As crowds filled the stage at Lincoln Center before the Charlotte Ronson show, The Observer, saw Vogue’s editor at large, Hamish Bowles, settle into his seat. He studied the program from behind his tortoise shell glasses, a cashmere, camo print scarf dapperly wrapped around his long, dandy neck. We approached. Could we possibly have a word? “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear a word you said,” he said, blinking apathetically through his double-monacles. We repeated our entreaty. With a sigh, he stood up. “I’ll have to stand because honestly I can’t hear anything you’re saying.”
We began our line of questioning with a gentle generic query, hoping to soften (or, alternately, wear) him into our confidence. What shows was he most excited to see this season? We asked sweetly, stupidly. “Ah, well,” he began speaking with almost senescent leisure. “One or two of them I’ve already seen. I have very catholic tastes, so um, I’m excited by things like…”
“The shows about to start, please take your seat. Like, now,” a security guard barked in our direction as attendants unstuck the tape from the runway seal. “Ah, well,” Mr. Bowles said with a wry, English smile. We assured he’d reconvene after the show. Heading back to our seat, we took stock of the crowd: Russell Simmons, Nicky Hilton, Byrdie Bell and Waris Ahluwalia were greeting their front-row seat mates and updating statuses on iPhones.
We watched as airy dresses, high-waisted pants and printed knits were marched down the catwalk. After the show, Ms. Ronson received a standing ovation, which though deserved, was doubtless started by her adoring mother sitting in the front row.
As promised, we found Mr. Bowles in the file-out fracas. Unlike Mr. Downing, Mr. Bowels explained that he finds New York fashion week exhausting. “It’s probably true to say that I’m more stressed than I ever am otherwise, because I’m always on a deadline and its incredibly difficult to juggle that with a packed show schedule.”When asked if there was one person Mr. Bowels tried not to cross during the week, he smiled to himself, choosing his words carefully. “I’m not sure I’d want to monumentally antagonize Pierre,” he said referring to PR autarch Pierre Rougier who famously blacklisted Carine Roitfeld from the Balenciaga show in Paris for reasons as yet unknown.
We left Mr. Bowels and headed backstage immediately running into Ann Dexter Jones, Ms. Ronson’s mother. She explained that her daughter’s fashion sensibilities began to bloom, if not in the womb, at a tender age. “I realized she was talented when she was about seven, when she would pick browns and greens over pink and lilac,” Ms. Dexter Jones drawled. Funny, we thought that was Sam.
Bless your little heart, Nicky Hilton.
Jessica White loves the collection almost as much as she loves looking at herself in the mirror.
Russell Simmons, balacing his support for #Occupy with a little Fashion Week excursion.