Sunday, 10 February 2013
That Time I Was Backstage at a Fashion Show
At an hour that was way too early for a Saturday morning, my phone started buzzing. Usually I would sleep through something like that, but for whatever reason, on this morning I heard it. It was my supervisor at the PR agency sending a somewhat panicked text, asking if I could come help out at the Rebecca Taylor show. There had been a snowstorm (hardly, says the Canadian) and I imagined that some people they were expecting to help out had been waylayed due to the inclement weather. As much as I had been looking forward to sleeping in, it didn't take any convincing for me to agree to help out. I arrived a little while later and was assigned to backstage check-in with another person. For the hour and a half leading up to the show, press and photographers arrived to take photos backstage and conduct interviews with Rebecca Taylor herself. My job was to escort them up a flight of stairs to the hair and makeup area and connect them with one of the account execs who I work with. From there they would get their chance to ask the designer their interview questions. It was fast-paced and at times hectic, especially once things got a bit behind schedule. I learned that you have to be firm and authoritative but always polite, even when people are losing their patience and sound like they might pass out if they continue to sigh so heavily. The majority of people were understanding and very nice, as being behind schedule tends to be the nature of the beast (the beast that is a fashion show). I also had my first Aha! moment when I realized the Power of the Clipboard. Holding onto this little plastic board makes you look important people. And people then think you know things and know who everyone is and where they are at that given moment. I won't lie and say I didn't like the power the clipboard gave me because I did, but unfortunately it did not give me ESP so I usually couldn't answer the questions I was being asked.
The real fun came right before the show started though. I was a few minutes too late trying to get to the front of house to watch the show so instead I stood to the side of where the models line up before strutting their stuff down the runway. I have to say, any disappointment I may have felt about not getting to watch the show subsided quickly as I stood there and watched magic happen. It was different than anything I've experienced in this world so far. I still got to see all of the clothes, and probably in more detail than you can see on the runway because I was literally right next to the models. The moments before a show starts are extraordinary. Most of the models are stone faced and in the zone. A few were dancing and cracking jokes. It literally takes an army of people to get a model ready for her 15 seconds of fame. At one point, I looked over and there were FIVE people surrounding one model. One crouched down, zipping up her shoes, another rubbing lotion (maybe shimmer?) into her legs, one dresser wiggling leather gloves onto her hands, a hair stylist pinning and spraying her do into place and finally, my favorite, the person with the lint brush giving her sweater the final once over.
The show starts and finishes within a few minutes and my favorite moment was after the final walk. The energy that could be felt backstage as the models walked off the runway for the last time was infectious. The dressers and stylists all starting clapping and cheering and it was impossible not to join in. Many models wore ear to ear grins (maybe happy they didn't bail on the runway...oh wait that would probably just be me!). Others ran over to their stylist for a celebratory hug. Last fashion week, I talked about my favorite moment of watching a runway show as being when the designer comes out at the end of the show. Well, this time I got to see the moment right after that, when Rebecca Taylor came backstage after taking her bow. Her happiness was palpable as she posed for photos, returned excited hugs from models and received congratulations from every direction. It was an incredible moment to witness and be a part of.
Thanks to my internship for giving me this amazing opportunity, these are going to be moments that I'll remember forever!