For those of you who have noticed I’ve been MIA (“missing in action”, or in my case “missing in Armani”) thank you, I missed all of you as well. I, unfortunately, haven’t been devoting as much time to movies as I normally do thanks to New York Fashion Week. See, now the missing in Armani joke makes sense.
For the past three weeks, I’ve been in New York preparing for fashion shows, sorting more nail polish than you can imagine, assembling nail kits and seeing some of the most incredible runway shows. It’s kind of a funny story. I tweeted that I was available to work fashion week, I honestly didn’t think anything would come of it but to my surprise, I got an offer. I sent in my resume and had a phone call that day. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that I was going to be working with Essie nail polish, missing my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary party and I was snagging a killer opportunity.
— Francesca (@msfrancescaaloe) August 17, 2019
I spent three days before fashion week in the office counting inventory of nail polish, assembling test kits and show kits for the nail leads and nail techs. Then fashion week actually started and I spent hours backstage. During this time it was my job to set up the Essie marketing display and also ensure each and every model had a completed manicure and pedicure. I got to walk around with a clipboard, very official.
Every show had a nail lead. I got to work with Betina Goldstein, Julie Kandalec, Rita Remark, Miss Pop and Naomi Yasuda. All of these women are nail geniuses, they’ve styled the nails of many of our favorite movie and tv stars. (I’m really trying to tie in cinema here somehow) These ladies were the ones in charge of creating the designs and choosing the colors based off of the designer’s clothing and the theme of the show. They each had a team of nail techs and they painted the nails of each model.
I was fortunate enough to work six out of the seven shows my team was in charge of. Kith was my first show on Thursday and my orientation into fashion week. That show had the most models out of all the ones I worked and it was the most stressful evening ever. Backstage was so spread out I ran back and forth from the dressing room to the hair hallway and the makeup room. Models kept moving around so I had to ask these poor men and women their names dozens of times and double-check their hands and feet. It was all worth it when I found myself standing three rows back from the runway and the show finally started. Tommy Hilfiger was right across from me too! Friday’s show was Jeremy Scott. This show was full of colorful wigs, 80s nail designs, and colors from every end of the rainbow. Miss Pop, the nail lead brought in her own team so I was able to kind of relax at this show and it gave me a chance to explore the backstage area more and take some backstage photos. Plus I got to meet Lily Aldridge.
Saturday was the crazy day. We had Khaite and Kate Spade in the morning and then Christian Siriano in the evening. Khaite and Kate Spade overlapped so I was only able to work Khaite and then Christian Siriano. Security was super tight for Khaite and I sadly missed that show. Once we packed up the suitcases the other intern and I hung out (slept) at Starbucks before we had to Uber to the Siriano show. We had been up since 3:30 that morning and wouldn’t be home until late that evening. That day was one of those instances where you really know fashion week isn’t as glamorous as people think. I was able to sneak into the Soriano show. Standing room only would have been just fine for me, but there were scattered empty chairs and it’s not tres chic to photograph empty chairs at a fashion show so I got to sit in the second row.
Sunday was the day I was dreaming of since I found out it was one of the shows on our schedule. It was the Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya show. I would have to write a whole separate article about Zendaya to get my point across, just know that I LOVE her. There were so many iconic models walking that show and I knew that Tommy and Zendaya would come backstage at some point to check on the progress and hopefully do some press. I was right, there was a press booth set up and at one point I was blocked in an aisle by a bunch of camera guys and when I looked up Zendaya was right there in front of me. I contained my cool, remained professional but on the inside, I was flipping out. She got dragged away to do press and it wasn’t until an hour later that I looked up from my clipboard and we made eye contact from the press booth. I think we’re best friends now, it’s kind of hard to tell. The show was spectacular. It felt like you were on a movie set, cars were being driven and a live band playing the music and singing. It was such a 1970s dream I didn’t want to wake up from.
Monday was our last day and it wasn’t a fashion show, it was just a presentation by Veronica Beard. Basically, that’s when the models are positioned in a room and people can filter in and out and check out the designs. No music or runway walking and it’s all very relaxed. We had the least amount of models for this presentation and the backstage area was all in one small location so all the models were checked off in about two hours. I did find my way into the presentation and then found myself rubbing elbows with influencers and off duty models all while drinking fancy champagne.
All in all, working New York Fashion Week was a dream. I never got a consistent nights sleep and I sadly had to wear all black because I was working backstage but I got the experience of a lifetime and made a lot of really great connections. I’m very grateful to the team here at The Cinema Spot for allowing me to share my experience here with all of you. Even though it’s not really film-related I hope you enjoyed it and learned that the most important things in my life are fashion and film. That’s probably why I want to work in costume.