28 photos show the unglamorous side of New York Fashion Week

Neilson Barnard/Getty ImagesA model takes an opportunity to nap.
  • Fashion Week takes over New York City from February 6 to 13.
  • Models, designers, celebrities, and members of the international press flock to the city to attend the fanciest fashion shows – but it’s not all glamorous.
  • Models get blisters, it’s always a mad race to the exit at the end of a show, and high-profile celebrities bring their crying kids and dogs to sit in the front row.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As the press works tirelessly to make sure New York Fashion Week looks as glamorous as possible, behind the scenes, it’s not always as elegant as it appears.

Winter NYFW, which runs from February 6 to 13, is especially difficult because of freezing temperatures. Attendees have to battle the infamous New York wind, oftentimes waiting in long lines just to attend a 15-minute show.

From broken heels and blisters to freezing rain and tons of diva moments, these photos reveal the unglamorous side of New York Fashion Week.


Being a model isn’t always glamorous. New York Fashion Week usually means early call times and hours spent in a chair with people pulling at your hair.

Michael Stewart/WireImageA sleepy model gets her hair done.

Models have to sit through the hair pulling with no complaints.

Paul Morigi/WireImage/Getty ImagesA model winces as her hair is pulled.

The pain continues on the runway, as some models end up with blisters from those sky-high shoes.

AP Photo/Julie JacobsonA model’s Band-Aids are seen during a show.

Trying not to fall is a whole different dilemma.

Frazer Harrison/Getty ImagesA model tumbles down a set of stairs on a runway stage.

Stairs proved to be quite tricky for models at the Givenchy Spring 2016 show.

Frazer Harrison/Getty ImagesAnother model takes a fall and has to be helped up by audience members.

A wipe-out can not only interfere with the flow of a show, but models can get seriously injured.

Scott Gries/Getty Images for IMGA model slips while walking in the Herve Leger by Max Azria show.

But falling can also humanize the fashion world a bit.

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty ImagesA model smiles off her fall and gets back on her feet.

Once the show begins, designers can only hope that everything unfolds as planned. Diane Von Furstenberg could do nothing but watch as a light rig fell and landed near audience members in 2005.

Thos Robinson/Getty ImagesThis show was held in Bryant Park, which made the set design more difficult than usual.

Backstage can also get tense in the minutes leading up to the show — usually with designers and production barking orders.

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images For IMGDesigner Kimora Lee Simmons yells backstage minutes before her show.

Even models as experienced as Gigi Hadid can get flustered before walking.

RW/MediaPunch/IPX/AP ImagesGigi Hadid.

Kids can’t always keep their cool, either. Here, North West has a minor tantrum while sitting front row with her mum at the Alexander Wang show.

Craig Barritt/Getty ImagesKim tries to distract North with candy, which is probably a rare find during Fashion Week.

To ease the stress of it all, some audience members bring their dogs to the show.

Monica Schipper/Getty Images for NYFW: The ShowsDesigner Scott Studenberg brings his puppy to take in all the latest trends.

Some dogs get more access than attendees.

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The ShowsAttending the dress rehearsal.

This dog got the chance to watch a dress rehearsal before attendees were let in.


They’re dressed in their best, but attendees still have to wait in long lines before even taking their seats.

Manny Carabel/Getty ImagesLuckily, this line is inside.

Fashion Week is held in the summer and winter so attendees have to either wait in the thick heat, or the icy New York wind.

Roy Rochlin/Roy Rochlin/Getty ImagesAttendees try not to sweat through their glamorous outfits.

Once it starts to snow or sleet, getting to and from shows can become a nightmare.

BILLY FARRELL/Patrick McMullan/Getty ImagesA man shovels the stairs in front of a fashion show.

Once attendees take their seats, they have to wait even longer before the show comes on.

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMGShows usually only last about 15 minutes.

Source: Harper’s Bazaar


Then once the show ends, it is a mad dash for the exit, as attendees need to make it to their next scheduled event.

Albert Urso/Getty Images for NYFW: The ShowsEveryone snaps one final photo and then books it out of there.

Backstage, makeup products are crammed into the limited space.

Ben Gabbe/Getty ImagesDrugstore makeup brands are a lot more common than you would think.

When models aren’t being made up, they usually just pass the time by sleeping in any corner they can find.

Neilson Barnard/Getty ImagesIt’s not uncommon to see a model lying on a floor.

It is becoming more common for shows to be held in obscure locations, including parks and subway stops. This means unglamorous, mobile bathrooms.

Thos Robinson/Getty ImagesThe bathrooms for a fashion show in Bryant Park.

Attendees probably didn’t plan on having to duck into a small stall wearing a couture outfit.

Thos Robinson/Getty ImagesA bathroom attendant helps a fashion-goer into a stall.

If a fashion show is inside, elevators are jam-packed with models and designers rushing to the green rooms.

AP Photo/Kevin HagenChristian Siriano, left, packs an elevator with models ahead of the presentation of his spring line.

Streets outside the shows are just as crowded, as paparazzi race through the city trying to capture photos of celebrities.

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty ImagesPaparazzi even capture every day people.

Fashion Week turns the streets of New York into a crowded runway, so New Yorkers can forget getting to work on time.

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty ImagesTaking over the streets.

There’s truly no escape from the press. The Yeohlee show was held at a subway stop, making the commute impossible for locals.

Scott Gries/Getty ImagesPress block an exit at a New York subway stop.

Wintertime doesn’t stop the madness. Photographers have to bundle up and brave the cold to get the perfect shot.

AP Photo/Diane BondareffWind and snow won’t stop the paparazzi.

But through all the mishaps and stress, New York Fashion Week is always a fun spectacle to enjoy and a great look inside the fashion world.

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Tory BurchAnna Wintour watches the Tory Burch show.

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