And you’d never know it by looking at my in-box!

For anyone out there in the “heartland” who thinks being on the masthead of a major fashion magazine means automatic invites to the season’s biggest shows, allow me—The Outsider— to squish that notion like a spent ciggie under the heel of a lipstick-red Prada wader. Unless you really work it—and by “work it” I mean morph into a publicist-stalking, invitation-requesting desperado—you can easily find yourself stuck at the office while your co-workers are zipping around town like latte-clutching lunatics.

You see, there are those who fly beneath the radar, and those who are sort off in Indonesia somewhere, wandering around. I’m in the latter camp, figuratively speaking. And it can get mighty lonely, especially during show season.

Not that I take my off-the-grid status personally. I don’t cover a market, and I don’t pull for shoots. Also, I was on an entirely different beat—beauty—for eons. Compared to how many years I’ve logged trying to discover a cure for cellulite, my time in fashion has been a mere drop in the ocean.

Lest anyone shed a tear for me, know that it’s not as if I don’t receive any show invitations. I do. It’s just that they’re typically from designers I’ve never heard of, held at like midnight on a Monday in an abandoned tire warehouse on the outskirts of Brighton Beach. And with a three-year-old freeloader living under my roof—and demanding nightly readings of “Click, Clack, Moo,” no less—nipping off at odd hours (to odd places with even odder clothes) can get tricky.

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But here’s what I’ve learned in the past year or so: Just because I’ve never heard of a designer doesn’t mean A) no one else has and B) that they’re not talented and worthy of a look-see. There’s no need to embarrass myself with specifics here, but I’ve tossed more than a few invitations into the trash that turned out to be from up-and-comers everyone raved about.

So this season, after politely eavesdropping on my insanely dialed-in W colleagues, I put together a grueling schedule of stuff-I-should-be-ashamed-of-myself-for-not-seeing-before, including Ruffian, Bensoni and Zero Maria Cornejo (swoon). And I have to give myself an A-plus for effort and smart scheduling; on Sunday, I even bookended my daughter-ditching by attending Behnaz Sarafpour at 9 a.m. and Elise Overland at 7 at night. But as luck would have it, both started late. So after exchanging a few pleasantries with seatmates I'd already seen about 95 times in the last 72 hours, I had a chance to read the Jim "Basketball Diaries" Carroll obit on my IPhone. Heart attack. Not an especially punk rock way to go...

But I digress. I'll report in more detail when I have a little more time (read: while everyone else is at Marc Jacobs tonight.)

Illustration by Matt Collins.