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top five show disasters to avoid this fashion month

The biannual fashion weeks in New York, London, Paris, and Milan, are as highly planned and organized as the Papal travel schedule. Yet regardless of how many men in black and PR reps in headsets are scurrying around, disaster strikes. Here are a few...

by Becca Endicott
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Sep 10 2015, 6:40pm

HEELS: One of the most common missteps of Fashion Week is the long, brutal fall from a pair of sky-high heels. Though heel-related traumas can plague just about anyone, from upscale editors to upstart bloggers, this particular Fashion Week disaster is typically the domain of the runway models. Overworked and exhausted from stomping down countless catwalks, their feet awkwardly stuck into ill-fitting shoes, it's almost inevitable that every model will at some point miscalculate a stiletto-clad step on the stage and find herself on the floor. It even happened to Naomi Campbell.

FIRE: Plenty of designers have found ways to include fiery effects in their shows, some actually setting the stage on fire (ahem, Roberto Cavalli). Of course, fire is also, ya know, somewhat dangerous, and a few Fashion Week events have had the misfortune of exploring first hand. During the spring/summer 14 showings last fall, a fire broke out backstage during BCBG Max Azria's pre-show make-up tests. Less than a year later, Thierry Mugler's Resort 2015 buyers' show at Milk Studios was interrupted by a fire that started in a storage space one story up. In both cases, the flames were dealt with swiftly and no one was hurt (with the possible exception of some très cher Lanvin resort-wear.) Moreover, during the Mugler incident, the fashion set capitalized on the moment by taking selfies with hot firemen. Enterprising.


STREAKERS: Not to be mistaken for nearly-nude models, streakers have their own proud legacy at Fashion Week. Prabal Gurung's fall/winter 14 show was comedically interrupted by a thong-and-crown clad streaker with a history of pulling similar pranks. Gurung apparently found the interruption funny and took to donning his own gold crown with Eva Chen at the after-party. But Prabal's prankster was a slightly toned-down iteration of a similar stunt that briefly halted the Dolce and Gabbana show the previous season. During the brand's spring/summer 14 show, a German streaker clad only in running shoes and Tom Ford sunglasses made his runway debut by posing as a German fashion editor and rushing the stage.

STRANDED EDITORS: Suzy Menkes, Amy Astley, Eva Chen, and Virginia Smith (among others) were trapped in a freight elevator below 34th Street after the Philosophy by Natalie Ratabesi spring/summer 14 show. Much like the fire incident at Milk, the editors cheerfully used the moment as an unusual photo-op. Eva Chen even live-tweeted the experience. When the doors of the elevator were eventually forced open at the street level, some of the industry's most influential tastemakers found themselves scrambling up a ladder to solid ground. Months later, history repeated itself when Andre Leon Talley and ten other editors were stranded for 45 minutes following Oscar de la Renta. Moral of the story: take the stairs.


WARDROBE MALFUNCTION: "Wardrobe malfunction" is a nice, broad category covering any number of sartorial humiliations that might arise during Fashion Week. Like clothing ripping, heels breaking, and white t-shirts in a downpour. Or accidental matching, which Solange Knowles and the Misshapes' Leigh Lezark demonstrated when they accidentally wore the same thing to Noon by Noor's spring/summer 14 show. Even more awkward? They were seated right next to each other in the front row.

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Text Becca Endicott