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Monday, September 12, 2005

Stuff happens - the damn thing fell on the wrong head...where was AW?


In front of a celebrity studded crowd that included Kelly Osbourne and Paris Hilton, an entire section of lighting—held together by two thick white posts flanking the runway like a goalpost—came crashing down onto the floor as the models walked the finale, hitting and bruising editors and causing a scene that can only be described as chaos. Among those injured included The Daily Telegraph fashion critic Hilary Alexander, Cosmopolitan fashion director Karen Haynes, Teen Vogue editor in chief Amy Astley and The Daily’s own European editor, Karl Treacy. While Astley was injured—she sustained a large cut to her back that destroyed her sweater—her affliction was not as severe as what happened to the other editors. Treacy suffered a gash on his head and was rushed upstairs bleeding from the side of his face; Haynes was ushered to an ambulance, where her neck was supported with a brace and gauze wrapped around her head to keep it secure and immobile; and as for the brave Alexander, she was taken out by a stretcher, head and neck bound with gauze and medical tape, to the hospital via ambulance.

“Don’t be rude! Rise to the fashion occasion,” shouted Vogue’s Billy Norwich angrily as he chastised the many photographers who stayed on to shoot the injured Alexander. “You are all becoming paparazzi! Get out of here!” added French Vogue photographer Stéphane Feugère. Alexander, who at first was in shock after being hit, was escorted to section E, away from where the lights fell, by Vanity Fair fashion director Elizabeth Saltzman, hotelier Andres Balazs and Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune. French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld quickly joined the group, as did show publicists Deborah Hughes and Karla Otto. Hughes immediately called for the ambulance and rushed Alexander a cold bottle of water to help sustain the swelling. “Hilary didn’t look so good and she’s a tough cookie,” said Barneys New York’s Julie Gilhart. A visibly shaken—and crying—Diane von Furstenberg ran from one injured editor to another, making sure they were ok and embracing them. Her offices were completely evacuated by the fire department, leaving the likes of Vanity Fair fashion director Anne McNally and painter Anh Duong speechless in shock. A representative for Astley said that she went home, skipping Tuleh, which was taking place at 7pm after the 6pm DVF show, to be with her family. Though she noted that Astley was a bit shaken up, she did not go to the ambulance that was called for her.

The section of lights fell after eyewitnesses said that during the show—and with help from the vibrations from the music and the models walking no less—the goalposts began shaking. The lights, which were the heaviest part of the structure, were top heavy and when they fell, pulled the entire rig down with it. No surprise say some, as so many people—including security guards—were shoved beside the poles that many could not even see the models on the runway.

Ironically, in the show program notes, von Furstenberg attached a hand-written card to each guest that read:

“How do you have a show about joie de vivre and glamour when faced with disasters? After much soul searching I thought that ‘the show must go on’ but that I will match the cost of the show and donate it to Habitat for Humanity to rebuild houses after Katrina.”

Von Furstenberg was not reachable for comment.


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