I wouldn't say I have a fear of flying exactly, but every time I get on a plane I get the 'oh my god why am I DOING this?!' feeling. No matter how many times it's been explained to me I just don't get how something so big and heavy stays up there. Thankfully, this time I was travelling with my friends Jane and Denise from Chiltern Street Studio - no time for panic with them around. They're straight talking no fuss women. A slight murmur of nervousness? 'For God's sake woman, you clearly need a drink'.
Having survived the flight, we jumped in a taxi to Manhattan. I have yet to find a hotel in New York I LOVE. I'm a stickler for space in New York. I prefer to stay in a serviced apartment but they're like diamonds on the street during Fashion Week - they're just not lying around. So anyway here's my hotel. A little businessy but spacious!
Hitting the showrooms is key. You don't want to go to Fashion Week and just wheel around the trade shows along with everyone else - who wants what everyone else has in their shops? You have to SEARCH. Grit your teeth, ignore your throbbing feet, and pound those pavements. Going to showrooms is like doing the rounds of house parties - you'll go to one where you think it will be a bit dull, but suddenly you'll meet someone super interesting that you didn't expect to be there. It's the same when you find a fantastic new brand lurking in an unexpected showroom. And then there are the refreshments. Diet Coke is standard surely, no? Some still aren't aware. Give us the Diet Coke! We're tired, thirsty, hungry (Diet Coke counts as food). But maybe that's just me. This rather exceptional plate of biscuits adorned with flowers and a bunch of grapes was certainly being met with appreciative murmurs.
Next up was my guilty pleasure - Kenneth Jay Lane. I never go to New York without visiting their showroom. I'm a huge fan of Art Deco and KJL is the Art Deco King. The quality is amazing too, his pieces last forever.
Base Camp is a table near one of the display areas which he commandeers - if you want to get near the pieces you have to wait for him to wander off so you can take a quick peek. The rest of the showroom is a free for all - there is stuff literally EVERYWHERE. It's hide and seek with the baubles. I find what I like in the showroom and then either Chris (head of sales - love love love him) or I dive into the stock room to see if they have it in their little drawers. Everything gets thrown into a big tray to sort through at the end. It's heaven, an Aladdin's Cave for anyone who likes jewellery.
I was trying to get to the Daphne Guinness exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology that afternoon but the dream was fading fast - New York runs on super fast forward time and it was already late afternoon. I jumped in a cab going downtown to see the new J Brand collection - their first foray into sportswear. I met Caitriona and Ashley from the Rainbowwave showroom in London who sell J Brand jeans to me. I wasn't sure what to expect from the collection but had heard rumours of amazingness.
Cute leather jackets in the softest leather, silky soft tees, tailored shirts, fun jumpers and neatly tailored jackets awaited. All in a pared down subtle colour palette, and reassuringly expensive.
I was flagging by 7pm (pathetic, I know) and slipped off to meet Jane and Denise for dinner. My hair was in my G&T half an hour later while we waited for a table and by 10pm I was headed back uptown to bed. I'm no party animal in New York, it's work, work and more work and if I can catch up on a little sleep then all the better.