First of all, you need to actually get into the shows, which involves filing ticket requests weeks in advance and then numerous phone calls, emails and faxes to ensure you get the ticket and, more importantly, a good seat.
Each city has its own rules: New York prefers email requests and necessitates many, many phone calls; London prefers faxes; Paris, more phone calls.
Where you sit on the day depends on a whole host of different rules: which magazine you work for (or website in my case), your job title, how well you know the PR, how good a review you gave the designer’s previous show and, quite possibly, what phase the moon’s cycle is currently in.
If you’ve been given a bad seat and want to upgrade, try not to enter the show too early – wait until you believe the tent is about half full.
Pick a seat midway along a row (making it more difficult for the PR to walk along and check your ticket) and never, ever upgrade yourself to the front row unless you’re feeling very confident and don’t mind complete humiliation when you’re unceremoniously turfed out of the seat by an editor-in-chief.
The rule of thumb, as an Australian fashion editor at the Vivienne Westwood show in Paris explained to me, is to divide your row number in half (round it down if you get a half number) and then move yourself forward that number of rows. If you’re in row 4, for example, you can probably get away with moving into row 2, if you’re in row 5, move to row 3. Of course, all of this goes out of the window if it’s a big show.
Finally, buy the largest and most stylish bag you can find and then use it to stash your flat shoes (a necessity for running in between shows), a bottle of water (too many free cocktails makes for incoherent show reports), an umbrella (used in all four cities this season), book (to hide your head in when the PRs are on the hunt for aforementioned seat switchers), notepad, snacks and make-up.