MILAN–Before I get into my morning adventure, let me explain the fashion bus.
At pretty much every fashion week other than New York, there is a bus that those who don’t hire a private car can take from show to show. In general you need to have registered with whomever runs the fashion week to be able to use this service, but it’s common knowledge that they’re pretty loose with this rule.
In London, I use the fashion bus now and again. In Paris and Milan I rarely take it, mostly because every time I have I’ve been late to the next show.
But this morning after leaving Bottega Veneta, I was in a bind. We were in the middle of nowhere, without an available taxi in site. I saw a sign for the bus and decided to wait in line. Soon enough it pulled up, with several empty buses behind it. Unfortunately, only about five people were allowed to board.
Why? Because the rest of us–I’d say about 10 people in total–didn’t have our Milan Fashion Week passes. (Some claimed that they had forgotten theirs–I simply kept silent, because I hadn’t registered officially.) But the Camera Moda attendants wouldn’t budge. No one was going to be allowed access without a badge. (Camera Moda is the organization that puts together MFW.)
Usually at this point I would have scooted off, but then things started to get good, so I decided to stick around to see what would happen.
The problem for the Camera Moda people who were not allowing us to get on the bus was that this wasn’t a group of hangers on. There were some major fashion critics there, including someone from the AP, a big German newspaper and also Godfrey Deeny, the editor of Fashion Wire Daily. (If you go to the shows, he’s the tall guy with white hair (in a caesar cut) who is pretty much always wearing a fur-collared overcoat.) Anyways, Mr. Deeny got pretty angry over this whole thing, as he should, because not only did the attendants know him, but he had used his pass the day before with the main door blocker, Matteo. Finally, after Deeny had a stern chat with the attendants’ boss, we were finally allowed to board the bus. Of course, it was terribly late by the time we got to Armani and most people decided to wait for the second showing. I ran in, though, and watched from a spot near the pit.
Anyways, I videotaped most of this fiasco, because it was kind of hilarious. But here are the main takeaways:
1. Matteo: You need to use common sense and not worry about your boss so much. You will always be defeated by pushy reporters!
2. Reporters, buyers, editors: When in doubt, register for whatever fashion week you’re going to, even if you think it’s a waste of money and time.
3. Organizers: Think about following London’s example and drop the registration cost. You can make up the money with another sponsor. In reality, the only people who actually register–the newbies–are the ones who can’t afford a private car. They’re also typically the ones who need access to the press room, press contacts, etc.
4. Everyone: Do not mess with Godfrey Deeny.