Behind the Lens at NYFW ’16 [PART I]

A first-hand account of street style hunting in the New York’s fashionable tundra 

I stood frozen on the corner of West 33rd and 8th Avenue for over an hour and a half. Forget trying to stay out of the way of the cameras, I was literally frozen in place from the numbing cold.

I wasn’t the only one shivering on the street—several photographers stood nearby waiting for the next wave of New York Fashion Week attendees to emerge from the exit.

The photographers are assassins for the getting the perfect picture. If the first show began at Moynihan Station at 11:00 AM, chances are that they had been standing there for hours. The photographers waited for the Herve Leger runway show to let out. 

Two things were keeping me warm—the disproportionately large Banana Republic faux fur trapper hat my mother insisted on buying during our last shopping trip to the Danbury Fair Mall and the exciting possibility of seeing a favorite fashion blogger, editor, or celebrity. 

There was one moment when everyone held their breath looking at one particularly beautiful woman. With her long, tan legs, bright smile and sexy, slightly irreverent outfit (a sweatshirt, fur coat and high heeled boots couldn’t have looked hotter), she shared a striking resemblance to Rihanna.

When it comes down to it, I thought I saw a major celebrity and fashion icon and almost died.

The most exciting thing about standing on the street corner wasn’t so much the seeing the outfits, but observing the whole process— I could cross-reference several Instagram accounts for NYFW street style from the comfort of my own (warm) home and have more time to see all of the garment and accessory details.

I enjoyed watching how the photographers waited for the candid moments more than anything—asking subjects to pose for the full-length outfit is essential for editorial, but capturing fashion in its “natural state” is the heart of street style photography. 

At one point, a group of fashionistas crossed 8th Avenue towards Madison Square Garden looking for a taxi. Then they turned around and crossed back towards Moynihan Station. After a quick fashionable huddle over cigarettes and some heated conversation in Italian, instead of waiting for one to pull to the curb, they ran into traffic—in their heels, holding their round sunglasses in place and putting out their cigarettes—towards one of the taxi vans sitting at the red light.

The lucky photographer who paid attention to this scene shot the fashionistas dashing up 8th Avenue and piling into the taxi in a blur of black leather, blonde hair and fur coats.

I walked towards the official NYFW entrance up the street for a change of scenery. More photographers waited on the street alongside the motorcade of NYFW SUVs. A few more fashionistas (and a poor, shivering Chihuahua at the mercy of her glamorous owner) strutted out of the building before I decided to seek shelter in a Starbucks I spotted on 34th Street. 

Still thawing from the five-minute walk, I happened to grab a seat next to a man editing street style photos on his Mac. After some polite pestering conversation, Matt told me he was a photographer on assignment for Getty Images. He came to New York City by way of doing concert photography in Chicago, as well as runway, but admitted that he found street style infinitely more interesting than the traditional fashion show. 

As our exchange continued and my nosy pestering curiosity grew, I asked him which shows he was planning to head to next—I envied the lineup on his iCal. I hope he considered my input and made it in time for Banana Republic.

After Matt left, I recognized a few of the well-dressed people at the counter from standing on the street corner—we were the smart ones who decided to take the time to relax and get caffeinated before getting back to work.


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A Francophile based in coastal New England

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