Azza Arif takes us through her incredible Insta-glam time at New York Fashion Week
Apart from the minor drama of my Samsung S7 Edge having a slight pixel problem a day before my flight (there was no way I was going to leave it behind, how would I Insta-upload my time in New York?), my flight was smooth, from check-in till I stepped off the British Airway flight. It felt good to be in New York for Fashion Week, especially in Manhattan where everything was so fast paced, that even hailing a yellow taxi required me to be quick on my feet. The first day went in the blink of an eye and before I could say Statue of Liberty, I was at my first Spring/Summer 2018 show of the week, watching the dreamy, celestial Tadashi Shoji collection inspired by the designer’s summer in South California. Ethereal and stunning, I was practically inching my way closer and closer to the catwalk, literally at the edge of the seat so I could take a closer look and really admire the fabrics used.
Next was prep for a cover shoot we were doing with the legendary Malaysian supermodel, Ling Tan. We made trips around Central Park with a trunk full of couture gowns and hearts filled with excitement, to get our shots. Ling looked like a timeless star, with nude, contoured and slightly eerie akeup. She draped on a fiery red Elie Saab couture gown, and I almost cried. It was beautiful. For our second cover option, we drove down to Battery Park, and braved an unexpected storm to get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. Ling wore a stunning Ralph & Russo piece, over Essence lingerie. Magic. This, as you would already have seen, became Couture issue cover last month. The shows felt fresher, bolder but also, much lighter than previous seasons. I headed down to Cooper Hewitt to catch the fresh and vivacious Tory Burch show. An hour later, I made my way through Grand Central Station to get to the Oyster Bar for an interview with Deborah Lloyd, the Creative Head for Kate Spade right before the brand’s S/S18 southern charm presentation. Floating in the back of my mind was the question: what novelty piece will she present this time around? The answer came moments later, in the shape of an Alligator bag.
Coach 1941 dazzled its audience with a glittery runway set and I didn’t want to leave. It was magnificent. I spotted the brand’s men’s fragrance ambassador, James Franco, and almost lost my cool. The collection resonated with the artist in me, as I admired touches of New York artist Keith Haring’s prints on some of the looks. I must say, watching Carolina Herrera’s enchanting show in the gardens of the MoMA was otherworldly. Every look that passed me on the runway was undeniably beautiful. Michael Kors Collection for S/S18 was so upbeat and youthful, that by the end of the show, I realised my grin was as wide as Nicole Kidman’s (who happened to sit not too far from my section alongside Catherine Zeta Jones and Naomi Watts). I also spotted Ashley Graham storming down the runway, in a black and white floral dress. It was her second time walking for Michael Kors.
Now, whoever said that reporters starve themselves during Fashion Week is bluffing, because darling, we ate. Running to and from shows makes you hungry, and there was no way I was going to enjoy the shows on an empty stomach. From medium steaks at The Beatrice Inn, Pizzas at Kesté, vegan (yes, vegan!) hotdogs at Westville, lobsters and oysters at Le Coucou, down to late night burgers from Shake Shacks, we tasted everything New York had to offer. I explored every part of New York—uptown, downtown, and even crossed over to Brooklyn. We did a second shoot at the Brooklyn Bridge and around the city. Work never really ends, but I love every minute of it. Even though I was technically in New York for more than a week, my last day in the Big Apple felt like it came around too fast. In my last ten hours in the city, I rushed down to Lane Bryant for some additional plus-sized lingerie (Malaysia, please take note and bring this brand in pronto), stopped by Chipotles for a quick burrito, got back to Viceroy Hotel for a quick change and headed down to JFK to catch my flight back. New York Fashion Week, you were amazing.