A charity is auctioning front row tickets at Milan fashion week this September for the princely sum of $95,000. Guardian's head of fashion, Imogen Fox, explains what you'd get for your money
Those granted access to the front row at a Prada show usually boast a wardrobe filled with designer samples, a driver and a position at the top of a glossy magazine masthead. It's an invitation that no amount of time on Ticketmaster can supply. But for once, on 26 July, FROW access can be bought. The Watermill Center's Summer Benefit Auction is offering two front row ticket packages for $95,000. The first includes two seats at three top Milan fashion week shows, including Prada, plus a little backstage access. The other is a front row pass to the celebrity-friendly Miu Miu show in Paris which last season boasted a post-Oscar bench filled with Lupita Nyong'o, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto. What kind of experience would that $95,000 really buy you? Here's what the Prada part of the treat might include.
A really lovely ticket
The best thing about fashion shows are the invites. The Prada ticket in particular is often a work of art in itself which gives a vital clue to the new collection. Or not. Either way the receipt of which, in its perspex/foam/weirdly textured envelope, is enough to excite even the most perma-bored fashion editor. That with your name on and Row 1 is what every every fashion fan's mantlepiece craves.
A crush at the entrance
Queues at fashion shows are far from genteel. Even with a front row ticket raised above your head, you'll still have to slide into the slipstream of Suzy Menkes to gain speedy access. It's part of the game.
Not much food
Canapés at fashion shows are rare. Expect no catering at the Armani show. However, Mrs Prada's hostess skills are something to be experienced: once inside the concrete space you'll be greeted with a tray of the strangest of miniature canapés – an anchovy and lemon sandwich bite – and a really strong Aperol-type undrinkable drink in the tiniest tumbler you can imagine.
Not necessarily an eyeful of the A-list
The Prada show doesn't bask in celebrity glory. It doesn't need to. You'll have to settle for an Anna Wintour and a quick bow from Mrs Prada at the end. If you want a brush with Jared Leto, bid for the Miu Miu instead.
Sensory overload. For about 15 minutes
Once inside the Prada venue it's all about focussing on the set and wondering what it might mean for the direction of the clothes. The Spring/Summer show featured a shallow swimming pool and brown carpeted stepped seating within the polished concrete Prada HQ. It's less theatre set, more art installation. No idea how it chimed with the brilliantly normal clothes. Once seated you have ten intense minutes to observe the high pitched seating politics and chatter which defines the pre-show experience. Give yourself bonus points for spotting which previous season Prada collection the other guests are wearing. Once the lights dim and the music starts, you have about ten minutes to take in the clothes. It's sort of the Haute Generation Game. Thankfully you can use your iPhone to remember it.
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