Friendly Stylists! Free Champagne! Our Marxist Model Rejoins The Fashion Week Dark Side...

Illustration for article titled Friendly Stylists! Free Champagne! Our Marxist Model Rejoins The Fashion Week Dark Side...

Fashion Week is over! But we'd be remiss if we let it slip back into the rosy glow of memory without telling you how it all ended for our anonymous model Tatiana. When last she caught up with us, she was contemplating the overthrow of global capitalism in the wake of a soul-sapping shift working as a fitting model for a Top American Designer. But you don't need Heidi Klum to tell you; fashion is fickle and Fashion Week Friday landed Tatiana firmly back on Team Third-World Exploitation And Pretty Shoes. Find out how and why she sold out in our final — but not final final: She'll be back to periodically dish from Paris and Milan and all those other exotic locales that host international fashion shows! — edition of Modelslips.

The last day of New York fashion week did not seem promising. I had a show and two presentations, one of which was slated to take eight (!) hours. Presentations differ from runway shows in that they're basically live modeling: you stand around in front of an audience in extremely uncomfortable footwear, until everyone gets bored and goes home, or the free booze runs out, whichever happens first.

Shows, at least, have a period of anticipation, and a moment of excitement when you finally do step on stage. Presentations tend to suck — you can't eat or drink, the assistants look askance at you if you have the temerity to ask for a bathroom break, half the time you're not even supposed to talk to the other models — and on top of everything, they're even more likely to be paid in trade because clients think presentations are easier than runway. As a makeup artist at my first presentation of the day put it, "Well, you guys just stand around, right?" (Hey guy, just a question, you don't happen to be receiving your remuneration for services rendered in dresses, do you? Okay, yeah, so fuck you.)


Makeup artist proceeded to glue my false eyelashes on upside-down. It took him three botched attempts to attach them correctly, and there was still a pointy ridge of fake-lash base that scraped my eyelid every time I blinked on the right side. Plus the lashes obscured my view of the ridicu-tanned Nicky Hilton when she came for her share of the bellinis.

But Friday afternoon, well, rocked. I was working for a designer — or, let's face it, design team— that, like Wednesday's, steals shamelessly from vintage fashions, then reproduces them at minimal cost in the massive industrial sweatshops of China and Indonesia, only to charge absurd markups back home, and is owned by a parent conglomerate that also holds a sheaf of other global brands. Its founder is noted for having once donated to Rick Santorum. Yet I can muster nary an ounce of outrage; everyone was just too damn agreeable!

The presentation was animated by a superior concept — instead of the usual stand-and-pose B.S., the models were paired off and told to move, walk, talk to each other, play with props, as we saw fit. My partner was a Russian spitfire named Anzhela, who held an eating competition with me backstage (I love it when clients remember to feed the models!) and kept my spirits high through the 18,000th outfit change.

Plus, did I mention there was champagne? And the clients didn't mind giving some to me?


But most importantly, you could just tell that this was a team that enjoyed working together. When the head designer asked the stylist if it wouldn't be better to change the outfit rotations so more models could be out front-of-house at one time, the stylist simply explained the reason for her current method, and the head designer backed off with an apologetic, "Oh, great! Don't let me micromanage you. That sounds perfect." After weeks of working in each other's pockets trying to make the collection coalesce, nobody seemed snippy, tired, or glaringly incompetent. Even the dresser with the cold mustered enthusiasm.

At the end of the night, when the audience had gone home, the makeup artists had packed up, the hair stylists had wheeled their suitcase of tools to the door, and the food was almost all eaten, there was still plenty of champagne, and it was clear that everyone present was intending to take off their shoes and start partying, right there in the showroom. This team had more energy after shooting its fashion wad than the Top American Designer's crew had built up even a mere day before the show. I wanted to stay and party with them.


But I didn't. I had a plane to catch, because I'm following the fashion whirl to different climes.

It's been fun being your New York Fashion Week mole, but I'm not sure I can keep up with posting almost-daily without either ham-fistedly blowing my cover or boring you all to tears. ("Castings: 12. Fittings: 1. Extremely long conversation about the bitches who steal our hard-earned clothes at our models' apartments. Saw framed letter from Vice President Cheney to Nicole Miller CEO Bud Konheim thanking the latter for a donation of 9/11 commemorative neckties. Lynne sent her best." True story. I digress...)


However, I don't see why I couldn't crank out a periodic update. I'll tackle your questions, rant, and disperse as much industry insider info I can wheedle in any seven-day period. So think up some things to ask me, mmmkay? And send them to Moe. Stay fierce, Jezebelles!

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I may be sort of an asshole, but you're a real eye-opener, Tatiana. Who knew models could come so . . . smart, and so . . . literate?

But! Though I imagine getting paid in clothes sucks after some time, color me thoroughly jealous anyway. I want dresses.