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Working backstage at Fashion Week | What it’s really like (trust me, it’s crazy)

Fashion week can be a hectic time for anyone working in the industry, but for those of us working backstage at fashion week it’s even crazier!

Fashion week in Sydney is here! Most of you will probably be attending a show – but have you ever considered working backstage at fashion week? I’ve worked behind the scenes on quite a few fashion shows during my career, and let me tell you – the show you see coming down the runway is vastly different to the one happening behind the curtains. Let me give you an example.

Working backstage at fashion week

5:30pm front of house: Guests start to arrive and mingle with other fashionably on time guests.
5:30pm backstage: “Does anyone have scissors?! There are threads all over Cindy’s dress!!! Also, the red gown needs steaming! And we’re still missing a size 8 silver heel!”

5:45pm front of house: Guests sip champagne and slowly saunter to their excellent seats – and oh my, there are goody bags filled with the latest MAC cosmetics.
5:45pm backstage: “WE’RE STILL MISSING THE SIZE 8 HEEL IN SILVER. MODELS, FINISH GETTING DRESSED IN THE LINE UP. WHY IS AMANDA STILL NAKED?”

Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, Gigi Hadid. What it's like working backstage at fashion week.
PHOTO: forbes.com

6:00pm front of house: The lights start to dim and there are excited murmurs from the crowd about how excellent they’ve heard this collection is.
6:00pm backstage: “WHOEVER HAS NUMBER 4 SWITCH BAGS WITH NUMBER 17 WHEN SHE COMES OUT AND TAKE COAT FROM MODEL NUMBER 12 AND PUT IT ON MODEL 29 FOR FINALE. $^(%$()%_@@($_@! EVERYONE GOT THAT?”

Get the picture? I absolutely love it. It’s stressful, yes, but as designer Kym Ellery once said “Stress helps. Stress makes you perform.”

Being backstage at a fashion show is like being trapped in the middle of the wildebeest stampede in The Lion King – but instead of wildebeests they are more like tall, fragile and beautiful gazelles. “They” equals the models of course – the toothpick sized humans that prance down the runway in beautiful designs.

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The gazelles seem cool and at ease when they’re in front of the crowd but what you don’t see is the panicked sprint they make to their dressers to change into the next outfit. When you’re watching from behind the curtains, it’s like watching a rocket take off. The last steps coming off the runway countdown from 3, 2, 1, blast off – it’s incredible how well these girls can run in heels.

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Remember the jungle scene in the mall from Mean Girls? That’s what you can imagine when the models come running backstage and the dressers begin to rip their clothes off – being careful not to rip any thousand dollar skirts.

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If you do damage any of the clothing, well, be prepared to meet the scariest people you’ll ever come across – the designers. Not that they are scary people in real life (well, some of them maybe… I’d be pretty scared of Donatella) but when it comes to the show it has to be perfect. Do you know how many months in advance a designer begins to prepare for a show? A lot. So if it doesn’t go as planned, there’s hell to pay.

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Overall, being backstage at a fashion show is exhausting, exciting, thrilling and tiring. And at the end you get a Diet Coke. If only Marc Jacobs came with it.

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Article originally posted here on Flamingo Pink.

 

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