An overused way to describe fashion week is that it's like a high school reunion. But people describe it that way a lot because it's true: If you've worked in the fashion industry for more than a couple of years, fashion week is the time when you run into everyone--the boss who fired you, the assistant you fired, the intern who got too wasted that one time and puked in the office, the stylist who still makes you quake with fear even though it's been years since she threw that salad at your face because you forgot to pick out the nuts. And even though everyone is gossiping like mad, you have to make nice and pretend to be breezily OK with all of it.
And this is where the fashion week greeting comes in. You have to say hi to all these people whether you like it or not. So we're going to break it down for you and try to get you through these greetings with the least amount of awkwardness. There are basically three main ways to greet people during fashion week. And since Nora happens to be a super talented illustrator as well as a hilarious writer, we got her to depict each one.
The Single Air Kiss.
This is the standard fashion week greeting. Seems simple but it has high awkwardness potential and varied approaches.
For example: Some people get so much air in their air kiss they are half a foot away from you when they go in for the hello. We recommend this approach for germaphobes and for people you don't like. And if you've got on bold lipstick. It's not nice to plant a big lipstick mark on someone's cheek (again, unless you don't like them).
And which way do you lean in? Most editors I've asked this week lean in to the left. But if you waver, or the person you're greeting starts to go right, you could end up kissing someone on the lips. Oops! We recommend this tactic for when you meet someone you'd actually like to smooch like Ryan Lochte or Jenna Lyons.
The Double Cheek European Kiss
The standard greeting when you're in Paris or Milan fashion weeks. But also, strangely, it's become more and more common here in New York with non-Europeans. Be prepared for it. After you've done the air kiss on the first cheek, remain highly alert to see if the person seems like they're about to switch sides.
The Limp Handshake
This is my pet peeve so you're about to get an earful.
I love a handshake--it's my preferred way to greet people. It's unpretentious and warm at the same time (though I understand it's not always possible when you're holding a bag, a drink, and a phone). But you gotta have a firm grip and look the person in the eye. I can't tell you how many times over the past five years I've been doing this that I've been introduced to someone who offers their hand (while looking somewhere else because they couldn't be less interested in meeting me) and just sort of lets it hang there. What am I supposed to do with that? Kiss it? Milk it as if it were an udder (actually, maybe I will do that next time this happens to me)?
Please. Let's make this stop.