Photographed by Ben Sklar.
If there's one thing The New York Times does best when it comes to fashion, it's not getting sucked into the scene. Whether in a badass way (see: all of Vanessa Friedman's articles), or in a "Dad, it's time to go home now" way (see: various out-of-touch trend pieces), these reporters are decidedly outsiders, which helps them maintain a sense of objectivity throughout an event that can seem to be all about popular opinion. However, we'd never expect the newspaper of record to have a sense of humor about one of Fashion Week's biggest taboos: occupying the very back row.
Ruth la Ferla found herself in the last rows at Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, and Carolina Herrera. But, instead of throwing a fit or shrinking into the shadows (or, just leaving the show completely, as we've seen some editors do), she went the route of a real, honest reporter: She reported. "It was a challenge just to do [our jobs]," she explained, about the prestigious editors and stylists who couldn't see anything below the models' knees. "Have I somehow ticked off the house publicist," she wrote. "Has my ranking slipped irreparably? Can someone see me up here in fashion purdah?" However, it wasn't all bad: la Ferla quoted a few compatriots speaking about the more laid-back vibe, the discretion, and the opportunities for periscoping that those in the front row never get.
At the end of the day, being able to go to a fashion show is a straight-up privilege, even if writing, selling, and buying clothing is how you earn your living. Back row, standing, and even hanging off the rafters — we'll see you there with a matching grin, Ruth! (NYT)