I would welcome you with an amorous French greeting, but I feel a bit fraudulent pulling up Google Translate. Now that the Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood Spring 2017 show has been officially released, I am in the liberty to share more shots leading up to the occasion. The camera on my cell phone is comparable to the visual quality of a Windows 2000 desktop and dies at the most inopportune moments so a few images are borrowed from coworkers to fill in the gaps. Longest entry yet, but mostly comprised of photos so it’s digestible.
The week before the show
Handstitching a series of labels onto the right side of each tailored jacket. Each stitch was precisely measured 5mm apart.
One of the machinists modeling his handiwork. Complete with red felt eyes and dangling metal claws.
When the plotter printer has an emotional breakdown, masks and super glue come to the rescue.
The last day in the London studio before heading to Paris: In peak condition and ready to face any challenge of the universe.
6:00am (night of the show) and still sle-working in the showroom. I was ready to nail the coffin at this point.
I jest, I jest. Compared to the workload of university, giving up one night of rest in order to execute a performance uniting the past three months of development was more than doable. A few full-time employees even worked 48 hours straight. Such dedication.
My sister Justine also flew over to Paris with the approval of my studio manager who had been looking for a few extra hands to help with the show. “Animal Science pre-Vet” is her field of expertise at University College Dublin, but that didn’t slow her from adjusting metal corsets on ten different torsos or applying snake, lion, and acorn appliques onto a stack of tailored skirts and blazers.
Friday – The day before the show
9:30am – In the showroom handstitching metal charms onto an acid yellow blazer. This piece was cut from the show, but its grey counterpart with the same charm placement remained.
10:25pm – Enlisting an army to fit this apparatus onto the model without toppling her over. A line of models awaiting their fittings formed at 11am and the last one trickled out at around 12am.
Looking fierce Elena.
3 am – Deliberating the final lineup. Hundreds of outfit combinations tested that day were narrowed down to 65 looks.
3:30 am – Organizing each shoe by style and size. Because most models share shoes during the show, lineups are strategically planned around availability.
5:30 am – Preparing the garment bags; one for each model.
6:30am – Taking a cab back to our Airbnb to catch a few Zzzzz’s before showtime.
Here’s the lay of the land. The showroom was right around the corner from the Louve and the show venue was a stone’s throw away from the Eiffel Tower. You’d think they would have tried a little harder to secure something more impressive but I wasn’t the one calling the shots.
J and I stayed in an adorable apartment complex located in the 13th Arrondissement, about a 40-minute commute from the showroom. Our host Sarah-Jane works as a flight attendant for Air France and was in Chile when we arrived, so her mother was there to greet us. Her mother didn’t speak a lick of English and I didn’t speak a word of French so we communicated through caveman gestures and lots of smiles. Sarah-Jane’s son is studying abroad in Montreal, and according to Sarah, “has no desire to return to Paris,” (Me: WHY??) so she’s been renting out his room to guests like us.
Her son owns 34 volumes of Naruto. We would have been good friends.
Saturday – The day of the show
The Gold label interns sporting matching show T-shirts
I woke up like this.
AK, V, and models bask in the post-show glow. Almost immediately after this photo was taken, the set was taken down, the models dashed off to their next runway appointment, and the clothes were disassembled, packed back into garment bags, and loaded into vans to be taken back to the showroom. Akin to watching the heist scene from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the pieces left the venue as quickly as they had come.
While on our way to the showroom to do the post-show unpacking, we took our first uninhibited stroll through the city streets.
Ah Sunday, smartly christened as the day of rest. My sister and I slept for 12 hours and had our first meal outside of the Westwood showroom at Sarah-Jane’s favorite Basque restaurant, a 15-minute walk from the apartment. Sunday was also the grand opening for Vivienne Westwood’s first boutique in Paris, so we headed back to the showroom to make celebratory balloon decorations.
Notice the balloon covered ceiling!
Shiny bull-hooves adorn garment rack legs.
There were rumors of a studio afterparty but the plea for sleep won the fight, so we hopped on the metro to our Airbnb and enjoyed a quiet evening of chats and chocolate buscuits with Sarah Jane.
I woke up at the blessed hour of 5am to bid Justine well as the Uber ride to take her to the bus terminal for Beauvais Airport pulled up at the apartment. Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed before going to back to sleep (a terrible habit I’ve got to kick) I caught a photo of my roommate from back home posing in front of the Eiffel Tower. Could it really be? Emily? I knew she was travelling to Berlin to study abroad, but her detour to Paris was news to me. 6 hours later, I found myself on the sixth floor of Centre Pompidou skipping through the Magritte and Beat Generation exhibitions with my adventure-seeking, karaoke-singing, dance partner in crime.
Staircase leading up to the heavens. Colossal hamster tunnel. Or Pompidou façade.
View from inside.
And the Beat goes on.
At 5pm I boarded the Eurostar back to London. I forgot my water bottle at the showroom and wasn’t about to pay two pounds for bottled water so I went back to my seat. Two minutes later I’m tapped on the shoulder with a bottle of water from the women who stood behind me in line. She hails from London but lives in Kent, works as a cosmetic surgery consultant, and has a daughter that is currently visiting her grandparents in Spain. We had a lovely conversation for the rest of the ride. As the train pulled up to St. Pancras, she wished me well with the internship and told me she had bought a Westwood corset from the Worlds End Shop back in the day.
Speaking of St. Pancras, I meant to include a few photos from DesignJunction (a furniture and lighting trade show that exhibited at Granary Square, across the river from St. Pancras) in my last post, but didn’t get around to downloading them in time. In my fourth and final post about this whirlwind experience with the RCGD campaign, I’ll include a few highlights from the DesignJunction event- namely the Central St. Martin’s student exhibition “Brainwaves” and an infant jamming to Johannes Brahms “Hungarian Dance.”