Sitting down at this show was a challenge as the gentleman in the Front Row just before us was being fitted with a bulky camera on his shoulder all on top of a heavy puffer jacket. Of course, after only a brief look around, it became apparent he would be filming something about to happen. Anxious PR girls kept trying to move him out of the Front Row to accommodate the seat’s actual guest. Meanwhile the fussing and fitting went on. This was only the beginning of one of the most, albeit unlooked-for, infamous shows of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Fall 2012.
It all began with a journey and a fashion icon. By this time one could see the round bespectacled Iris Apfel seated directly across from the insipid cameraman. She has a way of carrying the aura of Fashion Icon around with her many respectable years. Iris is more than mature, she is wise. She has been around since Fashion was in fashion. Short white hair, a huge wide smile and those inexplicable round black glasses have marked her for icon-dom for years. The one thing about Iris is that she get around. Not just to all the right parties, she get all the way around the globe. Joanna Mastroianni set out to do a mock-up Fashion Diary of Iris’ Travels and set it to a Collection. She starts in fashionable Central Park and globe trots to every cha-cha dancing place in the world; Maxim’s Paris, exotic Asia, Shanghai, Russia. Mastroianni creates pant set after taffeta skirt, ball gown after beaded blouse. One after another fashion icon-worthy to fill a jet-setters luggage. But just as the music starts there is a small disturbance in the opposite Front Row near the photographer’s pit. One quick look shows a glimpse of someone being carried out by three burly doormen. Not just anyone, but an elderly guest sporting another shock of white hair. Nothing daunted, she must have fainted, the show went on. There was more black leather, organza and caviar beads than one could count. The finale brought slinky gowns and even the designer’s beloved Pomeranian right down the runway. When Mastroianni came to take her bow, she walked the length of the runway and lifted Iris to her feet. With much cajoling and help, Iris finally took her place with the designer, dwarfed by the Amazon models in all their bright gowns who were lined up on the runway.
If that weren’t enough drama for one show, as guests left, they were diverted to the next hall instead of through the normal exit. A triage tent had been hastily constructed and EMTs were still hard at work. It seems the fevered guest had more than fainted. It was only later we learned that another New York style icon, Zelda Kaplan 95, had passed away. It seemed a surreal ending not only to an amazing fashion show but a life of style itself.