Fashion Week Shows: THE Place To Be!

according to Glamour magazine Executive Fashion Editor at Large Suze Yalof Schwartz.

"It's one of the most exciting places to be, " she says, adding that she's even been offered cold cash for a ticket to the Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs shows.

Although the Fashion Week shows have grown in popularity and size over the years, they're not open to the public, Schwartz explained on The Early Show Wednesday. They're for magazine editors and writers, store buyers, friends and family of the designers, clients, and of course, celebrities.

Even people with invitations -- non-VIPs -- have to wait on line to check in and get their seating (or standing) assignment) for each show. And sometimes, she says, assigned seats are already taken!

To see photos from the catwalks, click here.

As the fashionistas, socialites, and the like schmooze and say their hellos, Schwartz continued, a mass of photographers, both still and video, set up in their designated areas for shows that last all of 10 to 20 minutes and, in most cases, start a half-hour late!

So, why even bother to come to the tents, now that the shows are available to view on the Internet within hours?

Schwartz was quick to explain it's all about the feeling, the music, the lighting: It's the show of all shows!

To visit Schwartz's blog, click here.

Meanwhile, as guests are seated, preparations are under way backstage, with designers being interviewed and some of the best stylists getting to work on the faces and heads of the models -- setting the stage for hair and makeup trends, as well.

As for the goings-on on the catwalks -- she says dresses of all lengths ruled the day on Tuesday, Fashion Week's Day Five.

Feathers were also bountiful on the runways.

"There is no one length" to dresses, Schwartz says. "It's long, above the knee, mid-thigh, mid-calf." At the Badgley Mischka show, she spotted lots of fringed dresses, and one evening dress she feels has big Oscar potential. There were other outfits that could land on the Oscars red carpet, Schwartz notes, at the J. Mendel show.

The highlights, as Schwartz saw them:

Tibi: For her Fall Tibi show, designer Amy Smilovic, enthralled with the '70s, went with lots of graphic prints and paisleys.

Badgley Mischka: Designer duo James Badgley and Mark Mischka, known for their upscale evening wear, added some sass to their daytime looks, which included lots of ladylike tweed suits. Marked by '70s glam, the collection also included printed chiffon blouses, cropped jackets, metallic beaded and sequined looks, as well as jewel toned gowns.

J. Mendel: Designer Gilles Mendel created a Fall collection that embraces luxe femininity. For day, Mendel begins with sleek suits in metallic with fur trim. For night, it's a selection of cocktail dresses with a slight '50s flair, as well as glamorous gowns.

Associated Press fashion writer Samantha Critchell filed this report about Day Five:

If you want to look fashionable next fall, follow the flock.

Feathers were a surprising trend Tuesday at New York Fashion Week, showing up on coats, dresses and hats. In tough economic times, perhaps feathers seem a little less showy than fur.

It's only the most literal bird influence, though. Look for colors next fall called goldfinch, cardinal and peacock, and some ornithology-inspired prints from Carolina Herrera.