Fashion Week in New York City is in full swing and everyone in the fashion industry is buzzing with excitement. The fashion shows, which started last Thursday and will run until next Thursday, September 17, highlight the top designers’ Spring 2010 collections and are the premier breeding ground for new trends in everything from fashion to cosmetics to hair styles.
Fashion With Fifi went backstage at the Andy & Debb show, under the Bryant Park tents Saturday afternoon, and got the opportunity to see firsthand all the exciting action before the models hit the runway. This year, designers Andy Kim and Debbie Yoon showcased a beautiful collection of structured dresses and wearable separates that embodied a youthful energy and a sophisticated luxuriousness.
But getting the models ready to walk the runway involved more than slipping on a dress and stepping into a pair of heels. The models arrived backstage two and a half hours prior to the event and were greeted by a team of hair stylists, manicurists, makeup artists, and photographers who worked furiously under a tight deadline.
Rows of glaring fluorescent lights and gleaming mirrors lined the room backstage and long counter tops were strewn with everything from cosmetics to hair dryers. The models sat patiently during the transformation process while the frantic backstage crew tried to remind everyone that the minutes were counting down.
To complement the collection’s elegant silhouettes, hair stylists coiffed the models’ hair into enormous French twists. The makeup artists created a bright red lip, a major trend to watch for this fall, while keeping the rest of the makeup to a more subdued minimum.
A current of electricity could be felt in the air as everyone scrambled to finish last minute preparations. The show, which was scheduled to start at one, ran almost fifteen minutes late. Models scrambled to get changed and a manicurist was called over to quickly fix a smudged nail.
No detail was left unattended and nail polish was one of many issues that were taken into heavy consideration by the designers and Dashing Diva, one of New York’s premier nail salons. Fashion with Fifi got to the chance to speak with Patricia Yankee Williams, head manicurist for Dashing Diva, and got the inside scoop on getting the models manicured for the runway.
Williams, whose friendly demeanor was a breath of fresh air amidst all the backstage chaos, said she mixed together different colors by Dashing Diva to come up with a unique color that would compliment Andy & Debb’s runway collection.
“The designers showed me some color swatches and then pointed to the makeup that was being used on the models and said they wanted the same color on their nails. I would best describe the color as tan,” said Williams.
Williams is one of the leading professional nail technicians in the country and has more than 25 years of experience in the industry. She has established a celebrity clientele that includes Brook Shields, P.Diddy and more, and is considered a ‘purist’ in her approach to nail care.
“I really focus on the health of the nail. I use ingredients that will nourish the nail instead of stripping the nail of moisture. I am also a very honest person which is also why people call me a purist,” she said.
When the music started to play and the models lined up behind the runway, a tangible sense of calm swept through the backstage area. Everyone-models, stylists, and photographers- were all focused on making sure the show ran smoothly. Like clockwork, each model took her turn down the runway then returned backstage, posing for a picture or two before quickly undressing and slipping into the next outfit.
Within half an hour, the entire show was over. The hair stylists, manicurists, and publicists have long since left the building. As the last model exited the runway, the backstage area consisted only of a few lingering photographers and crew members. These models were clearly runway veterans. They had their bags packed and were out the door within five minutes, making room for the next fashion show that was scheduled to take place next.
But when that music was blaring, fashion became more than just a business. Models started to loosen up, playfully dancing with their stylists or posing together for the photographers. Sometimes it can be easy to forget in such a stressful environment that, in the end, fashion is meant to be playful and fun. It may be one of the biggest industries in the world, but fashion was meant to be enjoyed by all.
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