New York Fashion Week Notes

So Many Empty Seats

As been noted by The New York Times and others, a number of major designers and many others of lesser light suffered this season from a lot of no shows. I wonder if people are being spread too thin or there is just a growing weariness over all the hype?

For example, we had to struggle to get our editor into a major designer show. The PR firm, who just took over the account and was handling press invites, would not even respond to our requests for a seat. ( I am not mentioning any names to protect the innocent – mostly us LOL) We have covered this show for at least 10 years before this season. I had to call the designer’s people directly before we could get an invite. When she got there, she was given standing room while empty seats abounded.

There has always been a suspicion of mine some PR firms would rather have empty seats than to invite those who they deem not worthy of an invitation. This holds true especially for shows like Rodarte whose brands are built on exclusivity. Of course, you can be invited to a show for years and then, when the designer changes PR firms, you find yourself no longer on the new publicist’s A list.

Editorial: Babes In Arms

 The New York Times also reported today on all those VIP’s who are bringing their toddlers and newborns into fashion shows. Frankly, I am sure it is not because they cannot afford a babysitter. Besides the health and safety issues involved, here is another example of ego driven behavior. These parents are showing off their status as being so important they can bring in their children and get seats for them. The publicists don’t have the nerve to say no – least they should offend one of them. This is an issue that PR firms do not want to deal with. So they don’t. If there is less seating available to others who have a real reason for being there – too bad, they can stand. It is not as important as providing seats to VIP’s kids (and for that matter their grand children, maids, daughter-in-laws, etc, etc, etc). 

 Reminds me of years ago a former fashion editor of New York Magazine (initials are MB for those who remember her) brought in her photographer husband, two kids, her maid and her dog into a Marc Jacobs show. Standing outside were members of the out-of-town-press who could not get in. I turned to one of them and said: “See where you stand with the designer’s publicist? They will let the dog in but not you.”

– Ernest Schmatolla

And here from one of our devout readers is Joshua Patner. Read his comments about the above editorial. I have always said, if you dish it, you have to be able to take it. So here we are taking it: 

Joshua says: Nonsense like this serves to prove PRs are right to protect their clients from your silliness. I do find reading it so entertaining however; it’s a secret pleasure like tacky HGTV. Of course you all will never look at your own work – terrible writing, no command of punctuation, spelling, proof-reading, your miniscule personal vendettas, the banal taste of your “editors”.



Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.

1 Comment
  1. It's not just the press that gets screwed over. I remember a few seasons ago Italian Vogue's photographer got turned away from Proenza Schouler due to a small RSVP screwup. More importantly for the designers, the buyers have difficulty getting deceit seats for the shows. I realize NYFW is technically press week and the buyers have market week afterward for private appointments, but if I was a buyer and asked to go to a show, got standing room only, and saw reality television wackos on the front row, I would not be making that showroom appointment. I think a lot of those flippant catty PR decisions probably hurt the designers' businesses significantly more than most people realize. With current practices, they tend to manufacture little insults in bulk for wholesale distribution. There are some great publicists in this business, but they seem to be a minority.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.