Fashion Comments

My First Time! (At New York Fashion Week)

Written by: Bri Lee

Exactly one week ago I was stuck in awful traffic creeping uptown, sweating under my winter layers, and a full twenty minutes late to my first show at New York Fashion Week. I had a ticket for BCBGMAXAZRIA and it was only my second day working for Zanita. Panicked is an understatement. I was cussing and looking up 5th Avenue at the bumper-to-bumper situation. Ten blocks out I decided I could run faster than the car was travelling – so I did.

IMG_6391In a hot pink, two-piece suit with purple trainers I yelled an apology back to my Uber driver and took off down the sidewalk. Dodging dog walkers and leaping over stacks of newspapers, I counted the streets I passed until I hit 33rd. Skidding round the corner I nearly hit a wall – a wall of street style photographers. Click click SNAP click snap CLICK. I must have looked maniacal with my flushed cheeks and my hair flipping around my face! If I ever get famous, those photos will inevitably resurface.

Fortunately fashion week shows never start on time (I only know this now) and I found my place in the audience with minutes to spare, waving at Zanita as the lights went down and the bass lines of the music started pulsing. The crowd went quiet and a sea of phone lights rose in the dark. In the few seconds before the first model emerged onto the catwalk, I felt a shiver roll over me, but I definitely wasn’t cold. The melody burst forth into the space as the first look went down the runway, and I can barely recall the details of the show that followed – only an overwhelming sense of excitement and wonder.

A runway show is affecting just like live music is. Hundreds of people come together for a shared experience of an art form they all love. It was dramatic like a Baz Luhrmann film. Inspirational like an afternoon at The Met. Exciting like a picnic with a new crush. I came home jabbering a million words a minute and didn’t sleep until 3 am.

In the days that followed, I saw Dion Lee, Karen Walker, Herve Leger, and a bit of Anna Sui. BCBGMAXAZRIA definitely wasn’t my favourite collection of the season, but I had a special experience that morning that I’ll never be able to recreate. The only thing that came close was my backstage access for Zimmermann.


Zanita and I had visited the Zimmermann studio a few days prior to the show and I shot her in one of their incredible bronze dresses. That studio space overlooking the Hudson River was a new kind of magic. Nicky Zimmermann herself talked us through the collection, referring to it (accurately) as “relaxed opulence”. A dozen people were scattered around the loft-style space, tucked behind overloaded tables, and in between bolts of fabric and packed clothes racks. Some were pouring over meters of silks, sewing mirrors onto breast panels, and fixing seams. Light poured in through the high studio windows and played through the hanging silk. We had a delightful morning.

Zimmermann Preview ImageOn the day of the Zimmerman show I saw models get their makeup done, then dress, then have their hair painted, and then walk the show. It gave me a new appreciation for the immensity of effort that goes into a single fashion week show. When the lights went down and the music came on it was a different kind of explosive. My curiosity and wonder from BCBGMAXAZRIA was replaced with admiration and awe.

The same goes for Zanita herself. Seeing New York Fashion Week from start to finish with her as my guide has been an absolute privilege. I couldn’t be more stoked to come on board the Zania Studio team. These people work hard to bring you the best shots, the brightest inspirational stories, and the fullest fashion coverage.

Work worth sprinting for any day of the week.

– Bri
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You Should Also Read:

NYFW and Bloggers From A Bystander
Getting Prepared for New York Fashion Week With Sania & Zanita
What It’s Like to go to New York Fashion Week