Thursday’s Wild: A Day in the Life of NYC Fashion Week

When I left my apartment in Brooklyn Heights last Thursday, bound for breakfast at Balthazar, the SoHo eatery that seems to be on every Big Apple tourist’s to-do list, I wore a black lace top and simple form-fitting black cotton skirt with a brand new pair of red suede booties. It was my best stab at dressing for New York City’s Fashion Week in the midst of a sweat-inducing heat wave.

Gratefully, I had followed most of the runway shows online from JCK’s air-conditioned office on East 45th Street. Balthazar was the staging-ground for the only show I attended in person: Ralph Lauren’s Thursday morning presentation at St. John’s Center Studios on Washington Street, way down in the west West Village, where I sat in the fashion equivalent of nosebleed seats. I didn’t mind this, as the bleacher-style seating afforded me a good view of the models as well as the spectators.

Before the show began, for example, I studied the faces of scion David Lauren and his wife, Lauren Bush Lauren (or, if you like, Lauren-squared), as they schmoozed with fashion dignitaries on the catwalk. (Of the three RL shows taking place that morning, the 10 a.m. show that I attended played host to the country’s most important fashion press. From my perch, I spotted Stefano Tonchi, editor-in-chief of W, and Lynn Yaeger, The Village Voice’s eccentric former fashion critic. When it was over, I even saw Vogue’s Anna Wintour and her signature bob bounce past in a mad dash to beat the crowd surging through the exit.)

From my perch at the Ralph Lauren show, I spotted David Lauren and Lauren Bush Lauren glad-handing their way through the fashion crowd.

Initially, I didn’t love RL’s new collection, which took its cues from the early 1960s, with their graphic, black-and-white “mod” sensibility. The clothes faded from memory almost as soon as the models wearing them clomped off stage (to the sound of John Lennon singing, “Nobody told me there’d be days like these”). There was, I seem to recall, a lot of white. 

Then, as Jay-Jay Johanson’s “Paris” played, a model dressed in a drapey, bright red evening dress ushered in a posse of bold monochromatic ensembles that were at once fun, wearable, and sophisticated. They seemed to suggest Mr. Lauren has high hopes for 2014. I left his show feeling downright exuberant.

As Ralph Lauren’s models filed past for the closing credits, as it were, it was clear that the designer’s black-and-white obsession was tempered by an equally committed embrace of vivid, attention-grabbing colors.

That night, the exuberance continued with the first-ever Jewelry Night Out, a total of 16 events nationwide organized by the Women’s Jewelry Association. I attended the WJA Metropolitan Chapter’s packed soiree at Gilbert Albert’s three-story salon on 57th Street. If the stellar turnout was any indication of how the rest of WJA’s chapters fared, then this is sure to be the beginning of an annual JNO tradition.

Congrats to Metro Chapter president Desiree Hanson of JCK Events for her amazing leadership—and for giving me the opportunity to see so many familiar faces. (Here’s looking at you David Brown, Cindy Edelstein, Leila Tai, and Lynn Ramsey!)

Despite the near-biblical rains that drenched the city that night—I was stranded beneath an awning for 45 minutes before JCK’s Bill Furman risked life and limb to chase down a taxi for us—we carried on to the Tudor launch party at Barry Diller’s IAC Building on West 18th Street.

Last Thursday night, I was marooned beneath an awning on 57th Street for 45 minutes due to torrential rain.

If you’re not familiar with Tudor, you soon will be. The Swiss watch brand is officially back in the U.S. market as of this year, following a 20-year hiatus. Beloved by Rolex collectors and sports watch enthusiasts, Tudor was the brainchild of Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, whose rationale for introducing the brand resonates today as much as it did six decades ago:

“For some years now I have been considering the idea of making a watch that our agents could sell at a more modest price than our Rolex watches, and yet one that would attain the standards of dependability for which Rolex is famous,” Wilsdorf said upon the debut of the brand in 1946. “I decided to form a separate company, with the object of making and marketing this new watch. It is called the Tudor Watch Company.”

Based on the original 1973 model, the Tudor Heritage Blue Chrono comes in a stainless steel case with a bidirectional bezel featuring a blue anodized aluminum insert. The watch runs on a self-winding mechanical chronograph movement with a 42-hour power reserve and is available on a stainless steel link bracelet as well as a signature blue, orange, and white striped fabric strap. It retails for $4,425. (Photo courtesy of Tudor Watch Co.)

The scene at the IAC Building was marked by great music, an extremely well-stocked open bar, and soaring white walls that came to life with moving images depicting debonair-looking men boating on the high seas while wearing their Tudor wristwatches. Just to make sure that the crowd understood the brand’s target audience, a sporty Audi decked out in the brand’s black and red color scheme and a collection of Ducati bikes earned all kinds of social media love from guys like Adam Craniotes (@craniotes), who tweeted an Instagram party pic of the Ducati that read: “Yes, please… #ducati #blackshield #tudorwatch.”

Judging by the abundance of über-stylish men at the shindig—including the actor Alan Cumming and my handsome co-escorts, Billy Furman and Mark Davidovich—the brand should expect a successful re-entry.

Tudor’s U.S. brand manager, Russell Kelly, presided over the evening, which was co-hosted by Hodinkee.com (whose founder, Ben Clymer, made our “20 Under 40” industry power listing in the April 2013 issue).

Tudor’s U.S. brand manager, Russell Kelly, presided over the festivities on Sept. 12. (Photo courtesy of Tudor Watch Co.)

Stewart Wicht, the president of Rolex USA, at the New York City launch party for Tudor (Photo provided courtesy of Tudor Watch Co.)

Mark, Billy, and I ended up at Cookshop on Ninth Avenue for a delicious late-night meal. I was home by 1 a.m., just in time to meet my twin sister, Julia, as she and our friend, Lia, arrived from the airport for their weekend in the city. My day had been jam-packed and all over the place, but as I drifted off to sleep, I felt a sense of awe for all the Big Apple has to offer—made all the more poignant by the realization that the day before marked the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.