Fashion has changed so much in my lifetime. Today I find myself at the collections, asking: “Who are all these people?” They appear to come from anywhere and everywhere, and 90% seem to be uninvited hangers-on. Sometimes I think I’m the last remaining person who goes to the shows for the pleasure of seeing the clothes, rather than desperately wanting to be there for the social side – which is the part of things I have always had to be dragged to, kicking and screaming. And everyone has an opinion! Before the television interviewers and film cameras came along, people kept themselves to themselves. But now when they turn up to fashion shows, all they want to do is talk and talk. Or be filmed answering inane questions.
Everyone has a mobile phone or camera, including all the models getting ready behind the scenes, so everyone knows exactly what’s happening in real time. There are no secrets any more – everything has been texted, tweeted or emailed all over the world way before the show has even begun. There are probably more pictures taken behind the scenes than of the models on the runway.
I used to see every show in the New York collections, but these days I’m much more selective, partly because the experience has become so trying. Giveaway gossip papers like The Daily are constantly being pushed in your face, and cheap champagne is handed out at 9am – with the English fashionistas being the first to gulp it down. As you dodge the movie cameras on your way in, there is usually some starlet of the moment surrounded by photographers and planted in the middle of the runway, hindering everyone else from getting to their seats. I can’t stand it, so I usually put the blinders on and rush straight through. Before the show, there is that intensely irritating moment when the photographers yell out: “Uncross your legs!” What I usually think is “Screw you!”, because if my legs were really in the way I would know it.
An excerpt from Grace: A Memoir, by Grace Coddington out now