As a fashion student one of the main reasons I was drawn to London for my studies was the fact that London Fashion Week would be right on my door step. Never had I imagined that I’d actually be able to experience what it’s like back stage at one of the shows… Until AW16.
After speaking to wonderful designer and good friend Bethany Williams, I was put in contact with the studio manager for NEWGEN designer Ryan Lo and to my surprise, despite my lack of experience they allowed me to come and help out back stage at the show on the first day of fashion week. All I had to do was figure out what a styling kit was (?!) and I’d be good to go.
If you’ve never heard of Ryan Lo I’d suggest you take to google ASAP and have a browse through his collections, trust me you won’t regret it. It’s pink and feminine and best of all it references one of my all time favourite childhood films- Mulan.
I started off fashion week by helping out with the set for Ryan’s show which would take place the next day. It was so detailed, the whole set was made of thousands of tiny squares of paper scrunched up and glued to the wooden pieces which took the shape of swans and waves.
Working on the set definitely gave an insight as to what the collection would look like, and I couldn’t wait to see what the next day would bring.
I turned up to Brewer Street Carpark the day London Fashion Week started and was swallowed up by a hundred fashionable twenty somethings all hoping today was their day to find their 15 minutes of fame.
As I made my way inside, styling kit proudly strung across my shoulder I was excited to finally be getting involved with fashion week.
The garments were spread across the room on rails and I couldn’t help but peek at what would soon be making its way along the runway. The first thing I noted was the colour pallet and used for each garment and I was then assigned a garment which I would be dressing one of the models in. Hannah. There’s nothing like dressing a model at fashion week to motivate you to go to the gym. Not that I’ve been yet. I’ll start Monday.
The garment I was assigned was a delicate, lilac, sheer dress. It was floaty and floral and worn with a pair of pointy cream heels. I then had the job of making sure the garment looked perfect for the show which meant steaming, snipping and rolling it to perfection.
Soon all of the models arrived for hair and make-up. Needless to say they were each transformed into a Chinese princess within the hour. Winged eyeliner and rosy cheeks to perfectly match each garment. Add a bunch of colourful beaded hair clips and bunny earrings and they were ready to go. But not before a quick rehearsal.
Although I’d imagine a much more stressful vibe backstage, I only had one problem with the dressing and it was the fact the shoes were at least two sizes too big. This was nothing that a couple of insoles and a bin bag of tissue paper stuffed inside couldn’t fix. I don’t mean to brag but someone did say I had the best bow tying skills in the whole room. In what felt like a blink of an eye, they were off.
As I waved Hannah goodbye I felt like a proud mother seeing her children off to school. This moment only lasted about half a second before she was back and panicking about her next show which started ‘about an hour ago’. We stripped her off and cleared the room before the next designer showed up and it was as if nothing ever happened.
Apart from it did, and it was fabulous.