Straight from the Viktor & Rolf studio in Amsterdam I arrived in Paris on Sunday, the night before Gareth’s show - very much working on the adrenaline from the stress of doing two shows in the same week! I’d finished all of the looks and running order for Viktor & Rolf so I felt excited to get going with Gareth. We hadn’t started the looks but I’d seen many of the pieces made in London at his Dalston studio in the weeks running up.
We worked that night and for the next two days on the looks, casting and the fitting – so it’s a lot to jam pack into a short time. Long days fuelled by coke and coffee! We’ve been working with Kannon, our casting director for four seasons now and this time around – as it’s been such a strong season for new girls – we wanted to keep the casting very fresh with a strong girl opening up, which is why we chose our favourite Joan Smalls.
The running order for the show was based on starting with something that was totally different from last season’s cages – a very fluid fur knitwear look. It’s great for anyone who doesn’t wear fur because it’s so warm and feels just like fur but you look and underneath and see it’s knitted. The looks continued with this feeling and slowly built up into harder structures, including some straightened shearling. The last group in the collection consisted of sculpted duchess and silk wool, and finished with high neckpieces. Some of the tops and dresses were the same shape but worn with the arms down in a kimono style, but the arms were attached almost like straight jackets. Some were worn up and stiffened for a more warrior-esque silhouette.
We were pretty organised about the fittings and show-prep but we did have a small drama when a model cancelled the morning of the show. We had to re-fit on another girl but it was fine in the end, you just have to act quickly and keep a clear head!
The hair and make-up was relatively simple for Gareth as the collection was playing between two worlds – the fluid versus the hard and strict – and we wanted to carry this through to the hair and make-up. Elastic plastic strips were pulled around the models face, enhancing facial structure and lifting the skin. Almost mimicking the wrapping of the thigh-high boots that enveloped the legs and the ropes wrapping the set that formed a backdrop to the show. The hair played with two textures – a hard, strict slick back and a centre parting that turned into soft natural hair from the neck down.
The atmosphere backstage is always tense at any show I’m sure. It was no different this time at the Garage Turenne, but as panicked as we were backstage I think/hope everyone on the outside enjoyed the show! The music was powerful and loud enough to mask our screams of panic on the other side. Matthew Stone, who’s been working on Gareth’s show with us since the beginning, sourced samples of people saying 'God' via twitter in a nod to Madonna's 'Like a Prayer' intro.