Monday, 16 September 2013

Backstage Dressing at PPQ

Fashion Week has to be one of the most exciting events in the world for anyone who is lucky enough to be involved. I have previously enjoyed doing street fashion photography around Somerset House's courtyard, however this year I had the opportunity to step inside the BFC Show Space where the magic really happens!

Image from flickr: Ralph Stephenson

I arrived on day one of London Fashion Week, which was a very drizzly day (and turned my hair into a frizzy mop) but I didn't let it dampen my spirits! I first of all met up with PPQ's head assistant designer, along with the other dressers, so we could pick up our backstage wristbands. We then excitedly made our way over to the back entrance where security let us in as we flashed our wristbands like we were VIPs! 

Inside, half of the room was packed with rows of mirrors and models who were each surrounded by make-up artists and hairstylists. We walked over to the other side, which was filled with rails and a few stylist assistants who were busy steaming the collection of outfits. Once the majority of clothing was prepared, we assigned ourselves to a rail, which were separated into each model's looks. I chose the rail that had the opening look of the show (a vampy floor-sweeping purple dress) and two other beautifully seductive dresses. Then came the models who all looked Vogue cover worthy, with plum coloured lips and hair in a half-up beehive style. The model I got to dress was Evangeline Ling who was very sweet and looked incredible in her outfits. She told me it was her first catwalk show, so it's fair to say she was feeling more nervous than I was about dressing her as fast as humanly possible. At least I didn't have a large crowd of fashion insiders watching me! 

The head stylist Calvin Opaleye then ran through the outfits with us, adding accessories such as buckled belts and an oversized patent handbag. When Evangeline first tried on the incredibly long purple dress, she was worried that she was going to trip over the strips of chiffon. After a few practice walks and encouragement from Calvin though, she started to feel a bit more confident. 

A very unflattering picture of me, Evangeline, Hannah (my co-dresser) and Calvin

The photographers then crammed themselves into the tight space to get some action shots and close-ups of everything from the nail art to the buckled heels. After some posing and final preparations, the models did a practise walk down the catwalk in their first outfits. Unfortunately we ran out of time to do a complete run-through of all the outfits (which designer Amy Molyneux was obviously very concerned about) so we knew we just had to wing it! 

The press then disappeared and the music blasted out from the staging area. The models took to their places in the line-up and the show began! 



The time then flew by backstage, where we had less than two minutes to undress and redress our models in their outfits before they rejoined the line-up.   There were moments of panic in the room but overall it was an exciting atmosphere to be in. Once Evangeline came back from the finale, we had a group hug with my co-dresser Hannah and we high-fived Calvin! Then Bip Ling  came running in to give Evangeline a massive hug. It was only then that I discovered that the world famous blogger is the older sister of Evangeline. 

The perfect dress to open a show

Evangeline killing it on the catwalk with her second look

The third look I dressed - I love the way the buckled belts and 
shoes toughen up the heavenly looking dress



Everyone was then invited to the after-show party at the Sanderson hotel. It was a difficult decision to make, but I decided to instead attend a party for Untitled magazine at Professor Green's new club INK, in Leicester Square with one of the dressers I made friends with. 

Being a part of Fashion Week as a dresser was definitely one of the highlights of my year so far and I can't wait for next season as I plan to dress at more shows. Maybe I will even work my way up to head stylist one day too.

Love from Lou Lou