Wednesday 25 September 2013

My time at LFW S/S '14

For the third consecutive season I had the opportunity to be part of The Body Shop backstage make up team at London Fashion Week S/S '14 headed by one of my favourite make up artists, Lan Nguyen-Grealis. I assisted on four shows this season; Kiev Fashion Days, House of Evolution, Ong-Oaj Pairam and FAD.

Backstage is pretty hectic. You have a call time that is usually four hours ahead of the show, but this can sometimes change at the last minute. Once you arrive at the venue it usually goes like this: The head make up artist for the show has already designed a look at a test before the week starts, she then demonstrates this look on a model talking you through what products are being used and how she wants them applied, you make notes, take pictures etc and pay attention as they only do it once. Once the look is approved by the designer and head artist the assistant can then crack on with recreating the look on a model. This isn't always as easy as it sounds though. There's a team of make up artists, stylists, hair stylists, all wanting to get their mits on a model first! So it's often a waiting game of clocking a model when she's free and staking your claim! Sometimes it's handy to get friendly with one of the hair team or stylists so they send a model over to you when they're done. Depending on how many models there are on the show you could potentially have up to three models to work on. On one of my show's my model got stuck in her dress! FFS! All of a sudden 4 hours doesn't seem like a very long time... 

And if you think that's the most hectic part, it's not! Come rehearsal time and the stern lady who's in charge of making sure everything runs in time starts shouting out the model's names for run through. And you still need to apply some mascara... When all the models get back it's literally lip gloss here, hairspray there, models getting naked and everyone is just in a frenzy to make sure all the looks are complete. Make up artists need to group up and arrange who takes care of what touch ups, which models need finishing off and you can't forget the body. Any models with skin exposed need their arms, legs, backs etc moisturising much to the envy of my male friends :)

And then it's backstage last minute touch ups. Anything that doesn't get done in the dressing rooms has to be done behind the catwalk. It's pretty cramped, there's up to 20 odd models in heels towering above you plus a whole host of other people including photographers and bloggers. There's no point being here if you can't handle pressure or maybe being shouted at. If you find yourself back here you end up weaving in and out of people and clothes making sure that make up looks fresh and done according to the original design literally seconds before the models hit the catwalk. And that's it! 4 hours of preparation for a 10 minute show. It's pretty bonkers but you have to love your job to have the energy and patience to handle the atmosphere backstage and lucky for me I do. Yes it's tiring but it's fun and it's the best way to learn and get better at your trade. Watching make up artists like Lan Grealis and Jo Sugar work is pretty awesome and I just take it all in and let it inspire and refresh my artistry. That's what assisting is all about. That and feeling very, very short. 

Just love

Rina xoxo 

NB. I do not claim that any of the make up looks in these images have been designed by me. Credit lies with the head artists for the relevant shows. 

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