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.

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FOOTNOTES—TODAY’S HIGHS AND LOWS

I have marveled at how women, predominantly women younger than me, navigate walking in sky-high heels, especially on the streets of New York….. well on any street for that matter. 

Really, can heels get any higher?  Well yes they can! Shoe designers have inched up their designs by adding platform soles providing more height to the existing heel elevation. Black pump platform shoesI don’t know, I think I would suffer from altitude sickness just trying a pair on. 

I suppose every generation has their own fashion statement.  I remember when pointy shoes were the footwear of the times.  Long, narrow and pointy toed shoes, were fashion’s  ”must-haves” by anyone with any style sense.  Didn’t matter if they were comfortable as long as they were slim, trim, and most importantly “pointy.”  I don’t recall the shoes having very high heels though.  My favorite styles were reflective of the Louis XIV era designed by my friend Marda for Margaret Jerrold.  As much as I loved the way they looked, I couldn’t wait to take them off at the end of the day! They were pretty to look at but they scrunched my toes. By the time I finished work I couldn’t feel my extremeties.  I remember how relieved I was when I took them off.

To what heights will women go to be in fashion today? Obviously, the sky is the limit! As I love to walk rather than take public transportation, I have seen several elegantly dressed women take pratfalls on the street due to what they were wearing on their feet.  Some take the footwear in stride however there are a few who I see precariously teeter tottering as they walk. Even professional models to their embarrasment have taken falls as they sashayed down runways .  Just imagine, if a model has a hard time walking on these stilts, how can a woman traverse city streets without breaking something?  I would venture it would be especially hazardous to one’s health walking down pock marked sidewalks. 

But wait.  It seems fashion designers may have come to their senses. According to the latest reports from U.S. and European runways, heels have been cut down to size and now “flats” have become the shoes of preference by leading designers.

The Wall Street Journal reported that couture designers in the recent fashion presentations have accessorized their designs with flats when sending their models down the runway .   That’s right…”no heels!”  Talk about the highs and lows of fashion! Sort of makes you think of a roller coaster ride.  One minute it’s up; the next it’s down. Well, fashion can be an amusing phenomenon. 

I, as many women, love shoes.  I can never have enough in my closet.  So, I am very happy to hear that when I next visit my favorite shoe store I will have more styles to select from. Right now I have enough ballerina flats to dress a Nutcracker production.