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FNO with a VIP: An Olympic Athlete's Fashion Experience

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Meet Tim Morehouse, number-one ranked sabre fencer in the country and Olympic silver medalist (Beijing 2008) turned Wilhelmina model. Tim—who is at the helm of the Fencing Masters NYC event taking place at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Wednesday, November 17th—was one of many featured guests at Bergdorf Goodman's extensive Fashion's Night Out festivities.

We followed the athlete in his semi-stressful but usually successful attempts to meet up with friends, connect with celebrities (we totally kinda met Mary J. Blige!) and chat with fans and acquaintances between Saks Fifth Avenue and both the men's and women's Bergdorfs on one of the most congested New York City evenings we can remember. And we managed to capture the whole night. Buckle your seat belts and get ready for some serious celebrity photos.

We only met Tim for the first time around 1:30pm at Lincoln Center's Buckler presentation. A frequent wearer of the brand, Tim was front row-center (figuratively, as we were all standing) and hard to miss—he has a few inches on us and we're not tiny. He wasn't wearing Buckler at Buckler, though, since he'd just been fitted for some exclusive and not-yet-available Steven Alan for Dockers threads (two outfits: One for day, a different one for evening). After arranging to meet at Bergdorf Goodman's main store's side entrance at 5:45pm, we parted ways for the rest of the afternoon—not that we didn't receive several text updates from the athlete in the interim. Note: they were pretty liberally-peppered with emoticons. And then the night really began...

5:31: Thrilled we're—for once—hinging on early, we emerge from the subway to a text from Tim. He's already waiting. We have about six blocks to walk and the streets are already absolutely clogged with FNO revelers and standard Fifth Avenue tourists and paper-pushers.

5:42: Jeez—there are already winding mazes of people trying to get in (Patrick McDonald, who waved, amongst them).

5:44: Hey! Still early! We find Tim (and a few more texts) behind a barricade at a service entrance on 58th Street. Tonight, however, Bergdorf is calling it a VIP entrance. We tried squinting but it still looks pretty function-over-form to us. We remain outside waiting for Tim's publicist and business partner Jody Ausland as well as someone to escort us upstairs.

5:50: With Jody in tow, we head inside to a security checkpoint where Tim signs an autograph and took some photos for the man at the podium (the first of many times the medal comes out of Tim's breast pocket). Then Linda Fargo—the store's fashion director—breezes by. She and Tim greet each other warmly; we discuss shoes with Jody.

6:01: Finally, we are told to just hit the elevator on our own and get to 5 if we want to meet Mary J. Blige. She was styling the unwashed with her new line of sunglasses. After missing like three elevators over close to ten minutes to rabid, psychotic shoppers Tim declared: "Gotta be really New York City right now and just do this!" We muscle in.

6:08: We make it to 5 and Mary J.'s fans are crammed in and pretty rambunctious. The vibe was confusion and hysteria and it was roughly 600 degrees. As we jostle through Jody comments on Tim's styled, spiky hair. Tim chuckles, "What do you call this? A 'mo 'fro?" Whoa—okay. Jody, laughing, corrects him: "A faux hawk."

6:11: There are no event schedules—or cocktails—anywhere.

6:16: Tim, wondering how Mary J. can be late and leave so many psychotics waiting: "Like, no-one shows up on time, right?" No, Tim—just ask Marc Jacobs.

6:24: We meet everyone working the event: Bergdorf Goodman folks, Sony folks, kitchen sink folks. We've been moved and jostled from one nook to the next. The crowd continues to swell—and they were dressed! Still no Mary J. If nothing else, at least one glamorous middle-aged Bergdorfian just went to look into the temperature issue.

6:25: Tim's already ran into someone. This will repeat itself many times over. There aren't enough pages in our notebooks to take down each person's name.

6:27: How are we the only people in the entire room who don't have free and frosty cans of Sophia champagne?

6:28: With a rush and a push, Mary J. finally gets here. She is escorted the long way through the crowd—cheering, flashbulbs, one woman in tears—to the table of sunglasses. She sits down, is told to stand back up, and proceeds to pose for pictures for roughly two years. We three can be seen awkwardly standing behind her in many of them. People are really losing it—several mega-fans claw through the rolling rack-mannequin barricades and basically accost us before fondling the glasses and touching the singer (who, by the way, looks fierce and is, by the way, wearing some other brand of sunglasses) who is slated to style each customer in the best frames for their face before standing up for a photograph with each of them in said glasses. Judging from the stampede we're guessing this was never actually allowed to happen.

6:34: Oh, shit, every pair of glasses is gone. And we still haven't made contact.

6:40: Still nothing, Tim's getting frustrated and is concerned over making other obligations: "After three days of [Fashion Week] you get Fashion Rage."

6:45: Tim grabs a pair of aviators from some dumb girl who can't afford to buy them after reminding Captain Bergdorf that we have rounds to make. We get our photo—harrowing, security, screaming, nightmare, no words/so many words.

6:47: Second run-in: This time the New York magazine writer who interviewed Tim in July—Bennett Marcus.

6:50: We hit the escalators from 5 to 2 because the elevators are a lost cause. Tim runs into another acquaintance before we attempt to get to Tinsley Mortimer and a canine dog show. Compared to Mary J.'s floor the space might as well have tumbleweeds bumbling through it. But under any normal circumstances it would still be considered crazy-packed.

6:55: Tim takes off running towards the Marni section; we lose him and Jody in the crush. It turns out there's a passageway back along the windows and he used it to sneak over to where Tinsley was posing a nook or two away. Not carrying our Bergdorf's blueprints, we were unaware—but that's what cellphones are for. In the meantime somebody needs to produce a damn can of Sophia so we can go laugh at the dogs.

6:56: Chihuahua in purple mink! Owner in purple velvet! Both males!

7:00: Oh, there's Tim! We spot him over the hordes chatting and posing with Tinsley; we continued chatting and posing with Sophia.

7:09: Escalate to the main floor where a routine inquiry to another Bergdorfian re whether or not the Sarah Jessica Parker appearance was happening ended up with Tim basically being labeled a shoplifter. He still had those aviators on! he girl recognizes them and gasps "Are those Mary's? We're missing a pair." We move on minus one pair of glasses, plus a schedule, and with no additional information on Sarah Jessica.

7:10: Another friend.

7:12: Tim's camera has gone missing—this will happen two or three more times. But we found it!

7:15: Leaving the main store and greeted by wall-to-wall crowds on the sidewalk, we become totally disoriented and can't find the men's store (in our defense, we are much more familiar with Barneys). At one point we steal into an entry we think must be right, and it's a burger restaurant. Oops.

7:18: We finally find the men's store. In stark contrast to the main store mayhem the space is uncrowded but busy, and no one seems to know what's going on. Hurry up and wait!

Stay tuned for part 2—Saks, Spurr, Cynthia Rowley, Ed Westwick and no cabs for anyone, not even Olympians.

· Tim Morehouse [Official Site]
· Fencing Masters NYC [Official Site]
· All FNO recaps [Racked]

Bergdorf Goodman

754 5th Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10019 (212) 753-7300 Visit Website

Saks Fifth Avenue

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Bergdorf Goodman

754 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY