It's fashion week in New York, so there is no better time to ask "What is Fashion Week?" (Besides a trade fair inflated with a mixture of glitter, stale air, and ego to preposterous proportions.)

Well, according to the NY Times, Fashion Week is the front row:

Like the Super Bowl and the Sundance Film Festival, Fashion Week, which began Thursday, has become such a media event — beyond showing the next season’s clothes, beyond cozy parties for industry insiders — that the front row has assumed a crazy significance in terms of drawing publicity.

In flush times, fashion houses spend small fortunes in money and time trying to get at least one big catch for their front row: a celebrity whose picture qualifies as an endorsement and will be seen everywhere.

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So Fashion Week is all about calibrating a designer's front row for maximum impact. Agonizing for weeks over whether the blond vampire from Twilight should be seated next to Eggs from True Blood, or is vampire next to mynead too much of a cliché? Should you seat the guy from Gossip Girl next to Ryan Phillippe, or will their cheekbones clash in a thoroughly distracting way? If you have Jordan Catalano (dressed as the windblown guy from that old Memorex commercial), the kid from Gossip Girl, and the guy from Cruel Intentions coming to the show, should you seat them in order of descending teen heartthrob relevance? One thing's for sure: you definitely can't put Jared Leto next to Kellan Lutz from Twilight because Leto will calmly wait for the show to begin, and then, when the lights go down, he'll place a small straw in one of Lutz's bright eyes and try to siphon all the youth from Lutz's face—and no one is going to want to buy Calvin Klein Menswear after that.

Basically, Fashion Week is hours and hours of worry about this:

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This photo is the height of glamour. Just looking at it is like drowning in sophistication. I think we can all agree that the placement of the windblown husk of Jared Leto is superb.