Fashion Industry Insiders Dish: My Most Embarrassing Fashion Week Moment

Here's the thing about fashion week: it's ripe for embarrassing moments. Why? Everyone gets dressed to the nines, wears their highest heels, and is so worried about how they look, and how everyone else thinks they look, that when something goes awry cheeks instantly go bright red. And it doesn't help that everyone is looking down at their phones when they should be looking at the rope of wires that's about to trip them. We've spent the last few days poling everyone from editors to stylists to designers for their most embarrassing moments. And they really are embarrassing. Read about Simon Doonan having his fly unzipped at a very inopportune time, Jenna Lyons getting moved from her front row seat, Betsey Johnson's g-string slip, and many, many , more. Remember YM? Consider this the "Say Anything" for the fashion industry.
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Leah Chernikoff
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Here's the thing about fashion week: it's ripe for embarrassing moments. Why? Everyone gets dressed to the nines, wears their highest heels, and is so worried about how they look, and how everyone else thinks they look, that when something goes awry cheeks instantly go bright red. And it doesn't help that everyone is looking down at their phones when they should be looking at the rope of wires that's about to trip them. We've spent the last few days poling everyone from editors to stylists to designers for their most embarrassing moments. And they really are embarrassing. Read about Simon Doonan having his fly unzipped at a very inopportune time, Jenna Lyons getting moved from her front row seat, Betsey Johnson's g-string slip, and many, many , more. Remember YM? Consider this the "Say Anything" for the fashion industry.
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Here's the thing about fashion week: it's ripe for embarrassing moments.

Why? Everyone gets dressed to the nines, wears their highest heels, and is so worried about how they look, and how everyone else thinks they look, that when something goes awry cheeks instantly go bright red. And it doesn't help that everyone is looking down at their phones when they should be looking at the rope of wires that's about to trip them. We've spent the last few days poling everyone from editors to stylists to designers for their most embarrassing moments. And they really are embarrassing.

Read about Simon Doonan having his fly unzipped at a very inopportune time, Jenna Lyons getting moved from her front row seat, Betsey Johnson's g-string slip, and many, many, more (including my own). Remember YM? Consider this the "Say Anything" for the fashion industry. Photos: Getty unless otherwise noted

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Jenna Lyons, President of J.Crew

I had a moment when I was sitting in the front row--a seat that someone had kindly given me--and as the show was about to start someone walked in who was way more important than me and they had to take me out of the seat and put me in the very back row...in front of everyone. I don't want to out the people whose show it was, but it happened just last year.

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Betsey Johnson

Oh, probably a G-string on the runway. I come out sometimes in my jeans, and my jeans are very very low cut. I was doing a cartwheel or whatever and of course my pants are down to there and there's my Cosabella black G-string….

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Simon Doonan, Creative Ambassador-at-Large at Barneys

The most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me at fashion week was having a long deep very intellectual conversation with a certain high very fauncy aristocratic fashionista from England and realizing that my fly was undone the whole time.

What show was this?

It was in the '90s. It might have been Lacroix, sweetie, Lacroix. People tend to be very concerned about not doing anything embarrassing, it's like the opposite of being in a sports bar. It would be great if more embarrassing things happened.

Actually everyone I've asked has some decently embarrassing stories.

Girls are just innately embarrassing. There's always something going on with a brassiere exploding. There's so much that can go wrong. With boys, that's what we do, we belch and fart and do weird things. If I was a girl I'd definitely has a sex change and become a really weird F to M. Maybe that's what I am. People think I am probably.

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Michael Kors

Definitely when the ceiling fell in on my show in the 90's, that was definitely embarrassing.

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Tommy Hilfiger

When Naomi Campbell was walking down the runway and her dress split—there was a seamstress sort of chasing her down the runway with a needle and thread.

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Joanna Hillman, senior fashion market editor at Harper's Bazaar

I was wearing my sunglasses in Milan when I was working at Teen Vogue and I walked into Dolce—which you know is a very dark show—not realizing that there was a lucite runway, and ran right into it with my legs and they were bleeding. Paparazzi were trying to take my picture.

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Mary Kate Steinmiller, Teen Vogue

At the Gerlan Jeans S/S 2010 show, I was seated on the right side of the runway. Eager to run out and catch a taxi right when the show ended, I made a mad dash for the door on the other side of the runway as soon as the lights in the show went up. At that point most people were still in their seats. As I crossed the runway, of course my heels slipped on the runway, and I fell. A full on wipeout, nothing cute, or discreet about it, in front of everyone at the show. I thought I would just recover quickly, stand up, and continue my run out, but my dear friend, and Gerlan’s publicist at the time, Matt Kays, saw me, and without skipping a beat stopped me and yelled into his headset (which presumably was broadcast to the entire show staff) “EDITOR DOWN. WE HAVE AN EDITOR DOWN ON THE RUNWAY. MARY KATE STEINMILLER HAS HIT THE RUNWAY.” Even today, when I saw him at my first show and I was wearing sneakers, not heels, he said “Oh, you wore Nikes so you don’t wipe out on the runway again?”

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Robin Givhan, Newsweek/Daily Beast

I think it was either a Margiela show or an Hermes show in Paris and all the seats were these very spare old wooden chairs and when i went to sit in mine it just shattered. It wasn't as if just one leg fell off, it was that the entire chair fell apart. But I guess it's not so embarrassing because this is the amazing part of it: I literally had just started to go into sit, and my tushy was maybe an inch above the chair, and that's when it shattered--I wasn't even sitting in it yet. So I didn't fall. I guess it's due to all those lunges I do on the gym--it's the only reason I wasn't on my back on the floor.

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Ann Slowey, Fashion News Director at Elle

It actually involves Nicole [Phelps, who was sitting right next to her at Rag & Bone]. She had left W and Women's Wear to come work for me at Elle and Patrick McCarthy [former editor of W] who I had equal measure of respect and fear for came up to me on the steps of the tents and said 'Didn't I treat you well? Didn't I give you great opportunities?' I said 'Yes, yes! I had no idea what he was mad about. I said ask Nicole--ask her how she feels! I got so unnerved and rattled by the whole experience I left my coat at the show and it was such a beautiful coat. It stayed with me for years.

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Brad Goreski, stylist

Um, isn't every day of fashion week kind of embarrassing?

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Kristian Laliberte, Refinery29

OK, so when Alex Wang had his party at the gas station Jame LaForce was like, will you down this bottle of Belvedere [a sponsor] for a picture? I was a lot younger so I was like, 'Yes!' So I took this full bottle of Belvedere, tried to chug it, spilled it all over myself, choked it up, and literally the picture is...I just looked like a lush.

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Lauren Sherman, former Fashionista editor

We were at the Alexander Wang party two years ago, the carnival one. I was there with a bunch of former and present Fashionista editors and we were talking to Bryan Boy, he's awesome, and he was there with Rumi Neely, aka Fashion Toast, who I think is really beautiful and has done an amazing job with her business but I had made a comment on the blog once about how her style was really similar to Erin Wasson's. I didn't mean it as a nasty thing when I wrote it, I just said it matter-of-factly, but when Bryan introduced us to Rumi she turned around and said 'You guys hate me.' I just kind of stared and I didn't know what to say...and it was super awkward and I felt bad but it was also amazing. It was half terrifying half hilarious.

Photo: Styleite

Photo: Styleite

Izzy Grinspan, editor Racked NY

Three seasons ago I walked into the tent on the first day feeling like a rock star and then looked down and realized my skirt was on backwards.

Photo: Lucky

Photo: Lucky

Laurel Pinson, NBC's The Thread (and Taxi TV, obvi)

Anyone who’s been to a show at Milk Studios knows that the benches lining the runway aren’t necessarily the most balanced when it comes to weight distribution. Well, during the Spring 2011 shows, I was not exactly traveling light — toting a laptop, a camera, and a loaded handbag — and I arrived at an afternoon show just early enough that there wasn’t anyone else seated on my bench. I plopped down towards the end of the bench, and woomp! The bench see-sawed, the opposite end went up in the air, and I went down on the ground. I don’t think my cheeks returned to their normal color until the next show. (At the very least, I’m in good company: Andre Leon Tally suffered a similar fate the same season.)

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Leah Chernikoff, executive editor Fashionista

A few years ago, before I was at Fashionista, I was hustling to get from Christian Siriano--which was at Bryant Park--to Alexander Wang on the West Side Highway. It was raining and I had around 10 minutes to get there and I knew I had no shot at a cab. So I did the only thing I could think to do: Pedicab. And because I knew I had to get there fast, I picked the craziest looking rider I could find--the one wearing a chain-mail vest type thing that appeared to be fashioned out of old hubcaps. "He will get me to Alex Wang on time!" I thought. So off we go and he is fast. Excellent. Only all of a sudden I'm almost ejected from my seat and my blackberry bounces off the little plastic covering I was enclosed in because of the rain. We hit a parked car. 'Oops' he yelled back to me. 'Sorry, I saw a horse, I got distracted.' You can't make this shit up. I was fine. And I made it to Wang on time.