c.2013 New York Times News Service

c.2013 New York Times News Service

The drumbeat for Fashion Week started a month ago in my in-box, and now itís up to oblivion level, white noise in the black season.

I canít get ready for Fashion Week, though. (And part of me wants to return the F and the W to lowercase status, so I donít feel as if I am actually attending a trade show.) Maybe itís the 45 shows on my plate that give me pause. Besides, the things I love about the four-city tour are almost all personal, like getting up at 5 every morning to ďmake the doughnutsĒ (an expression I first heard from Michael Kors to describe, in my case, a review for the newspaper) or taking a slow walk at night back to my hotel (Paris, letís say) to digest the day, especially a day of decent shows and gossip.

At the start of my fashion-writing career, when in Paris, I used to send photos from The Associated Press, then near the top of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honorť, and afterward walk down the street. It was generally midnight. Sometimes you would see models going into Thierry Muglerís place or hanging out in the little cafe nearby. But the street was pretty empty. I was never scared, as I might be a little today. I used the time to give myself a little pep talk, along the lines of ďthere are good days and bad days,Ē and, undoubtedly, to reconnect with normal things, which in Paris were always around you.

Now, almost everyone uses a car and driver, a convenience that gradually became a necessity. As for pictures, it takes about 30 minutes to move a dayís worth of images. I like the speed of things nowadays (it has a merciless appeal), but when you are a little more footloose you canít help but believe that decisions are more in your own hands. I think many people crave that power.

Take, for example, this business of commanding guests at shows to tuck in their legs and handbags, so the photographers can get a tidy shot of the clothes. Itís pretty embarrassing, like sitting in study hall. One of the great things about pictures of shows in the í60s, or í90s, is that the scene is messy. The models seem at the center of a respectable orgy.

Some of this realistic quality still exists. But the goal today is branding, and that expectation, that everyone will be doing it during FW, can really put the starch in your collar.