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A Lot of Fuss for Just Sitting and Watching at New York Fashion Week

LAST September, Beyoncé Knowles, with budding baby bump swaddled in the shimmering gold sequins of her plunging cocktail dress, turned up at Lincoln Center for the J. Crew Spring 2012 presentation with her sister Solange.

去年秋天,碧昂丝·诺利斯(Beyoncé Knowles)在林肯中心J. Crew的2012春装发布会上亮相,因为怀孕而微凸的小腹裹在低胸短裙的金色亮片里,她的妹妹索兰格(Solange)也一同出席。

It was an unusual circumstance (“Most celebrities don’t want to go to a presentation because there’s no crowd control,” said Bonnie Morrison, a consultant to fashion brands who cut her teeth at the public relations form KCD) but with predictably glowing press coverage.

这种情况真不常见(“大多数名人不想去参加时装发布会,因为无法控制人群围观,”时装品牌顾问邦妮·莫里森[Bonnie Morrison]说;她在公关公司KCD工作时发现了这一点),但是媒体对此事的热情报道是可想而知的。


Vera Wang’s runway show was taking place at Lincoln Center directly afterward, and Ms. Knowles decided somewhat casually to stop by. Security on site rushed to cleave a safe route across the grounds to Ms. Wang’s backstage area, where the designer had a runway look ready, a nude leather corseted vest and matching tulle bubble skirt, for Ms. Knowles to wear.

王薇薇(Vera Wang)的发布会紧接着也在林肯中心举行,碧昂丝一时兴起,决定去看一下。现场的保安赶紧从人群中开出一条通往王女士后台的安全通道。王薇薇已经为走秀做好准备,还给碧昂丝备好了一件裸色皮质胸衣背心和一条薄纱泡泡裙。

In fact, Ms. Wang’s team was prepared for just this kind of possibility. Especially for major brands, dialogue with actresses, pop stars, athletes and other front-row-worthy celebrities starts months ahead.


“If an A-lister, like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga or Rihanna, turns up last minute, it’s a good problem to have,” said Priya Shukla, vice president for public relations at Vera Wang. “You make the room."

“一线明星,比如碧昂丝,Lady Gaga或者蕾哈娜,在最后一分钟出现,是个让我们高兴的问题,”王薇薇服装设计公司的公关副总监普利亚·舒克拉(Priya Shukla)说:“你得为这个做好准备。” 

Starting Thursday, the beginning of New York Fashion Week, the fashion elite will coolly slip into their seat assignments, creating a twice-a-year barometer of who is hottest, slimmest and most likely to start a new celebrity fragrance. And it can create attentive chatter for an otherwise bland runway show or reassure premier designers of their lofty spot in the hierarchy.


Behind the scenes, wish lists have been drawn and edited far in advance. “There are a lot of interests to consider,” said James LaForce, a public relations man who is working on several runway shows this season, many of them for contemporary labels. “Is the designer more of an InStyle brand or a W magazine brand? If it’s InStyle, maybe you go for a television star. You’d be surprised, an actress like Sofia Vergara often gets more press than a Cate Blanchett. If it’s W, then you go for an indie band or maybe a European film star.”

在幕后,期待出席的名单早早地就排列编辑好了。“要考虑很多利益关系,”詹姆斯·拉福斯(James LaForce)说,他给这一季的好几个时装发布会做公关活动,其中很多都是同代的品牌。“这个设计师究竟是个《InStyle》式的品牌,还是《W》杂志式的品牌? 如果是前者,也许你应该去找个电视明星。你也许想不到,像索菲亚·维加拉(Sofia Vergara)这样的女演员的媒体曝光度比凯特·布兰切特(Cate Blanchett)还要高。如果是后者,你就去找一个独立乐队,或者找个欧洲电影明星。”

There is some common structure, based on interviews with about a dozen fashion and celebrity publicists. The A-listers essentially hold a standing invitation: show up and a front-row seat will happily be found. For the spring 2013 collections, and probably every season, there’s bias toward the young and perky who look good poured into a dress; Emma Watson, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone are some of the names batted around. (Add one more intriguing possibility to this year’s shows: Pippa Middleton, the sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, is in town and has quickly shot to the top of many designers’ wish lists. )

根据对十几个时尚界和名人圈的公关人员的采访,有这样一个共识:一线明星基本上都接到一个长期有效的邀请:只要露面,就一定能愉快地在第一排找到座位。2013春季发布会(很可能每一季都是这样)特别偏爱那些年轻、有活力、穿上晚装很漂亮的明星,比如艾玛·沃特森(Emma Watson),安妮·海瑟薇(Anne Hathaway),詹妮弗·劳伦斯(Jennifer Lawrence)和艾玛·斯通(Emma Stone)。(今年服装秀上还可能出现一位引人注意的人物:剑桥公爵夫人的妹妹皮帕·米德尔顿[Pippa Middleton]。她到了纽约,很快成了很多设计师期待名单上的首选。)

But fame isn’t enough. Controversy can also be a selling point.


“A huge ‘get’ would be women with notoriety surrounding them, like Katie Holmes,” said Alice Ryan, who founded a boutique PR firm, A Company, and previously ran global events, including runway seating, at Ralph Lauren. The former Mrs. Cruise topped several wish lists but has her own line to fret about: Holmes & Yang, presenting for the first time during New York Fashion Week.

“那些绯闻缠身的女人最受欢迎,比如凯蒂·赫尔姆斯(Katie Holmes),”爱丽丝·瑞安(Alice Ryan)说,她是精品公关公司“A Company”的创建者,之前曾经组织过一些全球性的活动,包括为拉尔夫·劳伦的发布会安排观众的位置。这位汤姆·克鲁斯的前妻位列好几个期待名单的榜首,但是这位前妻也要为自己的期待名单操心:因为她自己的服装品牌Holmes & Yang今年要首次在纽约时装周亮相。

“The seating game, getting the right context and breadth, can be a very competitive field,” Ms. Ryan said. “You have brands like Calvin Klein, who make no secret about the fact that they will compensate notable guests a personal-appearance fee to exclusively attend their show. It’s not something that happens a great deal now because brands don’t necessarily see the value in it, but I would say it still exists.”

“在一定的情况和范围内,这场争夺名人的游戏可能会竞争非常激烈,”瑞恩女士说:“有些品牌,比如Calvin Klein,从不隐瞒这个事实——他们会给显要的客人一笔出场费,让他们只参加自己的发布会。现在这种情况不多了,因为品牌的价值不一定体现在这一点上,但是我得说这种现象仍然存在。”

Malcolm Carfrae, the executive vice president for global communications at Calvin Klein, said, “We can’t discuss our relationships with our clients and friends of the house, and each relationship is very different.” But others in the industry said that appearance fees from some designers can go as high as $20,000 to $100,000 for the right celebrity.

Calvin Klein的全球沟通执行副总监马尔科姆·卡夫瑞(Malcolm Carfrae)说:“我们不能谈论我们跟公司的客户和朋友的关系,每一段关系都很不同。”但是业界的其他一些人说,有些设计师为了请到合适的名人,给出的出场费高达2万至10万美元。

Most A-listers, though, probably aren’t in the front row because of a one-time fee. It could very well be part of the contract, sometimes well into seven figures, that comes with being the “face” of a fashion house in its ad campaigns.


Smaller houses with tighter purse strings often rely on the contacts of their PR agencies or more-creative methods to get acquainted.


For example, the New York-based designer Misha Nonoo, who hired Ms. Morrison for this season and is presenting at Milk Studios, booked Lana Del Rey for her wedding in Venice earlier this year. They “became friendly,” Ms. Nonoo said, so she is sending an invitation to the popular chanteuse. If Ms. Del Rey, with multiple magazine covers and 930,892 Twitter followers at last count, attends, it’s a good bet that Ms. Nonoo’s show will get a mention in Page Six of The New York Post or WWD.

比如,纽约设计师米莎·诺努(Misha Nonoo)(她正在米尔克中心开时装发布会,这一季她聘请莫里森女士做公关顾问)今年初就邀请拉娜·德雷(Lana Del Rey)参加她将在威尼斯举办的婚礼。“我们关系挺好”,诺努说,所以她给这位流行民谣女歌手发了一封邀请函。如果德雷出席的话,《纽约邮报》的娱乐专栏“第六版”或者《女装日报》(WWD)肯定会提到米莎·诺努的时装秀;要知道,拉娜·德雷德雷是好几本杂志的封面女郎,根据最新的数据,她在推特上的粉丝达到了930892人。

Sometimes the most coveted front row “gets” are of-the-moment celebrities, like Olympians off a particularly successful Games. The sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross, known for her gold medals and the trendy side-braid she wore in competition, plans on attending several shows. Which ones? With runway slots overlapping, she’s still sorting through final confirmations, said her publicist and stylist, Yolande Kelly (though the Tommy Hilfiger shows have been a reliable place to catch a famous athlete the last few seasons.)

有时候,最让人艳羡的前排座位会留给当时最热门的名人,比如在奥运会上取得佳绩的运动员。短跑选手桑亚·理查兹-罗斯(Sanya Richards-Ross)在奥运会上夺得了好几枚金牌,她比赛时编在头上的辫子现在也成了潮流。她计划出席几场发布会,但是到底是哪几场呢?她的公关兼形象顾问约兰德·凯利(Yolande Kelly)说,因为发布会的时间重合,桑亚还在进行最后的确认(不过在过去几季里,你总能在汤米·希尔费格[Tommy Hilfiger]的发布会上看到一名著名的运动员)。

Ryan Lochte, whose handsome mug and outlandish style were obsessively dissected in the last few months, will be flitting around. He, too, is finalizing his Fashion Week schedule.

游泳运动员瑞安·罗切特(Ryan Lochte)帅气的脸庞和怪异的风格在过去几个月里是人们津津乐道的话题;届时他也会穿梭在发布会上,目前还在最后确认他在时装周上的安排。

“I’ll definitely be there, though, at the men’s and women’s wear shows,” said Mr. Lochte, who will also be an E! correspondent during Fashion Week. “It’s a different atmosphere than my normal life,” he said, describing what attracts him to the industry. “It’s very creative and energetic. I like seeing what everyone will be wearing, you know, the street style.”


He’ll also be taking notes for his future men’s wear line. His designer role model? “Ralph Lauren, that’s a big one,” Mr. Lochte said. “They make a perfect suit.”


Then there is the gymnast Gabby Douglas and American’s latest sweetheart, the swimmer Missy Franklin. “People are just going nuts for Missy,” Mr. LaForce said, before adding that high school might get in the way.

另外还有体操运动员盖比·道格拉斯(Gabby Douglas)和美国人的新宠——游泳运动员米西·富兰克林(Missy Franklin)。拉福斯说,“人们对米西的热情近乎疯狂”,不过他说高中已经开学了,这可能会影响她出席发布会。

“It definitely helps that they’re both pretty girls,” Ms. Morrison said.


For the September shows, the new TV seasons and the push behind new films that are beginning to generate Oscar interest, celebrity teams eagerly push forward new talent, even if no one knows who they are. “Every season, there’s some actress sitting front row who is blond, gorgeous, no one recognizes and is probably not even 20 years old,” Mr. LaForce said.


Some fashion publicists predict the cast members from “Girls,” the HBO series, will make a fresh impact and will be handled with kid gloves. (A Real Housewife, on the other hand, might be shuffled between multiple public relations agencies before landing a seat.)

有些时装公司的公关人员预计,HBO连续剧《Girls》里的演员们是一股全新的影响力,因此会受到谨慎、周到的接待。而另一方面,真人秀节目《真正的家庭主妇》(A Real Housewife)里面的人物,可能要奔波于好几家公关代理公司,才能最终找到一个座位。

But despite the associated buzz, the industry has a conflicted relationship with starry spectacles.


“Editors often don’t like all this focus on celebrity,” Mr. LaForce said. “And I understand it because these paparazzi photographers will literally run over them, run over their toes, to snap a picture of an actress.”


“But then you see the fashion press tweeting about the front row,” he said. “The truth is, it gives the press good content for their social channels.”


Even so, there’s a careful balance between a fashion circus and, well, just a circus. “There’s an enormous contingent of characters who attend shows simply for the photo-op factor,” Ms. Ryan said. “When you see a Kanye or Pharrell or André 3000 turn up, you understand it, because they care about fashion. But then I’ll see an Ed Westwick or Chace Crawford, and it feels somewhat comical they are there.”

即使如此,他们还是小心地平衡,不让时装表演沦为乱哄哄的名利场。“有些人来观看发布会,就是为了增加曝光率,”瑞安说。“你看到卡内(Kanye)、法瑞尔(Pharrell)或者安德烈3000(André 3000)出席,你可以理解,因为他们很在乎时装。但是艾德·维斯特维克(Ed Westwick)或者切斯·克劳福(Chace Crawford)出现在这儿,我觉得有点儿滑稽。”

Some brands have been pushing back. “There are designers who actually don’t want celebs at the show,” Mr. LaForce said. “Fine, if it’s their best friend or a close connection, but they don’t want to show any insecurity.” The highbrow sentiment is that the clothes should stand on their own.


Several publicists professed admiration for designers like Marc Jacobs, who once welcomed Lil’ Kim, 50 Cent and even Kevin Federline, for doing smaller shows, making seats a premium. According to Ms. Ryan, those spots should be reserved for celebrities who have “a real history” with the brand, or a relationship that spawned organically. She recalled one season when Janet Jackson showed up at a Ralph Lauren show on which she was working. “Everyone thought I got her to come, but Janet Jackson is actually friends with Dylan Lauren,” Ms. Ryan said.

有一些公关人员为设计师邀请他们仰慕的明星出席。比如马克·雅可布(Marc Jacobs);他曾经邀请利尔·基姆(Lil’ Kim)、“50分”(50 Cent)、甚至凯文·费德林(Kevin Federline)参加小型的走秀,秀场的座位本来就不多,这下更加难以分配。瑞安说,那些位置本应该留给那些和该品牌“真的有历史渊源”的名人,或者是那些自然而然建立起联系的人。她记得有一季她为拉尔夫·劳伦的服装秀工作的时候,珍妮特·杰克逊出现了。“每个人都以为是我把她请来的,但是她实际上是迪伦·劳伦(Dylan Lauren)的朋友,”瑞安说。

“If you get too focused on the front row — if you’re always trying to get the hottest, newest girls, who should really just be fillers — that doesn’t speak of great integrity,” Ms. Ryan said. “It means the designers are probably more focused on that, when there are other statements they should be working on.”

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