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Behind the Scenes of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

By Amanda Crowley | Photography by Michael Buckner

To celebrate the three-year anniversary of VIE’s inaugural issue, we returned to New York to cover Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (MBFW). VIE has seen growth and change in the last few years and so has MBFW. As of last fall, Lincoln Center is home to Fashion Week; Bryant Park played host to the event in previous years. The fashion shows we attended were just like I imagined they would be, but oh so much more! Each audience member appeared to have on an outfit meticulously planned just for that day; designers, dressed surprisingly simply, were seemingly shy in the face of all the adulation. An endless array of gorgeous models marched down the runways, keeping step with the music. The excitement of the crowds was similar at each show. For this week, fashion united throngs of people for a sneak peek into what the world will be wearing this fall.

No matter how many articles I read or documentaries I watched about the fashion industry, nothing could have prepared me for the wonder and anticipation of walking up the steps at Lincoln Center on Friday, February 11. With my press pass around my neck allowing me access to the coveted shows, I felt like Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada; officially I was a member of what I thought to be an elite fashion club.

Whether morning or evening, the lobby was humming with excitement: strobe lights flashing over the Mercedes-Benz displays, reporters and photographers alike dressed to the nines in the latest fashions, and celebrities mingling with the crowd.

vie magazine mercedes benz fashion week behind the scenes fashion models  
vie magazine mercedes benz fashion week behind the scenes fashion models Petra Nemcova
Model Petra Nemcova poses for a picture after the Luca Luca fashion show.

FIJI Water and Starbucks Frappuccino were two of the sponsors, and coolers filled with their products were found in multiple areas inside the tent. ( Attending fashion shows can make you unusually thirsty, and who doesn’t love free coffee!) Maybelline New York was the official makeup of Fashion Week and, when they were not giving away samples of eye shadow and lip gloss, representatives offered makeup advice and introduced the new fall colors.

vie magazine mercedes benz fashion week model Alexa Chung Gabrielle Union Mena Suvari
Model Alexa Chung and actresses Gabrielle Union and Mena Suvari discuss the latest fashions after seeing Christian Siriano's Fall 2011 collection.

Waiting in line to enter the shows is almost as entertaining and informative as actually attending them. I was able to check out the styles worn by the invited guests and find out what part of the country they were from. I realized that these fashion-conscious people would take the fall lines and put their own spin on them; this is what fashion is all about. These people, coming from all corners of the globe, were the liaisons between New York and their own audiences; they were there to take the news back home.

Throughout the week, there were very few barriers between us and the celebrities; they walked around the tents, casually posing for photos and graciously pausing for interviews. Sitting only a few rows behind them, I felt on par with these celebrities, as we all eagerly awaited the next look together. And then the clothes became the celebrities; we were all just admirers in our seats.

vie magazine mercedes benz fashion week model TV personality Giuliana Rancic
TV personality Giuliana Rancic was spotted reporting and interviewing during Fashion Week.
vie magazine mercedes benz fashion week designer diane von furstenberg star lounge
Designer Diane von Furstenberg took time to relax in the Star Lounge after her Fall 2011 show. Not only did she put together a great fashion collection, she also partnered with Mercedes-Benz to showcase her home furnishings and accessories lines in the Star Lounge.
vie magazine mercedes benz fashion week model singer fergie actress molly sims
Friends and fashion go hand in hand at Fashion Week. Just ask singer Fergie and actress Molly Sims. The two were caught chatting after Diane von Furstenberg presented her designs for this fall.

Many of today’s most well-known actresses, musicians, and models came to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to see the latest in fall attire, but the fashion world has its own set of stars. Fashion editors, stylists, and well-known buyers all garnered the same attention and admiration as the famous personalities in attendance.

One day on the way out of Lincoln Center, VIE publisher Lisa Burwell was stopped by some fashion bloggers who admired her daring decision to wear a cream outfit when New York is dominated by dark blacks, grays, and browns. “A breath of fresh air,” they called it, but it took my breath away! It was an honor to be singled out for her fashion sense—and at the epicenter for fashion no less!

vie magazine mercedes benz fashion week singer kristin chenoweth star lounge
Kristin Chenoweth lit up the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge with her smile (and her sunshine yellow dress) after attending the Milly by Michelle Smith fashion show.
vie magazine mercedes benz fashion week publisher lisa burwell lincoln center
VIE publisher Lisa Burwell and staffer Amanda Crowley pause outside Lincoln Center to check the schedule for the day.
vie magazine mercedes benz fashion week model vie staff nyc lincoln center
vie magazine mercedes benz fashion week model karolina kurkova designer max azria
Model Karolina Kurkova and designer Max Azria pose together after Aria's Herve Leger fashion show on February 15.
vie magazine mercedes benz fashion week tv personality robert verdi stylist june ambrose
(L - R) TV personality Robert Verdi, stylist June Ambrose, and fashion icon Jay Manuel hang together backstage, catching up and talking about the future of fashion!

Another honor for VIE came when a fashion blogger stopped VIE staffer Whitney Williams and asked if she could take her picture to showcase what the real woman was wearing to Fashion Week.

Fashion Week is more than just designers gathering together to show off their latest creations; it is a week when they come before the world to show what their hearts have created—a visual expression of themselves. It is a week when men and women from across the nation gather to celebrate fashion.

A week governed by the motto “The best or nothing.”

— V —

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