Attending London Fashion Week with Sasha, as Libertylondongirl’s new editorial associate, meant I had backstage passes for many of the shows, and I’ll let you in on a secret: only a rare few are the organised epicentres of glamour that one might expect (from having seen all those backstage photos in Vogue).
Instead, it’s more a case of the following: great clouds of hairspray; makeshift stations strewn with open pots of makeup; models standing around mostly-naked whilst being spray tanned in front of a room of fifty strangers; reporters and photographers jostling for stories; dressers frantically trying to cram plaster-covered feet into too small shoes before a run-through; the entire order of a show having to be switched because the finalé model is, at a diminutive 5ft10″, too short for the last look; and frazzled assistants shouting “the front row are arriving and this girl still has unacceptable hair and no makeup! Get her done, NOW”.
A designer naturally wants to convey the impression that one will look a certain way simply by slipping on a particular garment, yet even with supermodels as subjects, I’ve discovered that it takes two hours and a veritable army of highly-skilled stylists and beauty artists to create the perfection we see on the runway.
In much the same way that one should never watch either sausages or laws being made if they care to enjoy the final product (I’ve made both, and can confirm they each involve an entirely unattractive process), watching all this did, in a way, rather shatter my illusions.
However I did find that being reminded that beauty is often achieved rather than being inate extremely life- affirming.
Photos by Briony Whitehouse backstage at LFW