So last night I went to the Neiman Marcus runway show for Emanuel Ungaro. I was invited to go with Claudia Ross as she was somehow involved with the PR around Peter Dundas, Ungaro's creative director who was visiting in S.F.
First let me just say it here: I am not a fashion critic. I am much more interested in writing about the slew of characters I meet on my journey through life and making observations from a high level view on my experiences. Also, you need to realize that while I was in the fashion business for 10 years, I was in the accessory business as a designer.. and while I am very comfortable doing the runway/model show thing….I haven’t spent a lot of my time going to such events. I have always been a business woman, working my butt off and running a small business, whether it was in jewelry or executive search. For the last 10 years I have been holed up in Marin County (across the SF bay) working in high tech, raising my daughter… so here again, I haven’t been doing the social fashion runway scene in San Francisco.
So, last night: Let me first say that I did not know ANYONE at the event. (Okay, I recognized a few from peripheral crowds I hang out in) But there was NO ONE I could walk up to and shoot the shit with, even on a superficial level. While uncomfortable, this experience alone makes writing about it much more fun because I have a more objective point of view on my observations. So first of all, I could tell that the crowd was filled with the WHO's WHO in the SF social scene.
First observation: What I love about San Francisco is that people come in all ages, shapes, sizes styles etc etc. The people in San Francisco are MUCH more varied in their look than in Los Angeles. In LA, everyone is teeny-tiny with big boobs and everyone is model gorgeous. All the men in LA wear their hair the same way… really, it’s just so much more homogonous down there. I really love the variety in SF. Everything goes and it’s easy to feel comfortable because of this.
Okay, second observation: it was quite obvious to me who the WHO were… because their faces were held in a perpetual state of: “Someone is ABOUT to take my picture… Keep a permanent smile on at all times, look around the room at everyone as if they are about to take my picture and don’t really talk to anyone unless I can talk between my teeth with my smile pasted on my face”…. That was interesting.
The other observation with the WHO’s WHO was that many women were clearly in various stages of: bright eyes, very bright wide eyes, very very wide bright eyes with a big full smile, full lips and a permanent look of SOMEONE is about to take my picture.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle about all of this.
Here is the other thing I will admit here. I REALLY wish I brought someone with me to this event, because being in a room of WHO's WHO who I don’t know is incredibly awkward. In the Silicon Valley Venture Capital community (of which I have been socializing in for the last year) it is cultural standard to run around a room, introduce yourself, state what you do for a living and quickly assess whether there is a worthwhile networking opportunity between individuals. This practice wasn’t necessarily easy to get used to either but it’s what is done. In the SF social scene, this is definitely not the case… you are supposed to KNOW who everyone is. Remember? They are a WHO's WHO! And you aren’t supposed to ASK what anyone does because you are supposed to KNOW that they are a SOMEONE. Anyway, I did manage to meet 2 women who I found very nice and interesting. We quickly found common ground by talking about raising daughters. Being a parent is the great equalizer isn’t it? Next time I go to one of these events.. I will know two people.
Before bowing out I thanked Claudia Ross (who is such a cutie, I love her!) and admitted that my quick exit was due to the awkwardness of not knowing anyone. She reminded me that I need to get out to these things more often and that I need to know these people… “I do, I do”, I responded… “But I need to do it incrementally” (and next time I definitely need to bring one of my “peeps” to make the getting to know people process more comfortable.)
Oh, on a side note: The designs for Ungaro were GORGEOUS! I especially loved his Chiffon dresses which had the perfect balance of flow in the skirt and fitted, sexy exposed wrapping in the bodice. There was a lime green number that was just to die for.