We're backstage at the Karen Walker show right now, talking to the MAC team about the makeup (sweet, blanked out pinks and nudes) and shooting the girls during their run-through and preparations. The atmosphere is very calm, Walker is sitting front row, watching the girls walk the runway, with half finished makeup, combs sticking out of hair. The girls seem especially friendly, everyone's kind of goofing off together while an older woman approaches the microphone and asks them to listen to something they've heard a million times: walk to the end of the runway, turn, walk back. There are a few mom's here, reading books. In the pit the guys are catching up and talking about the shows, some complaints about back pain (we here ya buddy). Overall, a very nice vibe here compared to most. It would make us not want to return to the tents, except, we've Mastroianni to look forward to. Until then.
The views at 7 World Trade Center for John Varvatos are their own attraction. We are here a bit early to capture the madness of backstage but we find ourselves so mesmerized by the views from the 45th floor that we almost don't care that there are hot rocker boys half naked wandering about. They are going through their run through right now and Teenage Wasteland (we don't remember the real title of the song but we do remember from Freaks and Geeks that isn't it) is blaring loudly. We admit to loving John's goofy rocker memorabilia. Though we still don't know how to feel about him taking over CBGB's as as a new retail space. But we suppose its only poetic justice.
Yesterday, a beautiful Sunday afternoon indeed, Charles Nolan showed his A/W 08 collection. We'd been to his studio recently, for the FGI Rising Star Awards party he hosted, and, like last time, the large space filled up in a casual Thanksgiving-dinner sort of way. Children were running between legs, people were sipping coffee and eating bagels with lox and cream cheese. Sure, there was the usual chaos of preparing for a show, but the Nolan-way was present. It was our pleasure to interview Mr. Nolan before the show, where he told us a little bit about the collection and its mix of tradition and technology. Soak up that bright light (that's a sick river view you're witnessing) and the amiable manner of a gentleman who can manifest 'lifestyle' from backstage to brick and mortar.
Yesterday, we stopped by the Preen show, backstage, to talk with the Mac team. Last year, makeup was inspired by Lauren Hutton, and this year, Kim Bassinger (in L.A. Confidential) and Kurt Cobain. For the Kurt there were smudgy shadows in shades of brown, and for the Kim, red stained lips that 'look like you've been kissing and making out for hours'.
Ashleigh Verrier, one of our Pre-Fashion Week Video Series subjects, showed her A/W 08 collection in the tents last night. It was a dramatic presentation, where Chopin-infused ambient tunes blasted while pretty doll-like models stomped the runway. During our backstage interview, we hung around and snapped a few shots of the action before the show. It takes a lot of madness to get these pretty girls in pretty dresses. For every girl there is a makeup artist, for every makeup artist there is a camera, for every camera there is a publicist, and then there are a lot of bluetooths and paper signs. So much of these things, in fact, that we stood eating chocolate (Dove is a Verrier sponsor. Oh yeah, there are sponsors.) postulating that if one more flash went off, we would all go blind. And then we snapped one more.
We're backstage at Lyell right now at the National Arts Club in Gramercy. It's a beautiful old building with creaky wooden floors and haunting portraits of people that are not fashion designers or journalists. The models are stuffing their faces with pizza, as any good Lyell girl would, while the rest of the crew lines up the Ferragamo's and loiters around the stereo. This year, Lyell designer, Emma Fletcher, won an Ecco Domani award. Her designs are willowy and delicate, the kind of pieces that compliment starched trousers, porkpie hats, and wingtips.
Craftsmanship to create artifice leaves us hiding many things. Layers of makeup and attitude obscure the realities of our company town. When you go through the day dodging politics and weaving webs something hidden can mean something gained. After all, the fashion flock knows what is behind the curtain. We just prefer that you don't know about the wizard.
Group think may be fashion's favorite formula but at fashion week you are always alone. The seething crowds, the angry cliques, and the masses of nondescript blonds is a milieu not meant for the individual. Its no wonder we found a lone woman that made our heart break backstage at Jason Wu's Fall 2008 Showing.
We're backstage at Alice Ritter's show right now. Madness ensues. Elle magazine is having a 'models like to hang' pre-show photo shoot down here with a bunch of rock and roll chicks, namely Au Revoir Simone and the like. In other words, a long-hair gamines are lazing about in trousers and silk blouses while the rest of us swirl around them like maniacs, charging batteries and whatnot. Random sound bite we just picked up from the couch, model says, "So, do you cut your own hair", to which the short haired rock chick replies, "uh, yeah".
Photo from Alice Ritter S/S 08