon arrived at the West 34th Street location, saving the likes of Suzy Menkes and Lucky’s Eva Chen as they climbed ladders to safety.
ON THE FLOOR: On the miserably wet first night of the London shows, MAC Cosmetics held a dinner at Somerset House to celebrate Miles Aldridge’s latest photo exhibition. Upon making her way into the party, Daphne Guinness lost her footing as she hit a particularly slippery patch of marble. The audience for the fall was mercifully small, save for the MAC p.r. team, who quickly chirped orders for mops and towels, “because Daphne Guinness just slipped!”
TOWER OF TERROR: This season, Peter Dundas carried on his tradition of hosting Pucci’s runway show at Palazzo Serbelloni. Ornamented with gilded decor, Italian marble and opulent murals, the Corso Venezia show space remains one of Milan’s most stunning venues—and perhaps also one of its most dangerous. With no modern elevator in place, showgoers must climb the single spiraling staircase up several stories to the runway space. Same goes for the post-show rush to exit, causing a chaotic pileup, not to mention overall fire hazard. But for some editors, the risk was twofold this season, as Fausto Puglisi also showed in the treacherous palace.
FLIGHT RISK: While making the trip from Milan to Paris, an Air France flight filled with the fashion flock, including Glenda Bailey, Linda Wells and Mark Lee, was forced to abort its landing only moments from touchdown, due to “adverse runway conditions.” The plane lurched upward and proceeded to circle for an additional 15 minutes before finally pulling in to Charles de Gaulle.
HOT FLASH: It was a particularly steamy September, with temperatures in New York hitting 96 degrees. While some viewed the weather as an excuse to prolong their summer wardrobe, others simply couldn’t handle the heat. At Clover Canyon’s Lincoln Center presentation, several models standing under the James Turrell-inspired neon lights were helped off the stage after nearly fainting. By the weeks’ end, the Marc Jacobs team was coping with its own heat wave. As a balmy rainstorm raged on outside, soaked guests ducked into the Lexington Avenue Armory only to be met with even more extreme conditions: ovenlike heat clearing triple digits, all thanks to a non-existent air-conditioning system and poor circulation. To help beat the heat, KCD staffers doled out mini bottles of Fiji water and portable paper fans throughout the (appropriately enough) beach-themed set. Those thinking ahead smartly stashed these show favors, as the heat held up throughout Europe—and while beautiful and chock full of history, those old Victorian venues aren’t equipped with modern ventilation.