I crashed my first fashion show shortly after I moved to New York City. It was the early ’90s and I was going to school at FIT, and Fashion Week was an exciting and nerve-wracking thing for me. It was exciting because it was the world I wanted to live in, and nerve-wracking because I was still trying to get an invite into this world. A fashion-obsessed student is a dime a dozen. Through some sleuthing, I learned that Marc Jacobs was showing his Perry Ellis collection downtown in a Soho loft—when Soho was cool—and I knew I needed to get in.
Dressed in a Jean Paul Gaultier woman’s blazer I had bought at Century 21 with skinny jeans and probably a brooch of some sort (no joke), I braved the door. But I knew I couldn’t just look the part (this is what I thought "the part" was back then), so I armed myself with a business card from a Canadian buyer—a woman—and pushed my way to the girl with the clipboard at the door. In the mad rush, she let me in.
Inside was Anna Wintour, the new editor of Vogue. Carla Bruni, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss, and Naomi Campbell were on the runway. Every supermodel was there. Even standing pinned against a wall, I didn’t want to be anywhere else. The music was loud, the crowd was poker-faced, and the girls were within arm’s reach. The show lasted 15 minutes but the memories lasted my entire career: It was the infamous Marc Jacobs grunge collection for Perry Ellis.
I loved the show that night, and not because this one show would go on to live in infamy. I was a kid, it was Fashion Week, and I got in! I had a goal, mission accomplished, and that was exciting enough.
In the following years, I would go on to sit front and center at many other monumental fashion-history-making shows, but this one would always be my first. Last month I delivered the manuscript for my book, in which I spent the better part of a year recounting other incredibly colorful fashion moments that have made up my career. During that writing process, I developed a new appreciation of all the iconic moments that I’ve been privileged enough to witness and participate in.
You might not know you’re witnessing fashion history when you do, but when it hits you, it makes everything so much more rewarding. For me, that Marc Jacobs show was my reward. And that’s what makes me love fashion the way I do.