It is with a smirk that I now reflect on how amiss my assumptions of New York were. It really is the city of love. It’s no accident that the capital is filled with ‘IheartNY’ merchandise; however it would be more accurate for ‘NYheartsU’ to grace the infamous $1 tees. If Paris is a designer clad judgemental mother-in-law and London a trendy trapped by tradition Grandma, New York is an arms wide open so good to see you best friend. For as I trepedatiously took to the downtown cobblestone laden streets in my improvised get-up, I felt the warmth of acceptance. With each block we passed I became aware of the eclectic fusion of fashion; power suits on Wall Street, statement accessories on the trendy TriBeCa set, knock-off apparel in China Town, indie glam in SoHo, boho couture in the West Village, ill fitting suits and toe cleavage on busy business broads in midtown, labelled loafers on ladies who lunch in Park Ave, cycling shorts and bikinis in Central Park, b’ball caps and tanks in Harlem and a melange of adventurous and daring ensembles. It really did appear as though you could do no wrong by this fabulously embracing city.
When my luggage finally did arrive I welcomed my precious possessions with a new found eagerness and discarded my rehearsed and carefully composed combinations. Instead, waist sashes were clashing headscarves, tops were altered and layered and accessories refashioned with an experimental gusto I had misplaced since I put my sewing machine into storage.
As I experienced my own fashion revolution, as though in sympathy, the city was having one of its own, in the form of the bi-annual New York Fashion Week. My schemes of sneaking in unseen through a conveniently placed tear in the Bryant Park tent to catch a glimpse of the latest delicacies from Betsey Johnson or Badgley Mischka were clearly fantastical fantasies. However as I lusted longingly for the fairytale world within the tents, I was unaware that I was in prime position for what I still believe is the best fashion show I have and may ever see...
As the last model in Peter Som’s collection sashayed her way off the runway and the crowd applauded (all the while trying to catch even the slightest response from under Anna Wintour’s Oliver People’s), the REAL parade began. Down the red carpeted stairs came the throng of invitees...upper east side heiresses and wives of millionaires in their exquisitely styled ho-hum offerings, magazine types in ambivalent muted pantsuits, photographers in uniform tees and jeans, hair and make-up artists in more mind-boggling takes on black than one would assume possible, fashion interns in their best (and for the most part, entirely applaudable) attempts at designer on a budget and models on ‘lunch’ breaks in creatively conceived pairings of comfort and couture collection...all this blending exquisitely with the milieu of the 6th Avenue passersby at noon, unaware of celebrities and designers posing and air-kissing around them. This blend of high fashion with the street its canvas enthralled me and, if it was at all possible, encouraged me into an even deeper love of fashion and New York.
Waiting at the airport at the end of my delicious journey to the big apple with my bulging baggage, I found my gaze unusually drawn to the souvenir shops and next thing I was purchasing a collection of kitsch ‘IheartNY’ merchandise. My initial bemusement at how entire families kitted themselves out in the namesake tees had long since been answered; they DO heart NY. In a city that opens its heart to one and all there's really no other way to express your feelings for it. Even the most articulate wordsmiths would fumble at this task. So it is that despite all my efforts to embody this city in descriptive and adoring prose, I join the dollar-tee clad masses by simply but proudly declaring that “IHEARTNEWYORK!”
[Words and adventures supplied by Muds very own overseas correspondent. How exciting!! Mud Mail sashays the streets of the worlds most fashionable cities and gives us the low down. Look out for more super stylish fashion stories from abroad.]