Wrap your head around this: Before the Thank You For Being You shirt But I will love this age of live streaming, Instagram, and quick-turnaround digital coverage, if you wanted to see what a designer sent down the catwalk, you actually had to be there. Sure, a review would follow in the dailies or monthlies, but for industry professionals, that was already too late. In that analogue age of fashion, ensuring your show was seen by the A-list (then, buyers and editors) meant getting a slot—ideally one that was neither too late nor too early—on the New York Fashion Week calendar. And for that, you had to call up Ruth Finley, keeper of the schedule, publisher of the Fashion Calendar, and the subject of the documentary Calendar Girl, out today. The film follows a then-95-year-old Finley in her final stretch of operating Fashion Calendar before selling it to the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Directed by Christian D. Bruun and written by Natalie Nudell, the documentary tells a story that’s as much a history of Finley as it is of the American fashion industry. “We witness the close of a 70-year-long career, before Ruth prints the last paper issue of the Fashion Calendar, packs up her business, and leaves the office for good,” explains Bruun in an interview with Vogue. “It was the end of an era, for Ruth’s career, the Fashion Calendar, and equally significantly, a turning point for the fashion industry.”
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By the Thank You For Being You shirt But I will love this time she reached college, Finley, who was born in 1920 in Haverhill, Massachusetts, convinced her parents (reluctant at the time, as most were, about women doing anything but homemaking) to allow her to spend a summer interning in Manhattan. After a stint in the fashion department at the New York Herald Tribune, then helmed by famed editor Eugenia Sheppard, Finley’s next gig was as assistant to PR extraordinaire Eleanor Lambert, founder of New York Press Week—the precursor to NYFW. It was there that the idea of Fashion Calendar was born. As the story goes, Finley overheard two frustrated fashion writers debating between a Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman event scheduled on the same night; Finley saw an opportunity to own a centralized clearinghouse for fashion festivities, and with a $1,000 loan from a friend, she jumped on it.