Written By Isabelle Eder, BFA Styling, Academy of Art University
The backstage madness at the Academy of Art University S/S16 New York Fashion Week show started exactly three hours before the eight o’clock show began. At five o’clock armies of models, hair and makeup artists, assistants and production crew were pouring in to the backstage area from every direction. What at first seemed like chaos turned into very organized chaos. After 30 minutes of quick set up, everyone was in position and ready to blast off with focus and determination.
From makeup artists to production crew, everyone was involved with multiple things at the same time. The designers were doing last minute touch-ups on their collections—steaming wrinkled garments, participating in interviews with press, and also having last minute meltdowns and moments of anxiety about the rapidly approaching show. The hair and makeup teams showed their skill at multitasking by balancing multiple brushes in their product-covered hands, talking to the models and press and trying not to get burned by any hot tools. Every model seemed to be doing his or her own thing, either eating a snack while waiting for their turn to be primped, practicing their poses, being interviewed by reporters or getting dressed or undressed. Across the board no one could be found standing around aimlessly with nothing to do. In the midst of all the focused work, School of Fashion Executive Director Simon Ungless was a model of calm, collected cool.
When only one hour was left until show time, things became more serious. Models not yet dressed for the show, their glam hair and makeup contrasting sharply with their street clothes, did a rehearsal runway walk viewed intently by Ungless. After the final walk-through, the models rushed back to their stations before the show started. As the audience began to fill the theater, backstage the team of dressers began to help models into their show looks. With 20 minutes to go, the models had final hair and makeup touches applied and started lining up, ready to take the runway by storm. The designers quickly made sure the models were wearing the garments correctly, as well as the corresponding accessories.
All of a sudden everything turned quiet and one short minute later, the models were walking onto the runway. The show had begun.
Ungless and the designers stayed backstage during the show, keeping everything under control and watching the show from the monitor. As the models came back from their walk around the runway, dressers swiftly and carefully changed them into their new looks and back to the runway they went. After the final model walked the runway the designers each took to the stage for a bow and a celebratory lap around the runway, serenaded by loud applause from the happy crowd.
With the show now finished, everyone packed up their things and went home. The space that had just seemed so crowded and small transformed back into a big, empty space, just waiting for the next show.