As keeper of the Fashion Calendar since 1945, Upper East Sider Ruth Finley has wrangled the runway shows, events, and parties of New York Fashion Week into a state of relative harmony for the past 67 years. She's also created a cohesive reference guide -- in print, "red as bright as her lipstick" -- for the fashion set.
Jo Piazza writes in The Wall Street Journal that Finley came up with the idea for the calendar at the age of 16, when, as a reporter for The Boston Herald, she heard women complain of a conflict between two Manhattan fashion shows. The product was invented two years later, "from a bedbug-infested walk-up with the help of her roommate." Her longtime job puts her in a unique power position in the fashion world, as she not only records but also orchestrates time slots, referees among designers, and manages demands to ensure that everyone is at least moderately satisfied. It's sold by subscription for $450.
The calendar compiles other events as well, though New York Fashion Week is the big one. Among the challenges faced since the product was born are new digital difficulties, like designers scheduling streaming runway shows that threaten to conflict with live events. Take designer Prabal Gurung's desire to schedule a digital runway show at the same time as another show. Finley, who says she had "one of the first computers," responded thusly according to the Journal:
"It's a very big problem, and I haven't figured out to handle it yet. And Nanette Lepore is at 11, and it won't start on time—how do you handle that?" she sighed. "This kind of thing could snowball next season."
One bit wisdom Finley has picked up during her time in the industry: "Most designers start 30 minutes late, almost on the button," she said.