Thursday, 6 January 2011

Fashion Avenue

My alarm goes off.
It takes me a while to come to my senses, and slowly open my eyes; which is at which point, I find myself in a hotel room, with three other girls around me.
To the untrained eye, this looks and sounds like something out of a rather dodgy film. It was only when I looked at the suitcases and shoes on the floor that I realised exactly where I was, and I smiled.
I had woken up in New York!

After battling with the girls for bathroom time and straightener usage, we headed downstairs to the reception. Being a small (lie, I'm 5'10) girl in a big City, I thought I'd be super initiative and ask the hotel clerk about the best place to get some breakfast. The woman's smile however, told me that sadly, I wasnt the only clever-thinking girl in the hotel, and this was proved as we entered the TownHouse Cafe, to find nearly all of our colleagues sat there, tucking into pancakes.

We were greeted warmly by a member of staff, and instantly offered coffee and given menus. Oh, how happy my eyes were! Pancakes, waffles, bacon, french toast, muffins galore - this, was incredible. Having spent god knows how long deciding between pancakes or french toast, I stuck with my Canadian girl roots and ordered the latter. With smotherings of maple syrup, and some bacon for good measure.

I cant tell you exactly how long we spent in there, but I managed at least four cups of tea (how British)!
It was at this point that we realised how much we wanted to get done that day, all with trying to schedule in our meeting at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which we were to visit later that afternoon.

We re-traced our footsteps from the night before, and already everything was starting to feel strangely familiar. I guess people dont call the Big Apple 'home' for nothing! Huddling our way down 5th Av in about as many layers as you'd find in an onion, we were invited in by the scent of Sephora, one of the many famous makeup store's to be found.
As we entered, I was compelled and fascinated at the view around me. There was more makeup than I had ever seen in my entire life, all beautifully arranged on shelves with Hollywood style lightbulbs. Lipstick colour after lipstick colour made its way onto my hand for 'testing' (there was a beautiful Tom Ford colour called 'fine coral', check it out), before I noticed the Beauty and the Beast style stairs at the back of the store, which led up to the perfumery section. I was in heaven; but by the time I smelt like a brothel on popular night, the girls dragged me out, insisting that we had so much more to see.

Close by, was the famous Saks Fith Avenue. I say famous, but I would be lying if I said that I was familiar with the name before my visit. Although I'd like to write a lot here, I did not thoroughly enjoy experience. The members of staff looked at my in my fur coat like I was a vermin cat from the dustbins outside. We were offered very little customer service, and when it was, it seemed false, predictable and utterly robotic.
Although I am a girl of many words, I am not usually a girl of harsh words, and so forgive my negativity; but I do not appreciate people assuming that they know what I can and cant afford. Let me show you my black card.

With a swift exit, we realised that we were in fact opposite the famous Rockafellla Centre. The monumental Christmas tree towered above us as we walked closer towards it, chocolatiers and toy stores on either side of us. I felt like I was in a 21st Century Christmas movie, with me being the (rather large) child star. It felt a bit like Disney Land, with happy couples and and children holding hands on the ice rink, tall festive statues as far as the eye could see.
Having had more than enough photo opps, we entered the famous building and made our way to the lift. Once we'd stepped inside, joined by numerous other travellers, the lift began to move. The ceiling transformed into a see-through glass display, with lights and videos being projected onto it. I felt like I was in the final part of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, going up through the factory ceiling in the glass lift.
It was perhaps one of the most exhillirating yet terrifying experiences I can say I've had in a lift (if, at all!), and then we came to an ubrupt stop.
To my un-healthy body's dissapointment, we were not at 'The Top of The Rock', but had to walk the final few flights of stairs.
But oh my god, was it worth it.
I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting from being so high up above New York City, but it was definitely not this. Miles and miles of urban landscape stretched before my eyes, and the air seemed to be less bitter than before. The light fog which hovered above the city seemed almost angelic, and there was an intense feeling of serenity in the atmosphere. Even with my loud voice, everything felt so calm, and for a few moments, time seemed to stop completely...

Opposite the Rockafella, was much-hyped store Anthropologie (again, an unfamiliar name to me until I begun my year on FCP!). Multiple tutors on the course had expressed a deep love for this Urban Outfitters-related store, and until you go, you wont understand.
The window displays themselves were inviting enough, with them being more a work of sculptural art than a form of advertising. The visual merchandising itself within the store, of course matched expectations; and even exceeded them.
The theme for the interior seemed to run along the lines of woodland meets urban naturistic, with muted colours and woods and cottons. Fake trees and flowers lined the floors, with displays made out of tree-pine and various other materials. There was even the traditional moose head above the exit, which I noticed as we asked the security guard for directions on how to use the subway...

We arrived at the Fashion Institute of Technology rather un-fashionably on time. Although the subways had seemed like a maze of letters and numbers, our University brains stepped into gear and we'd somehow made it to the doors of the University's exhibition space. This part of our trip was the only bit which had been organised as such

The Triple Crown - Irish Pub - chicken noodle soup and French fries -
too posh to be an Irish pub! Delicious cranberry juice! Awkward exit -
do they not do change?!
Macys - betsey johnson jewlery
Victorias Secrets - spent £120! People go mad for a sale! Not friendly
customer service, but said they watch Eastenders.
34th Street District - feels like Oxford Street!
Apple store - big glass square with time warp lift!
Bergdoff Goodman - no music inside and my bloody iPhone starts playing
kooks! Manequins are randomly placed making them looking like
beautifully dressed shoppers. Expensive, classy, elegant!
Louis Vuitton - animal bags in window, boxes with bags in move from
side to side, catwalk shows on pillars, big vintage luggage boxes
stuck on Walls, can't believe when a man said we could take the
elevator instead of stairs, I shouted "thank god!"
Burberry - bright with dark woods and open plan. Catwalk projection at
back of shop. Lots of staff and ambient indie music. Burberry Prosum
stud coat, to die for. Multiple floors.
Mui Mui - gold carpet and vintage pattern curtains for the Walls -
with the glass and mirrors feels like a walk in wardrobe! "I love
these shoes!" "Why don't you just find them on eBay?"
Chanel - got locked in! Had to go out the back staff way!
Abercrombie - loud music, smells amazing, better than Holister, more
space etc
Armani - futuristic meets art deco. Trying on sunglasses "I look like
I'm ready to watch 3D tv". New S/S stock at front of store. Chocolates
etc on 3rd floor. "Armani Dulci" (sweets line) started in Milan 2002,
only in selected cities; do black tea with chocolate. Bar/restaurant
looks amazing.
Saks fith avenue - Lucy bought sunglasses, I say: "I feel like you've
just given birth I'm so happy for you!"
Hard Rock Cafe - got served VIP, queue jumped over 20 peple because
we're London girls- love being British and male waitors! 1729 calories
in mac and chicken meal. Velvet crush cocktail.
Broadway - tramp man said "ey" - we follow with "turn my swag on" -

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