Live From Fashion Week
Olympus Fashion Week, Bryant Park, New York City: 10:30 am... I arrive at the volunteer trailer and change into my hideous green volunteer shirt. Would it be too much to ask that a fashion event allow its unpaid wage slaves participants to look a teensy bit fashionable? Oh well, runway fashion defies logic anyway. Might as well get in the spirit.
My compatriots and I are sent to the Atelier, one of the more intimite venues, to assist backstage and front of house for the Chaiken show. Chaiken is known for its low key, but very well made classic pieces. I know I can expect a sophisticated, pared down show. But before the buyers and press arrive, there is work to be done. The runway must be repainted(!) a bright white, and each seat affixed with its proper row number. The PR staff have thankfully done most of this for us, so we retire to the sponsors section (several rows of seats where the high ups from Olympus, MAC, UPS, and our other assorted sponsors get to sit and watch the circus.)
The show is set to begin at noon. Of course, it won't. Fashion people are notorious for being late. And you wonder why this is the perfect profession for me? I get the glam job of directing buyers, editors, and a few minor celebrities to their seats, so they can all mill about and air kiss one another, holding up the production. Fortunately, this one starts within ten minutes.
The models have a coltish effervescence about them, which is nearly swallowed in the huge swaths of clothe they wear. Chaiken designer Jeff Mahshie has decided this is the season to play with volume. Some of the looks succeed brilliantly, such as a grecian draped minidress in pure white, and a black shift of watered silk with a fine mesh neckline. Others were a bit stranger: a safari suit in khakhi large enough to actually fit the average American. It was worn, of course, by a teenager of vaguely Eastern European mien. The hair and makeup were very "natural beauty", which is a good thing in the fashion world. I gave Mahshie points for his decision to put the girls in gladiator flats, which were pure chic.
And then, of course, it was over, and the fashionistii were off to their next big get. The girls and I scooped up all the swag they left behind, tucking contraband WWD issues under our arms as we tidied up the detritus. It never fails to amaze me how trashed a room can get in less than 45 minutes.
The backstage crew graciously offered us cookies, since we were detailed there next. We stripped the butcher paper from the makeup and hair tables, and then relined them for the next show. Three hours after our arrival, the Atelier was as pristeen as we left it.
Olympus Fashion Week. Love.