Crazy, Insane Stories from New York Fashion Week

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From the outside New York Fashion Week (NYFW) must look like a well-oiled machine. Calm, cool, collected people working hard with grace and drive. Not so, well sometimes not so!!

There are many times win NYFW is not a well-oiled event. Models trip and fall. Clothing seams rip seconds before a garment is supposed to walk down the runway. You could arrive at a venue only to realize you don’t have a steamer for all your wrinkled clothes. Antsy PR interns make your life a living hell.

Fashion Reverie has curated a few stories that highlight how crazy NYFW can be behind the scenes. Some of these stories are legendary, other stories are well-guarded secrets. Well, not anymore!!

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Suzy Menkes

There is not a huge amount of folks who remember what NYFW was like before Bryant Park or Lincoln Center. Before NYFW took up residence at those hallowed venues, fashion designers did the best they could staging their fashion shows at whatever venues that could get.

Michael Kors had acquired a loft space for his fall 1991 show. During the show the ceiling at the loft space fell and hit famed fashion editor Suzy Menkes in the head and bits and pieces of the ceiling fell on The New York Times editor Carrie Donovan. Apparently, the bass was so loud from the music, the ceiling came apart and descended on the guests.

“We were on look six, and I heard a huge explosion. I thought someone got shot,” Kors once explained of the moment. “A model said ‘No, the ceiling caved in and hit Suzy Menkes.’”

Fortunately, no one was hurt. However, this fashion shot heard around the world, so to speak, caused Fern Mallis, who was then the head of the CFDA, to look for a permanent place for NYFW. “Michael is really the shot heard from Sarajevo that started the war,” Mallis has said of the moment. “It was the ceiling collapse over his show that caused me to organize Fashion Week. Before the organized shows, if there were 50 shows, there were 50 locations.”

In 1993, NYFW moved to Bryant Park, facilitated by Fern Mallis’ company, Seventh on Six. In 2010 NYFW moved to Lincoln Center.

Image courtesy of Carol Alt

Carol Alt
During fashion week 2010, I was headed up to Lincoln Center. Moving NYFW to Lincoln Center was new and I was excited about going. But I also knew that I was going to have to fight my way in the back door. I knew everybody at Bryant Park. But this was a new set of security people.

As I was two blocks away from the receiving line backstage, and the new security, my dress zipper just let go. It just ripped open. And my dress was literally falling off me. It wasn’t a warm day by any means. 

And the photographers met me as I stepped out of the car …  I remember running, pushing everybody on the way, and running past everyone.

That was not my usual way of being and everyone was concerned—the back-door security tried to stop me but once they saw my dress, they let me go. I ran backstage where I was intercepted by Nicole Miller who looked at me, looked at the dress, grabbed my arm and ushered me to a corner. She pulled a new dress right off the runway and handed it on me. 

She said go back out and do your thing. I threw the new dress on which she helped me do … I then proceeded to turn around, walk back outside and pose for the photographers on the red carpet! 

Thank God Nicole was so quick thinking … This is my introduction to NYFW at Lincoln Center. 

Carol Alt is a supermodel, television host, actress, entrepreneur, and author who has appeared on over 700 covers including Vogue, Sports Illustrated, People Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and many others.

She was the host of her own television shows, “A Healthy You with Carol Alt” on Fox News and “Carol Alt’s Living Room” on FNL. She’s appeared in over 60 films.

Image courtesy of Amanda Fields

Amanda Fields

I was booked fora big show and this show producer wanted to do a fitting for all the girls at the same time. She gathered the models together and had a great way of looking at us in the clothes and then have the models swap outfits then and there. One of the girls was having a really hard time with a pair of boots. She was an experienced model so it wasn’t that she could not walk in them due to her abilities … one shoe would not go on her foot. They were the correct size, but the way it was made did not allow her foot to slide into it.

They said they would get another pair for the show.

Cut to the show day … I now have that look. And … those shoes.

Unbeknownst to me they seemed like a fine pair. I had assumed they’d replaced the faulty boot.

It’s mid show, I had already walked in my other two looks, and now it was time to change to my last look of the show.

I get dressed, feel good, and put one shoe on and get to the other and my foot stops short. I think it could have been the way they attached the mid sole … the area that would go over the top of the center of your foot … along with the material. I was almost in a panic … I wanted to be professional and not let the designer down! This look had to go out on the runway!!

It took not one, not two, but three dressers to help me get my foot in the boot! I felt like the ugly stepsisters in Cinderella trying to put on the glass slipper!

Finally, literally with only one more model left in line before I was supposed to walk out, my foot made it in. Then, I had to instantaneously collect myself and have a calm face and strut like it was the easiest shoe of my life.

No one was the wiser. One of the stylists from that show to this day remembers that moment and we still work together and laugh about it all the time!!

Amanda Fields is a model based in Los Angeles. She has appeared on many television shows and films including “Project Runway,” “A Star is Born,” “La La Land,” and more. Amanda has also worked with many top designers including Monique Lhuillier, Randolph Duke, Alberta Ferretti, Badgley Mischka, Christian Siriano, Nikolaki, Christian Audigier, and Malan Breton.

You can find her on social media @therunwayqueen across all platforms.


 Photo by Talaya Centeno/Penske Media/REX/Shutterstock (6064690ab)
Miguel Adrover
Miguel Adrover Fall 2012 RTW, New York

R Scott French talks about Miguel Adrover, late 1990’s

Miguel Adrover was showing a collection inspired by the nomad shepherds of the Middle East.  Adrover chose to show his collection in a very small, deconstructed venue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  The venue was on an upper floor or rooftop of this building.  There was one entrance in and out, leaving many to feel they were in a fire hazard scenario.  To further complicate matters, he also “cast” a herd of goats to walk on his runway for his finale. 

Obviously, this all spelled a recipe for disaster. The show begins, the finale arrives, and the goats refused to walk the runway, leaving models to pull their sheep down the runway.  Some goats jumped into the audience to escape the cacophony of the music and lights.  It was a disaster; however, it got worse.

As some were leaving the show, Anna Wintour was seen downstairs contemplating going in, but chose to leave when she saw the reality of the situation.  The PR team said that Anna Wintour left due to feeling unsafe and/or due to her busy schedule not allowing her to stay. However, some PR folks detailed that the exchange at check-in claimed that some junior members of the PR team didn’t recognize Anna and  told her that they could not let her into the show as she “was not on the list.” 

Adrover was the darling of industry for several years and it was widely known that Anna was his media mentor.  My call, Anna was told she wasn’t on the list and left.

Adrover was being investigated by the CIA in wake of 9/11 due to his seeming obsession with Middle Eastern inspirations.  He soon shuttered his doors and now runs a coffee café in his native Majorca, Spain.

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William S. Gooch, III

Okay, I’m just going to say this, if you have a job at the shows at NYFW and you DON’T know who Fern Mallis is, go home. Pack up your things. Find another way to earn a living. We’re going to stick a fork in you because you’re done!

Fern Mallis is hailed as the Godmother of Fashion, she didn’t create NYFW, but she helmed and shaped it into the creature is it today. She is the benevolent ruler of New York fashion and a woman who has a well-earned reputation as being both extremely hard working and extremely kind, never one to stomp her foot and say, “Do you know who I am?”

It was July 2017, and everyone is in the line to get into a show at Clarkson Studios during Men’s Fashion Week.  Fern Mallis walks up to the head of the line and asks to be let into the show. The 19-year-old intern in charge of the clipboard gives her a dismissive “hmmm” before declaring, “Sorry you’re not the list.”

At this point, the line goes BONKERS. Random people are saying, “Hey she’s Fern Mallis, you need to let her in!” That should have been a clue that the intern needed to radio a supervisor or call someone else for help. The intern did none of those things. The intern casually told Fern Mallis, “you’re not on the list.”

People are yelling at Fern, “I’m making a call! I’m sending a text! We’ll get this figured out.” Fern, ever the queen of polite casually waved people off and said “don’t make a fuss. I’ll see if I can find someone to talk to,” and walked away.

She found someone within seconds to help. A higher-up organizing the show accompanied Fern to the runway show, explaining to ushers (who immediately recognized her) that Fern was a VIP, who needed a front-row seat and maybe a bottle of water!!

Once Fern was safely inside, the producer now loudly screaming at the weeping intern in full view of the line that she was FIRED!

image courtesy of

Cameron Grey Rose

I was hired as a production assistant for a NYFW show. We were the first show of the day at 9 am. We began arriving at 6 am, tripping over ourselves, walking into walls trying to remember where we put our coffee down. The models were arriving and the ones who were already made up were taking naps on the floor; however, others were sitting next to them waiting for their turn to get in the makeup chairs.

One thing that should be noted, to save money on labor, many designers recruit volunteers from FIT and other design schools. The volunteers are often very young, lacking experience and maturity. For many, it will be their first professional NYFW experience.

I knew for a fact when they were recruited, they were told explicitly not to wear makeup. There was too much risk it would transfer to the clothes. I had personally bought a couple of tubs of makeup remover wipes just in case a few didn’t listen.

I was sorting through some accessories while yawning when I heard the designer clap his hands. “Everyone, the makeup is for the models ONLY! If you are not walking in the shows get out of the makeup chairs and wash your face!”  

I was stunned. Who was he talking to? I then watched in horror as a FIT volunteer tried to discreetly slink out of a makeup chair. I was so angry. I grabbed a tub and marched right up to her, telling her to scrub that makeup off right now! I even did that angry Mom thing of once she had wiped the makeup off, I grabbed her chin and turned her face to check her jawline for foundation.

If any of that makeup had transferred to the clothes they could have been ruined!

—Cameron Grey Rose


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