On Wednesday, September 10, 2009, I boarded an American Eagle jet headed to Manhattan for Fashion Week 2010. Fashion Week is an event and celebration that the entire fashion world looks forward to every 6 months. Very few people are able to attend and you must have an invite or camera crew to get in. Luckily, I was producing a show called Fashion News Live with Rocco G. This was not my first Fashion Week, but it was my first in the role of producer. It was scary, exhilarating, frustrating, inspiring, exhausting and immensely rewarding all wrapped up into eight days. I scribbled some quick notes along the way to share with my Wilson readers. Here goes…
Catch an early flight out of Nashy. Arrive at LaGuardia. Cab to Midtown Manhattan. Spend the day unpacking, confirming appointments, and generally getting my bearings back. I wind it up just before midnight going over last minute planning and preparation with my production team.
I walk sixteen blocks to the nearest subway station….in very high heels (seemed like a good idea at the time).
I arrive at “the tents” in Bryant Park, which is basically ground zero for Fashion Week. It’s a madhouse. Photogs everywhere, cool people in cool clothes walking in… Do I have my credentials? Yes. Flash those and I’m in. Pick up a Daily Candy (a must-have recap of the previous day’s activities) and also grab one of those tiny little books that have a list of some great after-parties and events to RSVP to. They go super-quick. Got it all stuffed neatly in my bag, off to meet Rocco (the on camera interview host) and crew for our 12:45 interview with Whitney Port (reality star turned designer, MTV’s The Hills & The City).
It’s my job to check the crew and myself into each and every show. I check in with the PR group, People’s Revolution. I heard they were a tough crowd. It goes smooth, we’re quickly backstage.
Interview with Whitney Port goes great. Kelly Cutrone is by her side the whole time. Kelly is known as the very tough and hard-to-please PR woman from The City, with no sympathy, no interest in small talk; no remorse or care. She’s wearing all black with metal grommets on her leather jacket. Rocco introduces us. She was actually very cool to me and almost…shall I say nice?
Great day. Due to Rocco knowing absolutely ZERO reality stars, I took things into my own hands and had my second FNL interview on Rosa Cha runway, with Jillian Harris, aka The Bachelorette. She was super sweet and adorable, but guess who didn’t show up with the man America thinks she is engaged to?? Jillian requested that I not ask her any personal info. I also had to assure her at least four times that I was not associated with US Magazine, which apparently torched her recently.
Finish the rest of the shows…. Exhausted. Bed.
Cynthia Steffe show was great. Lots of celebs to wrangle for our interviews. Jillian was again in attendance. Singer Ciara was there-so beautiful and sweet. The interview went well with her. Singer Kate Voegele was there as well, and I actually snagged a front row seat next to her during the show!
I then went to Twinkle, which is one of my favorite designers for little party dresses. My friend, Joseph Cassell, (Taylor Swift’s stylist), was at that show as well-it was so good to see a face from home!
Next up: the Monarchy show. I was originally dreading this show because I thought it would be a total waste of time, but it was actually the opposite. There was a great celebrity turnout and the show had a really great rockstar vibe. Tons of interviews.
Scene: Shannon Elizabeth, Twilight star Kelen Lutz (so hot), Tara from True Blood. Huge fan.
Nicole Miller was very…subdued with a highlight on greys, silvers and white.
Backstage at the show was a great atmosphere and celebrity attendance. Attendees included: Ciara, Amber Rose (Kanye’s gf), Jill Henessie, Kara DioGuardi-American Idol judge who reiterated during our interview, “No one can ever take Paula’s place; I’m not trying to replace Paula.”
Just saw celebrity stylist, and sometimes TV personality, Robert Verdi in the hallway; it was just the two of us drinking our 4th McCafe (McDonald’s was surprisingly a sponsor) for the day. When I requested an interview, he said “I guess so” which, at this point, I take as a strong yes. With the cameraman in place, I grab my microphone. Robert’s two main clients are Eva Longoria and Kathy Griffin, so I comment on how rocking Kathy’s body has been lately. He lukewarmly agrees, but makes a point to let me know that Kathy’s always had a body like that. Uh, okay…
Lacoste show was unexpectedly awesome. They had the runway set up like a boardwalk and the models came out for their final walk all in yellow new looks to the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer”.
A photographer tells me that this had been one of the most anticipated shows at the tents thus far, due to economy people have had to cut back on the high caliber models.
*Bad economy = ugly models.
As a producer, I am starting to catch onto the fact of:
yes= please interview me
a pause=I now take as a solid yes and yell at camera guy to get in place before they leave
*Once on camera, everyone is a perfect angel
Dilemma: Offered a free ticket to Kings of Leon concert, which was set at the exact same time as the People’s Revolution show-Chado Ralph Rucci. . After much back and forth, went with the latter. This show was held in the largest venue. It was phenomenal. The colors were a simple black and white. The models backstage had the most gorgeous look… huge black lashes protruding from their eyes. I would dress my face up like this every day if I could—it’s a gorgeous look.
Front row included: Martha Stewart and Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley. I was sitting three feet away from him the whole show. It was interesting to watch his expressions as the models were walking down the runway. Also I must add, despite how she has been portrayed, Martha Stewart was super sweet and gracious when I asked her for an interview. I noticed that I was the only one to approach her for an interview. She was awesome; not stiff at all like on TV; very polite, a bit reserved. I am now officially a Martha fan.
10:10am Staying at my friend Brian’s house. He’s a comedian in NY and has 2 other guy roommates that happen to be home when…
About to put on my dress I’ve been saving for a special day… gorgeous Shoshanna. Fits like a glove. A little back number that has a built-in structured corset than is honestly like a second skin. It’s amazing. Pushes the boobs up and sucks up everything else into the perfect hourglass shape-my body has never looked more rockin. Now for one of Brian’s roommates to quickly zip me up and I’m out the door in a flash!
Uh-oh…. The dress won’t zip all the way up! Mind begins to race. Did I eat that much? When did I even have time to eat? Was it the fried green tomatos at brunch? Okay, the croissant was probably when things went really south… I didn’t “need” it. Self control should have been exercised. Maybe I’m not drinking enough water to flush out toxins….?! My voice gets flustered, Zip it, ZIP IT!! It. Will. Work. It has to work. I breathe out and one rugged frat boy is holding the top of the dress together, while the other one is zipping… where is that third boy?-we could really use his help right about now!!!
We finally give in and conclude it will not zip up; unzip me.
I hear panic in Brian’s voice when he says, the dress won’t unzip, the zipper is broken, “Erin, seriously, the zipper won’t go down”.
I panic and suddenly feel a strong sense of claustrophobia. I’m trapped and have 0 time to mess with this… I’m to be at the tents in 20 minutes-to produce a show-the show can’t go on without the producer. Think quick. I try to get out, but the dress is not even slightly budging from my body.
Brian’s roommate (a total guy’s guy, in a band) suggests we safety pin it all the lacking 3 inches up. Both guys frantically search the apartment…no safety pins. I’m exhausted and deflated from all this and just stand there and wait. In the search for safety pins, Brian breaks out his sewing kit. A sewing kit? He is a very straight male, so I found this funny and started laughing, which hurt because the dress was so tight. They once again take their positions of one holding the top edge of the dress and lifting up, and Brian sewing. It was horrible. I call Rocco and tell him, (verbatim), “I’m trapped in my dress. I’m going to be late…(pause) No, literally, I can’t get it off!”). Brian (being an A+ host) runs to the market and comes back with safety pins, which don’t work. His roomie says I’ll looked “jacked” if I wear the dress like that, so I throw on a jacket over the precious dress and leave.
I tell Brian if he doesn’t have “material” for his comedy show after this trip, than I just can’t help him. It doesn’t get better than these situations he’s seen me in.
Rebecca Taylor Show was great.
At Rebecca Taylor: Gabrielle Union, Mena Suvari, Marisa Miller (Victoria’s Secret Angel), and once again, The Housewives.
Heard: Jack Mackenroth (FNL Host and former Project Runway contestant) to Rebecca Taylor (from New Zealand):
JM: So Becks, heard you are a Kiwi, I used to date a Kiwi for a hot minute
RT: Was it hot?
JM: ….For a minute!!
We go to the Maybelline couches to get our one product of the day. Sure I love Maybelline, but they are giving out 1 product a day on a velvet tray. Seriously? It’s $4. Just bring me my one item and throw it in my purse. Enough with the nonsense, I’m in a hurry. They insist on the velvet tray, so I wait.
Monday September 14th
Hang out in VIP Star Lounge waiting for interviews, on the Fashion Week diet (i.e. delish cookies and Moet).
At Jill Stuart Show, which is being held at New York Public Library-great venue by the way, Jack and I are devastated as our camera guy failed to show. Kim. Kardashian. Is. Flawless. It’s ridiculous. She is so sweet and gorge and gracious. Love her.
Scene: All the Real Housewives New York at Jill Stuart with the exception of Alex. Also at Jill Stuart: Nicky Hilton, Rachel Bilson, Fern Mallis, Amanda Bines, Tinsley Mortimer, Kelly Rowland, Kim Kardashian.
It’s mid-week and feet are burning even when I don’t stand on them. An Elle Magazine headline kept playing over and over in my head, “I Lost My Feet to Fashion Week, One Girl’s True Story.” I thought even as far into it as giving talks at local high schools of the dangers of heels, national conferences… please don’t let it come to that. I frantically alternate hot water and freezing ice baggies.
***See Robert Verdi, who refers to Fashion Week as “Chasing the dream, living the Nightmare…” at this point, no truer words have been spoken!
Leaving the tents for the night, when… A QVC party that I got an invite, but did not RSVP to…because…, it’s QVC-who cares? All the celebrities care obviously, because they are ALL here in one small room trying to peddle their products and schmooze with the head QVC people.
The first person we interview after crashing the party is Guilianna Rancic from E! News. Coolest girl ever. Very laid-back. Her arms are amazing, so I asked her some workout tips.
On the scene: Hillary Duff, Gossip Girl’s Jessica Szhor, Heather Graham, Stephanie Pratt, Holly Montag, Lance Bass, Mark Paul Gossler, Guilanna Rancic, Anna Ortiz of Ugly Betty.
Tuesday, September 15th
I begrudgingly wear flats. I have to. To save my feet.
At the Badgley Mischka show. My favorite show. Mark Badgley and James Mischka are two of the reasons I decided to even go into fashion. Somehow, it was at this show, a huge show mind you, I had my very first official seat with my name and title on it. It was truly an exciting day, that I would have never seen in my future… I mean, it’s beyond. We sit back to back at the Badgley Mischka Show.
Front Row: Kim Kardashian, Kelly Rowland, Fern Mallis V.P. of IMG-big deal, Bethenny Frankel, Kelly Bensimon (NY Housewives), Kara DeGuardi (American Idol Judge).
Badgley Mischka’s dresses were off the chain. Hands down my favorite show. Rocco and I sat front row, right next to the sales director, who approached me and said I can have whatever look I would like at wholesale pricing, gave me his card and told me to email him the look I liked best!! I mean, seriously?!
Wednesday, Sept 16th
Keep getting free stuff… Sharpies (a sponsor) gave me a crappy t-shirt to color along with numerous sharpies. I take advantage of this in between shows. I’m delirious at this point from 19 hour days in heels, and no sleep.
Backstage at Michael Kors was a true highlight–supermodels everywhere.
Just. Saw. My idol. Rachel Zoe. She has on her signature huge “sunnies” and yes, Brad was in tow. No Taylor to be found. Brad looked adorable and he and I talked a bit. Rachel was over it. They were in a hurry to catch a plane.
Thursday, September 17th
Today was a fun day. Rocco and I go to the Bryant Park Hotel Suite. We go to the Nintendo Gifting Suite floor first—how exciting! There was a large Nintendo set up for us to try, with couches and food and Moet. Left with an awesome oversized purple scarf and fun gift bag full of great stuff.
Had hair and make-up done for free by a super well-known salon in Manhattan, known as THE best (I’d rather not say who) and they give me gorgeous waves and curls, like no one ever has. I also get my make-up done by a fantastic Mary-Poppins-esqe English lady who is so kind. We conversate some, and she says she’s worked with Madonna and Gaga. I love it and feel cared for. At the end of the make-up session, she quietly gives me her card-we exchange. She offered that I could fly her out to wherever I am any time I need make up for a special event or show. Bless it. She has no idea…
I would use her too, if I had an extra $4,000 to burn.
Next is…the floor above… The Victoria’s Secret suite! How exciting. All kinds of fun pampering beauty treatments and gifts. I get my nails done-they need it so bad. Rocco gets a massage. I want one too, but on a time crunch, and decide my gnarly nails need some serious help, especially if I’m to be seen in public at the Gotham Magazine party that night. I leave with a gift bag full of gorgeous treats and make-up products I’ve never seen before.
Attend Gotham Mag party.
Friday, September 18th
After all the whirlwind, learning how to produce a show, dealing with all the unexpected crisis’ and making some good contacts, it’s time to head home! It has been an adventure to remember…can’t wait til Fashion Week in February!