Who’s Got Fashion Flu?

I am a freelance makeup artist so I work on different teams. I work with the Maybelline team in New York, and I work with the Mac Cosmetics teams in Milan and Paris. The way it sometimes works, the designer hires the key makeup artist, the lead person–these are people who have been in the industry for 30 years and their careers are far more developed than mine. But I’m one of the people that will be on their team.

Fashion Week is fun, kind of like makeup boot camp. It’s the only other time that I get to see other makeup artists, because on a photo shoot there’s usually just me or maybe an assistant. But when we go do shows, I get to work with my colleagues and contemporaries, people who are kind of at the same level or even had their own careers for years, and they all come together to rally behind this lead person. I’m definitely traveling to London this season. And I’m still on the fence with Milan and Paris. I have done them all in past years.

Sometimes I make my decisions based off whether or not I have done a designer’s show before. So if get offered to do Givenchy, and I haven’t worked on a Givenchy show, but it conflicts with some other show that I have done before, then I’m probably going to choose the Givenchy, just to say that I’ve done it at least once. It’s an interesting way to educate myself about the fashion industry as a whole, so you can know the vibe of each of the designers.

When I first started doing shows, most of them were at Lincoln Center. Now you’ve got designers showing at some, you know, Navy Yard in Brooklyn, and you’ve got someone showing down in Tribeca, or at the Seaport or at the Piers, so now for Fashion Week all these shows are very scattered.

My style on these shows often times doesn’t matter. It’s a very monkey see monkey do thing. When it comes to shows, you have to be able to replicate what that key artist does, as quickly as they do it.

Call time is about four hours prior to show time, so before everyone arrives, there may be downtime backstage. Usually for the first makeups we’re not in a rush. But then maybe an hour before the show, that’s when all the cameras and all the people come backstage, and that’s when it gets hectic. There’s less space, more people, more people trying to interview you, people are pushing around. That’s when it gets crazy. But I know everybody’s got a job to do. It’s just the nature of the beast.

One thing that drives us crazy, is photographers trying to take pictures of models backstage when they’re changing. I have definitely gone off on photographers, and I’m like, “Put your damn camera away, she doesn’t have a shirt on.”

I get frustrated with anybody who’s going to push around models, because they are human beings, they need to eat, they need to drink water, they need to go to the bathroom, give them a chance. Especially with the experienced models, when people are you know kind of corralling them to and fro, the point is that these girls have been doing this for a long time, they are adults, they know exactly what they need to do, they know exactly how much time there is to get this job done, like, let them be. There’s a lot of pushing and pulling.

Sometimes we all get sick at the same time. We joke, but if you’ve done all four cities, you have the Fashion Flu. Which means that we’ve shared cooties with each other in New York, in London, in Milan, and in Paris, we’re just so worn down, and the models, these poor girls I mean really, they’re working, they’re working really long days. They look so good because there are a bunch of professionals there to make them look as gorgeous as they do, you know what I mean? That’s the army it takes. The biggest misconception is that it’s all glamorous. Of course, some of it is, but it’s it’s all just a lot of hard work, too, and it’s a lot of running around town. You know trains, planes and automobiles.

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