6 Things I Learned Backstage at London Fashion Week
The dust has settled on London Fashion Week and Fashions Finest has closed the door on its SS18 shows until the next extravaganza in February. The behind scenes work, the teams, the plans and the preparation that goes into what we see as a five minute show, is vast. We see the glitz and glamour of it all but what really goes into making these shows happen? Here are 6 things I learned backstage at London Fashion Week.
1. No Matter How Stylish You Think You Are, You’ll Feel Like a Fake When The Real Fashionistas Show Up!
I’ve never been into fashion per say. I’ve always had my own style which is pretty much jeans, a top and flat shoes. It doesn’t really sway from that and not that i’m using the ‘mum’ card but I don’t get much chance to wear things that are too adventurous. My wardrobe mostly consists of things that i’m happy to be covered in sick, snot, left over mash potato and the like but London Fashion Week brings a dilemma doesn’t it? What to wear? What to spend on an outfit that i’ll probably wear only once? I mean, i’m hardly going to be rocking the latest Versace Versus ripped jeans and studded wedge heeled trainers any time soon.
So this year I threw something together, something comfy (natch!) at the last minute and then felt like a total fashion failure when I saw the hordes of meticulously dressed fashionistas swanning around in their effortless ‘I-spent-no-time-on this-and-I-look-cool-as-$?*&’ outfits!
2. Make Up & Hair Teams Are Quite Literally Miracle Makers
Think about it, these are not just your ordinary ‘apply-a-blusher’ make up artists and ‘stick-it-in-a-bun’ hairdressers. They are skilled, fast working and quick thinking visionaries. They look at a collection and come up with killer ideas to accompany the look. At Fashions Finest‘s SS18 shows, we saw lots of turquoise lined eyes and big bouncy curls. What I really love about the hair and make up teams is that they create individual looks for each collection, not concentrating on a particular trend but tailoring their vision organically to each show.
The transformations are immaculately executed and the teams behind the scenes are quite literally miracle makers!
3. It takes 2 Hours to Get a Model Ready
No joke! Backstage is a hive of activity with models being called into this room and that. Clothes fittings, alterations, hair, make up, from one collection area to the other. There is at least a two hour break in between shows and believe me, the models are not sat around knitting jumpers! It takes teams of people to get just one model ready, so, imagine when you have six or seven models in any one collection, with everyone working to tight time restrictions. Its imperative that everyone works together to make sure the transformation runs smoothly.
4. The Designers Muck In… They Don’t Just Sew Stuff!
When I went to London Fashion Week last year, I was a tad surprised how much work the designers put into to perfecting the end look of the collection. They literally are pulling it together until the last minute!
Backstage is filled with designers hanging their collections, matching shoes with dresses, labelling the right accessories and laying out their wares on tables. I guess unlike most other jobs, the pressure is on even more for the designers to get it right! The last thing they want is a catwalk faux pas in front of the press, audience and fashion gurus sat out waiting for a spectacular show. All those months of positive hard work could be let down by one negative so the tension backstage can be fierce for everything to be perfect.
This season, it seemed really mellow and under control. I saw one designer casually steaming the creases out of one of her stunning gowns. She could have asked someone else to do it but instead she mucked in! That’s what I love about being backstage; the pride that everyone takes in their work is really something special and extremely evident.
5. Models DO Eat
Contrary to public belief that models live off water and fresh air, I can confirm that models actually do eat – real proper food! At the shows, they are working 15+ hour days. How on earth can anyone survive like that without fuel? Fashions Finest had amazing sponsors this year who decked out the tables backstage with all sorts of goodies. I tried one of these utterly moorish Freaks of Nature food pots and OH MY GOODNESS!! Absolute food porn ‘made purely from plants, crammed with fruits, nuts, coconut & cacao’.
6. Camaraderie is Key
I’ve saved the best to last here. Camaraderie. Everyone comes together to support the designers, the teams and the organiser. Everyone wants the day to be a success so they make it happen! Backstage has a buzz about it. There’s an adrenaline in the air and everyone is running off pure energy!
This is because every single person from the CEO to the volunteers is doing WHAT THEY LOVE! It’s a cliché nowadays, I know, to do what you love, but they really are. The passion is electric and they spend every single day of their lives working up to this moment – nobody wants to fall at the last hurdle, so they don’t! Everybody helps. Everybody lifts each other up. For this reason i’m choosing to show this photograph that I took of Jadau. If you were in the room, you’d know that the atmosphere at this showcase was unreal! The music, the clothes, the accessories, the big curls I mentioned earlier – it was just electric! After this photo was taken everyone came together on the catwalk to embrace it’s success. It was a moment that gave me goosebumps. It was a triumph! And everyone who took part made that happen.
Ironically, the song that was playing was James Brown Get On Up. That’s exactly what everyone did; they got up, they showed up and the delivered!