This is a bit of a crazy story. The kind of story that can only happen in New York City, I think. And only during New York Fashion Week. It’s the story of how this picture came about.
We had booked ourselves for a night into The Standard, East Village so that we could enjoy some of the parties and not worry about getting home late in the evening. For those not familiar with New York Fashion Week, there are actually several of them – in the summer and the winter. Getting into any of the major events is almost impossible, but we figured we’d hang out around some of the venues and see if we could catch a glimpse. Unfortunately, I don’t have any secret powers that get my media passes, or celebrity invitations….sniff…
After roaming around much of the SoHo area, we returned empty handed to our hotel. Our room, sort of a small suite, was pretty nice and on the highest floor that have guest rooms. Above us was only what was called the Penthouse, but it’s really a place where events are staged, parties are held, and quite frequently some of the smaller music acts take place. Nothing was planned for the evening we were there.
As nice as the view was from our room, we figured it would be great if we could take some pictures from the top floor terrace that we had read about. We asked at the reception about it, but were told that it was closed in the winter. Too bad.
By now it was getting late, and after a nice dinner and some wine, we figured we’d go up and take a look anyway. We assumed that either the elevator was going to be locked for the top floor, or that we’d hit a closed door. To our great surprise, the elevator door opened, some dim lights were on, and as we walked around the corner, there was an entire display of J. Mendel’s couture collection on display!! No guards, no nothing.
In case the name does not ring a bell, it’s an old Paris fashion house that has become quite popular. Amal Clooney has been seen wearing J. Mendel, as have Taylor Swift and many others.
Fortunately, we didn’t really know what we were looking at, except that we were obviously not supposed to be here. Which is probably why we were told that nothing was going on and the balcony was closed. After looking around for a little while in the dark, we realized that an elaborate professional lighting system had been installed!
At the risk of being kicked out, we turned on the lights. It was spectacular. Our jaws dropped and we roamed around the collection for a while in awe, just because I don’t think anybody ever gets to have a personal view of fashion that costs between $5,000 and $10,000 a piece (I just looked that up at Bergdorf Goodman). Being the honest citizens we are, we didn’t touch anything, except for the lights. And then it struck us.
With the lighting perfectly set up, it would be a shame to let it go to waste. The sad story is that we were more interested in using the lighting than taking pictures of the fashion at that moment. There are plenty of the fashion pictures on-line and in fashion magazines, but when would we ever get a chance to use them as backdrop for our own personal photo-shoot?
We went back to our room, waited until it was past midnight, and then got back up hoping everything was still open. Fortunately, nothing had changed. In the meantime, we found even more lights and we were in photography heaven. We must have taken hundreds of pictures, but in the end, only picked a few for anything but my personal collection.
Turns out, taking color pictures in front of an amazing couture collection is really difficult. There is a reason these dresses and coats are as expensive as they are — they are amazing to look at. So, in the end, we opted for more black and white pictures. After all, what girls wants to be overshadowed by what’s in the background 🙂
Don’t go back up to the first two pictures and compare the items in the background. You’re supposed to look at me! Thank you…
We even managed to get out onto the terrace and with the light from inside, were able to take some pictures. It was freezing cold. But the light, with the low-hanging clouds over Manhattan, was so amazing that I ended up using one of the pictures for a book cover.
The good news is, we mentioned it to the Hotel in a Tripadvisor review (after we had left and using my author name), and here is what the manager wrote in response ” It’s great to see all of the creative and artistic people filling our venues throughout this time of the year. Thank you for your security note. Our Guest Relations team is on it! We hope you won’t wait until next fashion week to misbehave in our part of town.”