Stylebook snapshot: Pittsburgh style insiders debunk New York Fashion Week myths
February 12, 2017 12:00 AM
Highland Park native Julia DiNardo has covered New York Fashion Week for 28 consecutive seasons. She's the founder and editor of the style and beauty site FashionPulseDaily.com.
hancelor Humphrey/Keep Pittsburgh Dope
A street style photo of stylish passersby at New York Fashion Week by Pittsburgh-based photographer Chancelor Humphrey of the lifestyle website Keep Pittsburgh Dope.
By Sara Bauknecht / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
You could call New York Fashion Week one of life’s most glamorous mysteries. TV shows and magazines paint a picture of a week packed with swanky parties, star-studded runway shows and editors leisurely chatting about it over champagne in between the action.
While there are glimmers of truth to this, most of it is myth. In reality, New York Fashion Week — which is underway through Thursday at venues across the Big Apple — is one of the busiest weeks of the year for models, stylists, photographers, public relations firms and the media — and it’s serious business.
To help separate fact from fiction, some of Pittsburgh’s fashion insiders who’ve been there correct what they consider to be some of the most common misconceptions surrounding New York Fashion Week.
MYTH: Fashion shows last at least an hour
It’s pretty surprising that all of the people, teams and money that come together — which includes the production team; casting agents; models; key makeup, hair and nail artists; dressers; and designers — fall into place to be seen for, at most, 20 minutes. You would think all of the glamour would go on for much longer. In reality, a model is really only on the runway for a minute. A collection averages 40 to 46 looks — that means it’s going to be very fast.
You have to think about why you’re there and what you’re wanting to get out of the show, especially if you’re working to write about it or buy these items. You have a really short moment of time to make notes about it, without missing a look. It’s something else that all of this money goes into 20 minutes, and some designers spend upward of $1 million. If a model trips, the dress gets caught on her shoe or her hair falls out, that’s what people fixate on and remember. There are so many variables that can go wrong. — Highland Park native Julia DiNardo, founder and editor of Fashion Pulse Daily, who’s covered New York Fashion Week for 28 consecutive seasons.
MYTH: Everyone rubs elbows with movie stars all day
You see some faces in the fashion world who are famous, but I think people expect you to see a lot more celebrities. Personally, I haven’t seen as many as I want to in the grander scheme of things outside of fashion. — Chancelor Humphrey, Keep Pittsburgh Dope photographer who has documented street style at New York Fashion Week for three seasons
MYTH: Backstage is like a party before the shows
No one understands how much work it is. Usually there are about 30 models, and you have about 1½ hours — that’s for makeup and hair. Then they have to stop in the middle of that to rehearse. It’s like painting a moving target. Sometimes the models show up late. Once one of the key models came 5 to 10 minutes before she was supposed to go on. Her hair was matted, tangled and teased from another show. We had five people blowing it dry all at once, and then they had to put makeup on while that was going on.
In the middle of all the chaos is having to stop and do interviews with the press. There’s hardly even room to walk around backstage, but you have to talk about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and what products that you’re using. It’s a great opportunity, but it adds a lot of stress. — Philip Pelusi, Philip Pelusi Salons owner, hairstylist and product artist, who’s led styling teams at New York Fashion Week for more than a dozen seasons
It looks like it’s all happening that night, or it was arbitrarily put together last week. The styling team would work for at least a four-month period with the designer. You’d go in stages and have up to maybe four or five tests of different rounds of experimenting. Then sometimes there are last-minute adjustments to the hair and makeup. — Jennifer Danilchick-Pelusi, former New York City-based makeup artist and sales and marketing director for Tela Beauty Organics
MYTH: Models don’t eat much to maintain their weight for the runway
Maintaining your weight is about eating smaller meals and snacks throughout the day, especially during New York Fashion Week, such as granola bars or fruits and vegetables. I like to start my day with oats with coconut milk. Staying active is important, too. I love to run, but even just walking more instead of taking the subway really helps. — Homewood native Miyah Knight, who is based in New York City and has modeled at New York Fashion Week for three seasons
Look for fashion updates this week in the Post-Gazette Magazine and visit the fashion blog Stylebook at www.post-gazette.com/stylebook for photos, videos, trend reports, backstage stories and more from New York Fashion Week. Plus, follow PG style editor Sara Bauknecht on Twitter and Instagram @SaraB_PG for more from the runway.
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