Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Diary of a fashion intern - Day number…i've lost count "Bonjour Paris!"

Hi guys! Here we go - Part 4 of my fashion intern diary. Click here to read the Russian version on Look At Me.

One more to come, enjoy xx

p.s. read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Tomorrow we leave for Paris! Half of the interns are going straight from Milan and it is only me and two other girls who will be going from London. Preparation for Paris fashion week is a serious matter but rather than packing fabulous outfits we are stuffing our bags with food - chocolates, biscuits, chips as well as other necessities like pillows and towels. It is going to be a looooong week so you want to be as comfortable as possible - your own pillow is a must! 

I'm catching a 5.25am Eurostar from London which means I get somewhat 3 hours sleep that night. Luckily we have the first day off so after dumping my bags at the hotel, I grab my camera and head straight for the Tuilleries where Paris fashion week shows are starting. During London fashion week I was really sad that I didn't get to shoot street style as I normally absolutely love being in the midst of the fashion week madness. So when the opportunity presented itself to have a day of shooting in Paris, of course I jumped at it. Who cares about sleep anyway… it is so overrated. 

For next 10 hours I am running around from show to show all over Paris, by the end of the day I know the metro map like the back of my hand. Get back to the hotel around 8pm and spend the next 4hours editing photos and catching up on emails. 

The first day at the Paris showroom is quiet and we spend most of the time organising clothes and training up Parisian interns. Since I had already done the London fashion week, I'm all of a sudden the big boss and get to tell other interns what to do and I don't even have to get my own Starbucks anymore… :))

Paris fashion week in the showroom is different from London in two ways - firstly the showroom is bigger so you work harder and secondly you eat A LOT. The morning starts with croissants which are followed by mini macaroon towers and coffee which are followed by lunch then by fruit and then by biscuits in the afternoon. All the girls are worried about gaining weight but everyone continues eating anyway. 

During the day the showroom is an absolute mayhem and you have to adapt to hearing and understanding different languages. There are 10 sales executives who meet clients from all over Europe. As I walk through the showroom with a stack of clothing towards the change room someone asks me for a coffee (in Italian) another table asks for photocopies of something (in French) and the third table throws more clothes my way asking for them to be tried on (in Spanish). By the time you get to the kitchen you need to still remember who asked what and what it means in English and not go crazy.

On the second day, two of the Parisian interns do not turn up - apparently it all got too hard for them. 

Do you remember the scene from the Devil Wears Prada where she is balancing coffees from Starbucks in one hand, documents in the other and her phone doesn't stop ringing the whole time?? Well that's me. I get sent to the photocopy centre to make copies of line sheets, whilst grabbing coffee (soda water, toothbrush, cigarettes) for someone on the way and my phone is going off constantly. 
Many many years ago I used to take French classes. All of a sudden I find myself at the dry cleaners speaking some weird combination of French and sign language trying to explain that my colleague dropped off a dress in the morning (SHOOOORT, BLAAAACK, LACEEEYYY - I tried to speak slowly and loudly .. as if it is going to help!) but we have since lost the ticket and I now need that dress NOW to take back to the showroom before someone gets very angry with me. The queue behind me is trying to contain their laughter as I am acting out my charade. The lady at the counter looks at me and probably (highly likely) thinks I'm crazy. 

The only thing that gets me through the day is the nice dinner at the end of the night. Every night all the interns from London get together and go out for a nice meal and a bottle of red. On the third day to say thank you for all our hard work our manager makes a booking in one of the trendy restaurants in Monmartre. As we finish our entrees, a lady with a blonde crop enters the room and joins a loud (and amazingly stylish) table next to us. Kate Lanphear, editor of US Elle. I literally can't stop staring. Four days ago I photographed her exiting the Balmain show in Paris. I absolutely love her style. And here she is hanging out with her friends looking fabulous as always (and you cant even tell she spent the whole day hopping from one fashion show to another in 30 degree heat). 

Paris is growing on me, that's for sure…

To be continued xx

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dana Rogoz, Paris

Dana Rogoz - actress and blogger from Romania 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Summer Dress... Paris

Diary of a fashion intern - Part 3 "Guess who's going to Paris"

Sorry about the delay! Here is Part 3 of my interning diary. The Russian version is running on Look At Me (and I must say I find it so flattering that someone finds this blabbering interesting enough to publish :))

You can also read Part 1 and Part 2.

...By my third day at the showroom I'm starting to feel somewhat comfortable with what I am meant to be doing during my time here. We are constantly being reminded that we are the face of the brand and to look and present ourselves well. Today I'm blending in well - wearing all black (do you know how hard it is to find a good matching black outfit?! you know how they say there are 30-something shades of black? well it's true!).

Today it feels like finally all the interns are getting comfortable with the process and everything is starting to fall into place. The showroom is running smoothly and I'm trying to concentrate on getting all my tasks done perfectly.

Having said that, there are certain tasks that I am desperately trying to avoid… For example, every morning we get a new set of "line sheets" from our head office in New York. Line sheets are essentially catalogues of the current collection and get updated every day depending on the brand's decision to cancel or modify the production of certain items.  Anyway, so every morning we need to make multiple photocopies of these fresh line sheets and I am literally avoiding eye contact with anyone who is remotely involved in the process. If you are pulled into this task, you will essentially be stuck in the back of the office, by yourself, next to a hot photocopier.. for hours…Not ideal! The trick is, like I said before, not to make eye contact.. the reason being is that the more senior members of the team might still not know your name and hence will think twice before calling out. On the other hand, once you have made eye contact, they start with a polite "excuse me…could I ask you to".

At the end of the day, every intern wants to be on the floor, meeting buyers and learning from the sales team.. not photocopying or dressing the models in the back room.

Oh and about the back room - the back room is essentially a space that is separated from the rest of the room by a screen and that's where the models are 'based' all day as well as the interns who are responsible for dressing the models. Occasionally, the action in the showroom dies down and we all get a break, during which you essentially just plant yourself on the floor (wherever there is space) and pray that you have enough time for a proper 'long' cup of coffee. Some of the models curl up on the floor and fall asleep, others are typing furiously on their phones.. Sometimes I wonder - is it even possible to spend that much time on the phone or do they just not want to socialise??

The interns generally spend their breaks chatting to each other about themselves and all things fashion. One of the most popular topics is 'what do I want to do when I grow up'. Everyone is sharing their experiences in the fashion world and trying to figure out what they need to do to get a grown-up (i.e. paying) job. 

I was actually surprised how varied the internship group is. The ages of the interns are between 19 and 32, one of the girls has a toddler at home which makes long hours difficult, the other one is currently studying a masters degree in fashion management, whilst the youngest is doing this as part of her european baccalaureate program where you have to do an internship somewhere/anywhere before you can graduate - she is the only one of her friends who chose to do an internship in fashion. This is her first job and she tells me in secret that for the first couple of weeks she often felt like crying because she didn't understand what she was required to do.  One thing that we all have in common is that none of us are Londoners or even from the UK, I find that fascinating!

In the afternoon the pace picks up a bit. A team of three buyers from a kind-of-a-big-deal online shop come in to look at the shoes and accessories. I decide not to tell them that I am currently a recovering shopaholic and used to spend a considerable amount of time and money on their website. I cant help but stare - I love their webshop so much and hence I instantly love them too because these are the people who used to (back when I had a paying job) make me so-so happy : ) All three are perfectly tall, thin and immaculately groomed. Wearing only the latest trends and super-duper high Louboutins. They are what people think all buyers look like.

As I am shamelessly checking them out whilst they are checking out the collection, one of them says that she would really love to see what the shoes look like on and looks directly at me. For the next hour I find myself in intern heaven - trying on every  shoe in the collection and having a photo of my foot (in the shoe) taken. That's right ladies and gentleman, I am now officially a shoe-model!! 

Tomorrow is the last day of London Fashion Week and the most important question of the day is 'who is going to Milan and who is going to Paris???' The newer interns who have not yet done a season are buzzing with excitement, the old dogs are rolling their eyes and trying not to ruin the mood - they know that above all Milan and Paris are both HARD work and if you thought London was intense… well.. lets just say London was a warm-up. The trips to Milan and Paris are fully covered by the company but then again I cant imagine us having much spare time to do any sightseeing. 

I am yet to find out if I am going to either as I was the last intern to join the team. Although it is hard work I would hate to be left out as the whole sales team would be away and I'm pretty sure I would feel like I'm missing out on an awesome party and yes I do realise it's not going to be a party at all but I guess I just hate missing out!!!

By the end of the day my boss puts me out of my misery and tells me that I will be joining them in Paris. Not sure why but I feel a sense of relief..  

To be continued...xx

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Simply French...

I cant put my finger on it, I dont know what makes me think this is such a french outfit.. maybe because only a French girl can make it look so cool?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jael, Paris

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Magic Joos, Paris

Natalie Joos of Tales of Endearment

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shoes, shoes, glorious shoes!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hanneli Mustaparta, Paris

The ever gorgeous Hanneli for the 100th time gets the award for the most stylish street style blogger at work. I mean I run around in my converse shoes all day and cant feel my feet towards the end... I can only imagine how Hanneli was feeling after spending the entire day shooting in these ubercool Alex Wang heels.. aahhh things we do for fashion! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Outside Carven, Paris