The Anatomy of a Fashion Show: Jen Kao AW13 at New York Fashion Week, February 2013

by Sasha Wilkins on February 15, 2013 · 4 comments

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

Going backstage at a fashion show is always an education. For a show that lasts maybe ten minutes tops, the preparation takes weeks. On show day everything gets telescoped into a few frenetic hours. I was invited backstage at New York Fashion Week designer Jen Kao’s show on Saturday last week to watch as her team, which at times, felt like a cast of thousands, put together the show.

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

It took place at Moynihan Station on West 33rd Street, where Rag & Bone had showed the day before.

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

The building is essentially the back end of New York’s famous James Farley Post Office Building right opposite Penn Station. It’s an impressive venue although, like most fashion shows, it’s not quite so glamorous backstage.

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

The space is vast,

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

so the show producers created temporary walls with floor length thick black curtains,

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

and pumped hot air through giant blowers into the actual show space.

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

Behind the scenes, they erected a mini marquee to act as a dressing room for the girls, to keep them warm whilst changing, and to give them and the dressers some privacy.

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

Each dresser has their own section of rail with a photo of their girl, and her looks and accessories photographed on large sheets.

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

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Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

This is also where any final alterations take place,

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

and the clothes are pressed.

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

Next door, the hair and make up stations were set up. It was pretty cold back there, but a combination of blow heaters, and the sheer mass of bodies soon warmed it up.

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

It’s hard to make the toilets look glamorous, but someone tried with the Diptyque…

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

In case of last minute glitches, the PR team have bought the show seating chart

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

They are a finely honed group, in their Jen Kao sweatshirts

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

and all black ensembles.

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Backstage all the girls are in hair & makeup,

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

The finished makeup look:

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

The hair look is very sleek thin plaits. If the girls don’t have long hair, then there is always a solution

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

There are photographers everywhere and multi tasking is the order of the day

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There’s a lot of waiting about behind the scenes at shows, and the girls are glued to both phones and books

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

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There are craft services, and it never fails to amuse me that whilst there are always healthy options on offer

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

it’s the sweeties & biscuits that usually disappear first

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

It’s half an hour to show time, and the show space is still empty.
Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

When the hair & makeup is done, the girls get a briefing on how to walk and the kind of attitude that is required on the runway

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

As the walk through continued, the girls got instructions on where to walk and turn from one of the show producers:

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

Then in what seems like a matter of minutes, the invited guests start to flood in. The audience wait,

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

cups of coffee in hand,

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

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as the last minute girls from other shows are hurried into make up chairs backstage for an ultra quick simultaneous hair and makeup turnaround

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

And then the lights go up, and we are off:

Jen Kao AW13 NYFW

LLG was a guest of Jen Kao at New York Fashion Week

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Hilary February 15, 2013 at 10:39

Fascinating! But, 33rd St surely? x

Reply

Catherine February 15, 2013 at 11:26

Oh, that hall looks so, so cold! Was mulled something or other available?

Reply

V&R February 15, 2013 at 13:28

Love this style of post, thanks for sharing!

Reply

Khushroo Lal October 13, 2013 at 22:10

True to the life explanation……indepth and detailed….. (y)

Reply

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