26/05/2016
Warts and all.

Words by

Bianca O’Neill

So last week I attended MBFWA – and no, not just one show. I was there for six. Whole. Days.

That might sound like living the dream to some people, but those people have never been to fashion week. Well, not as a fashion writer, anyway.

Hey, if you’re an A+ blogger getting gifted $1000 outfits to be snapped in, and lovingly seated in the front row (with the only submission expected post-show being a single Instagram post or a few Snapchats), I’m sure it’s swell. I’m sure you’re drinking champs at 11am, wearing a little number you chose from the latest collection from Bec & Bridge, thinking THIS IS THE LIFE.

But if you’re a nobody like me, it’s not really like that. At all. So I thought it was time to tell you all what it’s really like at fashion week, warts and all. 

I should really get those warts removed, shouldn’t I. Shit.

Day 1: I attend Maticevski/realise I’m a fat, unfashionable whale

My fashion week started at Melbourne airport. In the Tiger terminal. Because I’m a broke writer who defs doesn’t fly business or have entry to the lounge. Instead, I smash a cheeseburger as I Snapchat non-Tiger planes outside on the runway. NOBODY HAS TO KNOW RIGHT.

I wear normal clothes on the plane, because even my normal clothes look fab among Tiger frequent flyers. LOL. The superiority smirk won’t last for long, because this will be the only time I look the most stylish out of a group of people surrounding me for the next six days.

A kid kicks my seat for the entire flight as I consider which pre-prepared outfit will be the easiest to change into on the side of the road as cars drive past. My glamorous life, it never stops, really.

I choose an Alexander Wang men’s basketball tee and over the knee boots, because it’s the only outfit that isn’t crushed. I have no mirror, but I’m pretty sure I look like the perfect combination between AMAZE and KEWL. 

And then I see the street style pics. I look like a fat, unfashionable whale. 

Well, at least this ass is good for one thing: pushing other ‘standing room only’ people out of the way as I hustle myself into a seat that has a worse view than if I was standing. SUCCESS.

Day 2: Look! I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom

I spend most of the morning (as I’m waiting for a runway I’m way too early for) trying to get people to pay attention to my outfit. And maybe take a photo of me for their #curated street style feeds in the hopes of an Instagram followers boost. But I realise that I’m old and not a model, so that’s probably not going to happen.

I retreat to the nigel table set up inside for nigels, and eat a toastie. Some fashun girls stare at me intensely. They look hungry. I don’t offer them any of my toastie.

Day 3: I am the chosen one, and I choose to be shopping

I rush from work to Carriageworks in my ‘normal person’ outfit, and everyone photographs me. TYPICAL. I think it’s for their ‘what not to wear to fashion week’ editorials.

I sit in the 543rd row of Bec & Bridge, and the front row seating guy looks toward me, motioning for someone to come and fill a seat in the front row. I act 100% uncool and look around dramatically, and mouth ‘me?’ because I’m definitely, obviously sure it’s not me. 

At this point I’m pretty sure he’s reconsidering his decision, because anyone who belongs in the front row doesn’t mouth ‘me?’ incredulously when chosen. I run to the seat like I’ve been chosen to win the car on the Price Is Right, and he looks worriedly at my pilled, dog-hair-covered grey jumper. Maybe from a distance it looked fashionably textured.

TOO LATE, YOU MADE YOUR CHOICE MAN, THE LIGHTS ARE GOING DOWN SUCKER! I take many artistic Snapchats from the frow, ensuring they all demonstrate there is no one seated in front of me. 

Between runways I kill time by seeing a movie by myself and shopping for a new grey jumper. Found one in Kmart for $15. NAILED IT.

Day 4: My best outfit yet

I’ve saved my best outfit for today, because I somehow got gifted some C/MEO white palazzos and there’s a C/MEO runway on today. That’s what fash people do, right – wear the actual designer to the runway? This is knowledge I’ve gleaned from celebrity Twitter accounts, so I feel it’s legit.

As I swan down the steps in my all-white suit that I totally put on in an alleyway once I arrived because I drove 50mins to get here in my underwear so as not to crush the pants, I hear the sound of cameras snapping and I feel alive.

Then I realise Lindy Klim also wore an all-white suit and they’re all photographing her. GOD DAMN IT LINDY YOU #KWEEN. In my head I fantasise about a Fashion Police episode where they show us side by side during the Bitch Stole My Look segment and I get voted 8%, but I’m still really happy with that outcome because it’s more than I expected.

Day 5: Hi, you’ve reached my out of office

I skip Day 5 because it’s all swimwear and I don’t need to feel that bad about myself.

Day 6: Oscar Oscar Oscar

Ok. It’s Oscar de la Renta day. Don’t freak out and wear something you’ll regret when you show your kids in 20 years time pics from that time you actually got to go to an Oscar de la Renta show.

I arrive wayyyyyy to early to be at the show alone, which is stupid because I already only have 24% battery and will need to entertain myself by looking busy on my phone for the next hour. It’s not going to start on time, der.

With my honed abilities to be able to sniff out where the free champagne is coming from, I quickly locate the source of gratis champs and pretend to be part of an Etihad cocktail reception. I stand among some people I don’t know and pretend to laugh at their conversation like Julia Roberts in that bit in Pretty Woman. 

This becomes awkward when I realise that everyone there is meant to be ushered in early to sit in their seats and the PR asks me where my ticket is. I scream ‘PEE TIME!’ and escape with my (social) life. 

Oscar is magnificent. I audibly sigh when a jewel encrusted blue gown walks down the runway. I remember that all the shit is worth it for moments like these.

I walk past the chauffers to my shitty car and pull some jeans on – and it’s like I’m Cinderella. In Topshop denim.

For Bianca's visual diary of MBFWA, follow her over at @_thesecondrow.

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