Behind the Scenes at a “Fashion Week” Show

Fashion Week made its notable appearance again at Lincoln Center this time highlighting the Spring 2014 season.

Characters in dubious mode of dress peppered the outside area calling attention to some really weird dressing.  These “you-have-to-notice-me-because-I’m-so- bizarre” eccentrics are making a statement though for the life of me, I haven’t figured out what it is.  These strange people are there every season.  For me they have become the side-show to the main event.… the fashion shows. Nonetheless the media descends on them like moths to a flame.

Real fashion was inside the Fashion Week building.  Stages were built to showcase designers’ newest collections on runways that stretched out long enough to support a Piper Turboprop landing.

This time I was asked to work the behind the scenes activities of one of the shows which was to shepherd media to meet and interview one of the more talented designers at Fashion Week named Carmen Marc Valvo.

When I arrived at the back stage entrance I was directed to the dressing room where models were being prepared for the show.  It was a frenzied atmosphere but surprisingly in a controlled way.  Wigs were being styled, makeup was being applied, and toenails were polished. Little did these pampered feet know they would slip into some pretty altitude raising stilettos?

Carmen Marc Valvo Spring 2914 Shoe Collection

Carmen Marc Valvo Spring 2014 Shoe Collection

Strangely, stilettos are still very much in fashion though it still boggles my mind how these shoes could be wearable.  I might add spike heels were seen on the runway and on visitors (both genders I might add) to Fashion Week.  Some navigated the elevations much better than others.

The backroom was abuzz with simultaneous interviews. Media was everywhere.  Cameras followed the art of make-up application, the manner in which hair stylists’ brushed and combed hair. Reporters interviewed models while their faces were being made up. Everything was news worthy.  It was a hive of anticipation, a prologue to the actual show.

Backroom Buzz

Backroom Buzz

Prior to the show, television, newspaper and on-line reporters and camera crews had committed to appointments with Carmen.  My job? To make sure those that made the requests beforehand had a certain amount of private time with him.  Of course there was media that just showed up in the hopes they would be able to speak with him.    As I handled media in my previous business life, I was aware the more media exposure the better.  When there was a hiccup in between scheduled interviews I squeezed in any press that was willing to do a quick one-on-one.

Soon the backroom was cleared as the show was about to begin.  I left to take my seat in the auditorium where the show would take place.  Carmen’s collection was beautiful and quite original. The dresses and gowns had a monochromatic Mondrian inspired look.  Squares and rectangles covered long gowns and short dresses that paraded down the runway.  This collection was what fashion is all about.  This collection featured beautiful, wearable and original creations that are red carpet worthy and lovely attire for any black tie event.

Mondrian inspired gowns.

Mondrian inspired gowns.

I must admit it was good to once again be involved in the spirit of the behind the scenes fashion show.  But once it was over….I was just as happy it wasn’t my day job anymore.

FROM THE RIDICULOUS TO THE SUBLIME

Brave soul that I am I ventured out Friday morning through New York City’s first winter blizzard to attend a fashion show.

Fashion shows as a rule are quite entertaining in and of themselves, and judging by what I witnessed Friday morning during Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, one doesn’t have to bear witness just sitting in the front row to enjoy the spectacle. All one has to do is stand or sit inside the lobby of the building and just watch what people are wearing. I am pretty immune to strange dressing but even I raised an eyebrow or two at some of the getups that clearly announced, “Look at me!”

As I entered the building a statuesque figure preceded me through the door. Waist-length blonde hair, mustard colored coat over a print dress, bright turquoise tights and the obligatory 4 or 5 inch heels didn’t look too out of the ordinary, until I saw the profile. This trendy dresser with long mane was a man with full beard and mustache. Really!!!

Guy & beard small

Then while waiting for my colleagues outside the fashion show venue my eyes settled on three-not-so-little-maids (also male in gender). One wore a leather biker’s jacket with metal studs, leather cap and lo-and-behold a full length diaphanous net skirt… let’s not forget the lace up leather boots either. The other wore a full length fur coat of undisclosed origin, red skirt, high heels, and shoulder drop earrings. As I’m not the world’s best photographer I didn’t capture the third fashion victim wearing the white fur-like coat over knee-high boots let’s just say it was out of the ordinary.

3 guys

But, let’s get to the reason I was at Fashion Week in the first place; that was to attend the Carmen Marc Valvo Fall 2013 presentation. Carmen never disappoints and this collection was especially glamorous and elegant. I was seated in the front row so I saw the details and craftsmanship, which were beautifully executed. The contrasting inserts, the subtle drape created in liquid silk satin and luxurious lace; I was drooling throughout the show. The collection took me back to when I first covered fashion shows and how excited I was to review the lines. Carmen’s dresses, gowns and fur coats were feminine in every respect. The collection was very special! No drama. No quirky pieces. No shock waves… just beautiful designs that begged to be worn by women who love beautiful fashion.

White gownBurgundy Gown

Carmen launched the newest addition to his fashion label and that is a collection of shoes under his name. The shoes are as exceptional as his presentation of dresses, gowns and furs. The heels, as fashion calls for, were quite high but the models seemed to navigate their strut down the runway quite easily. From the strappy leather pumps to the mesh-like uppers with back-tie, each wrapped the foot in beautiful form.

Working my way back from Carmen’s show to the lobby there were some additional stop-in-your-tracks get-ups. But somehow now it all made sense to me. Fashion Week shows take place in the same Lincoln Center venue as the Big Apple Circus. The Circus features clowns such as the iconic Grandma. Her choice of  fashion would not have been considered unique, as a matter of fact she would have been quite comfortable among the fashion clowns that pranced about. I even think Grandma’s style would have created a bit of dress envy by the scene stealers.