The Creator Of NYFW's Account Of 9/11 Will Give You Chills

Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images.
When said out loud, "Fashion Week" has a double meaning — and for anyone who's ever been a part of all the action, feeling weak is not only par for the course, it's often the reason we love fashion to begin with. So, in honor of the moments of chaos, beauty, and excitement that made us feel weak, we present My Fashion Week-ness: a compilation of accounts from some of the industry's biggest players. They're spilling their most memorable stories from Fashion Weeks gone by, and the ones that keep them coming back for more.

When we sat down with Fern Mallis, the creator of New York Fashion Week (we're not kidding), we knew she'd have stories to share. Mallis has spearheaded the beast that is FW for over 20 years and thanks to her, designers still have venues to show at today.
Mallis wears many hats. She's a boss — though a team player (warmer than your typical ice queen) — a mom, lover of biscotti, and now, the executive adviser of the shows at Pier59 Studios. Overcome with both chills and ease (if you've ever had the fortune of meeting her, you'd know exactly what we're referring to), we asked Mallis to tell us a story that made a serious impact on her life and she shared her experience from the morning of September 11, 2001, when the tents had to come down.

"And then, I was racing down to the tents on the morning of 9/11," she said. "Is that a fashion moment that made me crazy? But there you were, trying to put on fashion shows when the world came to an end. I had to go backstage to several people and different designers to tell them to stop what they were doing, we’d just been attacked by terrorists. Grab your things and go be with your loved ones. It was one of the most unbelievable days of my life.

"And at some point, you say, 'What are we doing? Putting on fashion shows? Who cares about fashion shows and girls walking down a runway?' I think anybody not in a civil service job at that point felt like what they did didn’t matter. Those were the moments.
"But I’ve watched crazies in the tents. I’ve watched people do everything under the sun to lie and cheat their way into venues and sneak into things...And security has told me about the hoards of people who have gone right up to their faces and told them they were me. And they said, 'Eh, I don’t think so...'"

For all things Fashion Week around the world — including street style snaps, designer news, and the trends you'd actually wear — head over to Refinery29's Fashion Month hub.

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