Fashion week is in full swing in New York, celebrating the irritatingly recurring time of year that all of the self-congratulatory super-socialites take the opportunity to stop patting themselves on the back and pat each other for awhile.  Last night, Betsy Johnson took the opportunity to share the limelight with the Great-Uncle of Glam, John Cale, the founding member of the Velvet Underground, to celebrate the release of his new record, "HoboSapiens."

For anybody mystified by the sheer economics of fashion week, we've developed a simple formula from the John Cale / Betsy Johnson party last night at The Bryant Park Hotel that'll help you figure out how all those fashion week galavants can afford to live it up for seven days on Seventh Avenue:

(8b + .3p + 1.4d + .15m) - (11c + .01f) ~= 0

We'll break it down for those of you who aren't familiar with the basics of socio-mathematical equations:


Breast jobs are in abundance, from the absolute best you can imagine (roughly 80% of the females in the room, by best guess) to the horribly awkward, absolutely disorienting, anti-Newtonian impossibilities. Imagine an evening at home, watching Nip/Tuck on DVD with friends. Now add free booze. Now remove the friends.  Now kill the television, place the setting in a fancy hotel, add hundreds of people, pulsing music, skimpy outfits and overgrown nipples aiming at every imaginable point along the X, Y and Z axis.   Imagine breasts spread liberally all over the space and time continuums.  Yes, you heard it here first: During fashion week, above 34th street and along 7th avenue, the laws of physics are to be considered useless meanderings inside the heads of all those people who aren't on The List.  Fashion week is not required to abide by these laws. Look at these two falling apples, baby, these are the only ones that matter this week.


Prada is the urban hipster handbook's generic word for "expensive clothes by designers with person names."  It's fashion week. Lots of people wear these things. They're all presumably very expensive. Loehmann's sells them, but we're pretty sure that's not the right place to buy them.


Drugs, Dresses and Diamonds. All are expensive. All are implied. All are, um, sometimes white. They all come in other colors, too, except diamonds. Those are just white. Or clear. Actually, kind of a glittery clear. Is clear a color?


Make-up. Whether you're a runway model or a cross-dressing Dolly Parton pantyhose queen, this is the one accessory that crosses all boundaries. Male or female, stick-thin mannequin or beluga-bottomed blimp, make-up turns a blind eye to our differences and brings us all together.  Applied sparsely across a beautiful woman's lips, or liberally across a 19-year-old Dominican transvestite's entire body, you can do no wrong with make-up. Despite any pre-conceived notions regarding the exclusivity of fashion week that we may harbor, they were all shattered by the glint of the compact's magic mirrors.


This horizontal line signifies the deduction of the following sum from the value of all the parts we've compiled before it. If this is new to you, we recommend that you stop horsing around on the Internet and get back to class. They never should have put computers in elementary schools.


Champagne. Named for it's place of origin in the French province of Champagne, it's literally become the toast of the town here in New York. Now, you can imagine that bringing all that sparkling white wine over from France can get pretty costly, and since they give it away by the gallon here, you're really milking (total absence of pun intended) the socialite system by ingesting as much as possible. Every glass you drink, aside from making you look distinguished, justifies the cost of the clothes you're wearing and the unbearable truths of your sheer existence by giving you the satisfied feeling of having gotten something for free, and also (and primarily) by getting you plastered. Nothing justifies a vacant, heavily botoxed, gaping hole of an existence like being drunk off your Zac Posen postured prosthetic posterior.


Food.  Free sushi and grilled vegetables on sticks.  Get it while you can.  While the food is free, however, it is recommended that you tip the bathroom attendant after you repeat your California roll in the ladies' lounge.


Roughly equaling out to. The little squiggly thing (~) means that instead of the equation being exact, it's pretty damn close. It's like the mathematical equivalent of "I'm beautiful, so it doesn't have to make sense."

That's pretty much an even equation in the end, and we feel it sensibly explains the basic economics of Fashion week. If there's any remainder left over, cost of living and whatnot during downtime between events, it's relatively easy to account for. Petty cash and daddy's platinum pay for the penthouse on Jane Street, and the rest comes out in the wash. They have a man named Julio who does it for them. He speaks in Spanish!

[This article was written & photographed by our Culture & Events Documentarian, Ben Chappel. Ben lives in New York and writes He loves New York and also Nashville, Tennessee.  Late nineteenth-century history, Alexander Hamilton and neurological sensory disorders are among his favorite topics of thought. His third novel, "Fictional Accounts of Synesthesia in the Contemporary Twenty-Something Relationship", is available now from]