A great deal has already been said and no doubt much more will be written in the years to come about the defining moment of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia MMXVI.
No, I don’t mean Bella Hadid deigning to interrupt her meticulously taped red carpet appearances at Cannes to decipher Australian slang with us. It goes without saying by now that I mean the half hour I spent trapped in a sweltering 1x2M elevator with seven other show attendees. In the wake of this unimaginable ordeal, my colleagues and I have been variously and unfairly mislabelled as “hapless fashion victims”, “pouting devotees” and (I imagine) “extremely deserving” of the predicament in which in which we found ourselves.
For too long have I held my tongue, waiting (perhaps in vain, perhaps not) for 60 Minutes to start a bidding war with Sunday Night for the exclusive rights to remunerate me handsomely for sharing my story, but no – nothing, not even a DM from Tara Brown.
So no longer will I stand idly by while the much-maligned industry colleagues that I spent a fateful, sweaty half hour with are denounced for their predilection for taking selfies or their fondness for listening to Lemonade during a crisis. It’s time to set the record straight: the half-hour(ish) that I spent trapped in that lift was the highlight of my Fashion Week.
Not only did it reaffirm my faith in humanity’s capacity for selfless acts of generosity in (what felt like) an emergency, but it reiterated just how important breathable fabrics are to each and everyone one of us. From the moment the first shrill alarm was raised and did not stop droning until we poured out of the elevator (before being told to get back into the lift by the staff of a communal work space whose office we’d unwittingly walked into) there was quite literally no room for anything other than unwavering support.
Support for the journalist six months into her pregnancy. Support for the European photographer who at one point looked at me dead in the eyes and told me, steely-faced and with the bleakest of expressions, “I am not calm.” Support from those of us in the far corners, for we had the best vantage points from which to create the groundbreaking content that has come to define an entire week (for SEO purposes).
In my heart of hearts, I truly believe this camaraderie is what Guy Sebastian had in mind when he penned the 2006 ARIA Singles Chart N°11 hit, Elevator Love. We entered that lift strangers and emerged, forever changed, as affable acquaintances.
In the days since, I’ve been compared to both Stuart Diver and Kimmy Schmidt. I’ve seen many of my fellow trapeze at the shows. We’ve exchanged knowing waves from afar and whispered words of support to one another from one row to the next. I’ve since learned to take the stairs, to always go to the bathroom should the opportunity present itself, and to carry mints everywhere. I’ve read that nothing brings a community closer than unspeakable tragedy, and now I can say the same is true of Australia’s fashion industry. Nay, Australia’s fashion family. And, last night, I’m pleased to report I rode not one but three elevators.
It was wild.
Also, can those of you in possession of my sunglasses please return them to the registration desk? Thanks.