Excerpts from my book Runway Madness Some models, like Karen Mulder here, hold a pose at the end of the catwalk. Other models simply turn quickly and keep moving. Which pose they do depends on the designer’s preference and their own personal styles. Nicole Miller, fall ’94.
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After several seasons on the runway, most models become experts at makeup application, having picked up tips from the makeup artists with whom they work. The makeup for a show is a collaborative process based on the look of the collection, the ideas of the makeup artist, and the preferences of the designer. In the end, however, the designer has the final say; makeup artists have to be prepared for all skin tones and last minute changes. Carmen Marc Valvo, fall ’97.
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Several stylists may be required to execute a single, complicated hairdo. Two stylists work on model Tereza Makova. Hair and makeup problems, a late model, or an indecisive designer can delay a show up to one hour and throw off the entire day’s schedule. Nicole Miller, fall ’93.
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Young models often comment that the most daunting part of their job is not the crowd but the thought of maneuvering the seemingly endless length of the runway, which can measure forty or more feet. Ralph Lauren, fall ’94
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Models learn early on to walk with their shoulders thrown back. They look taller, more elegant, and thinner. Todd Oldham, spring ’94.
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Few photographers continue to shoot along the sides of the runway. They stand, packed together with their monster lenses, at its foot because most editors prefer the clean, straight-on shots secured from this vantage point.
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The runway became a giant billboard when designer logos dominated sportswear. Norma Kamali, spring ’94.
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Cindy Crawford was a fashion show regular until she became a talk show host, cosmetics spokesperson, advertising pitchwoman, and aspiring actress. Now, she rarely makes a runway appearance. Donna Karan, ’92.
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Seats are assigned based on the prominence of the individuals and their publications or stores. Here, Vincent Knoll, (formerly) of Saks Fifth Avenue, looks on from the coveted front-row seat. Badgley Mischka, ’93.
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In pre-Bryant Park days, many designers presented their collections in the cramped confines of their showrooms. Not all guests were seated. Some were regulated to “standing room.” Here, model Iman walks the runway in Klein’s showroom. Calvin Klein, spring ’87.
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Kal Ruttenstein, fashion director of Bloomingdale’s, known in the industry for his accuracy in predicting trends, always carries a small battery powered fan to combat the heat from the runway lights. Brenda Moser, president of Calvin Klein Womenswear, sits beside him. Calvin Klein, ’95.
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The Front Row: Photographer (and ex-Mrs. Calvin Klein) Kelly Klein (in black); Katherine Betts, Anna Wintour; and Grace Coddington of Vogue’; and Patrick McCarthy of Fairchild Publications. The line-up in the front row is an indication of who wields the power in the fashion industry, The seats are painstakingly assigned by the show’s publicist. Fall ’95.
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For the show, no detail is left to chance. But often the most fanciful items on the runway, such as the little skullcap and knee socks, are never manufactured for stores. Betsey Johnson, ’90.
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Typically, a model, here Karen Elson, has her makeup done first, followed by her hair. Clothes go on last because once a model is dressed, she can’t sit or she’ll wrinkle the garments. Before going onto the catwalk, the model gets a touchup. Cynthia Steffe, spring ’97.
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Kate Moss, RuPaul, and Tommy Boy’s Monica Lynch. RuPaul stands out among drag queens because of her startling height, blonde wig, and fondness for designer clothes. She was once a regular at fashion shows but today is rarely seen at such events. Todd Oldham, fall ’94.
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Designer Isaac Mizrahi does a last minute fitting on a voluminous evening skirt worn by model Yasmeen Ghauri. A model’s fee for a show includes time spent at fittings. Spring ’94.
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Fashion week can seem like a marathon. The first show begins at 9 A.M. and often the last show isn’t over until 10 P.M. Model Sarah O’Hare rests her eyes and finds a moment of peace.
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A fashion show can attract a diverse group of front row celebrities: Kelly Klein, singer Dolly Parton, entertainment magnate David Geffen, and cable mogul Barry Diller. Calvin Klein, spring ’94.
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Model Christy Turlington waits backstage for her cue to hit the runway. She is the “bride” in the show’s finale. The stage managers tell models about light and sound cues and point out the runway mark the models will need to “hit” so the photographers’ pictures will be in focus. At the last minute, though, this can all change. Michael Kors, ’90.
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The dominatrix in a tutu is model Amber Valetta. Anna Sui, fall ’93.
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Backstage, model Veronica Webb plays the comic while waiting for her curls to set. The wait can last more than an hour. A model can earn $250 an hour or more; a top model easily can make $10,000 for a single show. Todd Oldham, spring ’94.
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Underneath model Eve Salvail’s platinum brush cut is an elaborate, snaking tattoo. Periodically she shaves her head to reveal it. Nicole Miller, ’93.
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Christy Turlington walks an elevated runway in a cramped warehouse. Before he shows moved to Bryant Park in midtown, guests ran all over Manhattan to makeshift auditoriums. Once, bits of plaster fell from a crumbling ceiling onto an unsuspecting audience. Stephen Sprouse, fall ’90.
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Shalom Harlow and Amber Valetta lead the traditional parade of models at the end of the Sui presentation. Sui almost adds a couple of male models to the line up to emphasize the fluidity of the line between menswear and womenswear. Anna Sui, spring ’94.
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Designers often strive for homogeneity in their models to make a dramatic point. Donna Karan, fall ’97.
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After the Eisen show in Soho, model Shalom Harlow jokes with friends while opening a bottle of water given out by one of fashion week’s many corporate sponsors. Mark Eisen, fall ’93.