Last Friday, I had the pleasure of presenting my Fall 2014 Collection-Zero Squared at New York Fashion Week. This was my first solo presentation during NYFW since I launched my line, Tabii Just, in November 2012. Here are 5 things I learned about presenting a collection during New York Fashion Week for the first time.5) The importance of a good show producer
I had 12 looks. Half an hour before the show, 4 models just didn’t show up. Yeah, that happened. My show producer, Staley Cook, walked up to me and “4 models aren’t coming. Don’t worry. We’re on it. We’ll get more models. It’ll be okay.” And I believed her. Staley was the glue that held the show together. She was on point, firm, in charge and level-headed. She would walk up to me, put her hand on my shoulder, look me in the eye, hit me with the bad news and then tell me it would be okay. And it kind of was everytime. Without Staley, I may have had multiple panic attacks. After the show, I heard a rumor that one of the models had passed out on the runway. People would notice if a 6 foot glamazon went face first into the floor so I almost didn’t believe it. Staley walked up to me and said,”One of your models passed out. Don’t worry. She crawled on her hands and knees off the runway. I gave her something to eat and drink. She was fine. No-one even noticed.” I mean, how is that even possible? Never under-estimate the value of a good show producer.
4) It’s important to enjoy the moment
I don’t know if any designer would tell you that fashion is glamorous for them. We are the ones stitching up to the last moment. I had to continuously remind myself, though, to take time to enjoy this. We literally put the show together in less than a month so it was insane. Enjoying it was a must.
3) Be prepared to run
No-one warned me that presenting at NYFW would be a physically grueling activity. The show was at 12noon. By 11am, I was sprinting from backstage to the runway. Do you know how many seconds you can save that way? And seconds count when people are starting to mill around and 2 of your models are just arriving for hair and makeup. I literally needed to be in 2 places at the same time. I needed to be sure the lighting and runway were perfect but I also needed to make sure the hair and makeup were coming along as they should. If you’re ever presenting during NYFW, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to run.
2) Watching my hubby rub lotion on the legs of models made me love him even more
Right before the show, I noticed that the cold was drying out the models’ skin. Their knees and skin were ashy. I needed to be in hair and makeup to move along the 2 girls that had just showed up. I had no time to deal with the skin issue. My other helpers were occupied. I handed my hubby a bottle of lotion and asked him to lotion up the girls’ legs and arms. He was understandably weirded out about having to get so personal with strangers. I could see him gingerly applying the lotion and trying to be extra respectful. In that moment, my heart smiled at the image of him doing a job most guys would die for, being grossed out by it but doing it anyway for the good of Tabii Just.
1) My heart CAN overflow with gratitude
That moment when I did my walk on the runway….that moment when I saw the people that took time out of their schedule to come see my art….in that moment my heart burst with gratitude for them and for everyone who made this possible. As a new designer, this kind of thing just does not happen. Emerging designers do not get the chance to have a solo presentation during NYFW. Bob Bland and Manufacture NY invested their time and dinero into making this dream of mine come true. They found sponsors and were sponsors themselves. They were on email with me at midnight most nights. Everytime I thought I needed to take care of some huge task, they would just take it over. To them, Elizabeth, Gendala, the hair and makeup teams, the models (especially those who showed up at the last minute!), the production team, my helpers, the sponsors (Mirabella Beauty & The Beauty Blender) and the guests, I felt so so grateful. Yes, my heart can and did overflow with gratitude.
Tabitha St. Bernard