Steve Eichner’s Eye: New York Fashion Week

A WWD photographer shares his unique perspective on one of the city's busiest weeks of the year.

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Kim’s limited engagement.

Photo By Steve Eichner

Lindsay Lohan

Photo By Steve Eichner

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Collections issue 11/14/2011
September 11

12:41 a.m., Alex Wang party: From a strip club to a frat house—what a life I have. Keg party with Odd Future, a hard-core rap group, performing. They were going crazy with blow-up dolls. I get soaked in beer sprayed from the stage, my camera shorts out. Now I have to do world-class photography with a beer-soaked camera.

1:32 p.m., DKNY show: After front row, got shots in street of models preparing to walk runway. Was very cool that they did the backstage prep in the street.

3:51 p.m., DVF show: I’m standing up high on the steps. I see the crowd part like the Red Sea and Valentino come through on his way to the show.

4:13 p.m.: Oscar de la Renta and Valentino are sitting front row but far away. I ask Kerry from KCD what he thinks about getting them together for a shot. He’s says he thinks it ain’t happening. I decide to ask Valentino to get up and he obliges, standing next to Oscar. Kerry sees it and shakes his head like I did a miracle. The shot ran in WWD the next day.

4:31 p.m.:
I find a seat in front row to shoot runway ambience. I realize that I smell really bad. My photo vest stinks of body odor and stale beer from night before. I’m kind of embarrassed. I’m next to Steven Kolb, head of CFDA. I’m sure he smells me. We have a brief conversation about my 14 years at WWD. The show starts, I get great ambience shots, then Diane walks the runway passing out American flags () because it’s 9/11. She gives one to Steven Kolb and I get a great shot.

5:53 p.m., Thakoon show:
Bill Cunningham sees me, makes a beeline. He says he’s having trouble with his flash. I try a few things but can’t figure out the problem. I set his camera on manual and it solves the problem so he can shoot the rest of the show. He shakes my hand and thanks me five times. I’m actually honored that he trusts me enough to help him out.

7:47 p.m., Tommy Hilfiger backstage: Tommy posing with his wife, Dee. I’m in back of some other photogs. Tommy points to me and says, “Let WWD come up front to get the shot.”

8:56 p.m., Edun party: Bono poses with wife Ali for me. I shoot five frames, then Bono fist pumps so I fist pump and I scream “Edun!” Bono and Ali smile.…Great moment, great shot!

9:02 p.m.:
I pose Reeve Carney and Bono for a pic, but then I ask Bono to step aside to get a solo of Reeve. Probably the first time Bono was asked to leave a pic.

September 12

1:39 p.m., Donna Karan Show:
I’m early for the show so I chat with Anna Wintour’s personal security guard. He says that she must know me because he noticed that she always looks at my camera. He says Anna skipped lots of shows to go see tennis at the U.S. Open. I guess tennis is more important than fashion.

11:15 p.m., Steve Klein party: Amazing presentation of his film project with Amber Valletta. It was in the Armory on 68th Street. A huge space, and they mounted like 10 movie screens in a circle with the party in the middle. This is true art. On my way out, I see Naomi Campbell posing with Steven Klein. I got the shot!

September 13

9:07 a.m., Tory Burch show: Tory is doing her first runway presentation for fash week. I happen to be introduced to her mom and Tory is standing there, too. I say, “I love your daughter,” and Mom says, “I do, too….”

11:04 a.m., Vera Wang show:
I can’t take my eyes off of Kim Kardashian’s butt. It’s mesmerizing.…Then Serena Williams comes in. Serena sits next to Kim and admires her new wedding ring. We get word that Beyoncé is coming to the show. The photogs all try to get in position but security wants us all out before they bring her in because she’s pregnant, they don’t want a big pushing match, which could endanger the baby. Mario Grauso, Vera Wang’s chief, sees me and says “Stay with me, we’ll get you the shot.” After a ridiculous pissing contest between Mario and security, Mario wins, Beyoncé is seated and I get the exclusive shot!

3:36 p.m., Marchesa show: Another p.r. hassle getting in. Finally in, there are some celebs and I click away. Just as the lights go out, I trip over a small floor light. It makes a loud noise and I make my way out. Looking for the runner to take my card back to the office, I see she texted me: “I’m in the show, see you after.” Well, I’m on a very tight schedule and need to get to the West Side from The Plaza hotel. I wait for the show to end, then give her the card and a dirty look. Can’t get a cab, so I subway, then walk. By the time I get to the Theory show, I’m a sweaty mess.

September 14

10:17 a.m., Michael Kors Show: Michael Douglas and two B-listy celebs are there. The runway is supercrowded and everyone is pushing to get a shot of Douglas. I hear the security guard say into his radio, “We need some help here—it’s a f-king mess.”

1:03 p.m., J.Mendel show: Olsen twins are there, and they seem to remember me and look in my direction. Their personal security guard, Dale, is an old friend of mine…we give each other that look of “Here we go again!”

10:58 p.m., V mag party: Mario Testino arrives with some male models in a Rolls-Royce. We snap some shots outside then he comes up to me and asks to see the pix. I show him and he likes them. He gets in the elevator and a few of us get in with him. Some others want to get in, too, so he pulls a diva trip and tells them to get the next one, he doesn’t want to be crowded, says he has a phobia.

11:15 p.m., I see Lindsay Lohan and try to get a shot. She ducks me, but I manage to get one. Then she comes over to me and says that if I delete the one I just took, she will pose for me. So I did and she did.


September 15

9:11 a.m., Ralph Lauren show: Decided to take the subway to the Ralph Lauren show instead of a taxi. The subway had delays and I sweated it out. Just made it to Ralph on time. It’s such a controlled show. If I miss the arrival time, they won’t let me in. They have us wait until the front row is seated then they escort us out to the runway—we get the shots in like five minutes, then they escort us out of the venue.

1:34 p.m., Calvin Klein show:
It starts to rain and there is a huge line for photogs to get in. I did the chat and cut—said hello to some friend in the front of the line, then cut in with them. Once inside, we were required to wear shoe covers, or “shoe condoms,” to keep the runway white. Ladies with lint brushes were cleaning the seats.

9:45 p.m., Marc Jacobs show:
Only a few celebs. Got a great spot to shoot runway ambience next to Bill Cunningham. The show started on time and was very cool, as Marc always is. Lots of fringe and plastic. One of my ambience shots makes Page One the next day!

10:24 p.m., Calvin Klein party:
Thrilled “Fashion Eight Days” is finally over. Snap shots of Uma Thurman, Naomi Watts and Francisco Costa. Toasted my fellow image-making warriors. Guzzled four glasses of Champagne to celebrate. Completely wiped out but totally stoked!

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