The front row at fashion shows isn't just a declaration of status (though, for many people, it certainly is the most important aspect of it). It's also a tool to aid in doing actual work that's integral to your job (and no, we're not just talking about having a clear shot for Instagram photos). At this week's 92Y interview, Simon Doonan spoke with Fern Mallis, the former executive director of the CFDA and the creator of New York Fashion Week, about the front row.
"At a fashion show now, there's 2,000 people, none of whom are playing a critical role except for the buyers — they're the great unsung heroes of fashion, and I don't know why designers will put a buyer in the third row and some blogger in the first row who's still in diapers," said Doonan. Fern's taking-care-of-business response: "That needs to change."
Though Mallis is not currently directly responsible for the goings-on during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, she is still a force within the industry who doesn't make hollow threats. We've been feeling a negative shift toward bloggers and personalities at Fashion Week, especially as the scene outside Lincoln Center has grown into a parody of itself. Whether the CFDA or NYFW organizers have a real influence on the composition of the front row is unclear — but we'd be surprised if we didn't see some sort of pullback from designers and PR teams, as Fashion Week continues to grow.