Saturday, July 4, 2009
Line up preshow with Siri Tollerod and Andreea Diaconu - All images /Steve Wood
I'm standing backstage amidst a twenty five metre line up of bouffant haired girls and slicked back boys. We're one minute from the beginning of the Michalsky show. The producer steps forward. "Alright girls, you're all very sexy! None of you have any money, but you rock it anyway!" Music stops, lights die, first model steps forward. A spotlight appears. "Chk chk chk chk The best things in life are free. Chk chk chk chk But you can keep 'em for the birds and bees I want money... that's what I want."
Jonas Kesseler with Siri Tollerod
I should have learnt my lesson in Milan. I said it then, and I'll say it again. Pride comes before a fall. And I had it in truckloads yesterday. Not today. Oh no no no. I woke up after three hours sleep feeling a little worse for wear. We arrived at the Fashion Week venue and, after following correct procedure, went backstage. Nothing much was happening, so we took a few shots then left. We didn't have a pass to the next show so I thought I'd go watch it from the front. Security denied me. Next show, same thing. All that cockiness from yesterday flew straight out the window. I'd lost my touch.
For the next two shows I sat around in the media centre feeling tired, hungry and sorry for myself. I had a new attitude: don't try, can't fail. I kept at it for the rest of the day. At about 6:00pm Michael and Steve came and grabbed me to go to the Michalsky show offsite at an old theatre. We'd been emailed earlier in the day by the company to tell us we had full access to the show but when we got there, the PR lady said that we weren't allowed backstage. Steve and I looked at each other. We'd been very good today but this situation called for one last mission.
Lenz von Johnston, Siri Tollerod and Jonas Kesseler
We walked past the check in desk in the direction of the toilets, waiting till a burly, hairy security guard turned away, and then slowly made our way up the stairs. We headed down a long corridor and into a ballet studio. Crossing it, the only exit was a fire door. I warned Steve that it might have an alarm attached. "Only one way to find out," he said with a smile and pushed it open. No alarm sounded. Another long corridor, then another, and we found ourselves outside the makeup room. The friendly girls in there informed us that the action was downstairs. We found the stairs and descended, being as slow and calm as possible so as not to raise suspicion. We arrived in a huge black floored area - turns out we were on the stage.
Bromance part 1: Lenz von Johnston and Jonas Kesseler
I sat down, plugged my laptop into a spare outlet and set to work looking like I belonged. We waited about twenty minutes then got down to business, Steve shooting, while I held reflectors or flashbulbs. First beauty, shooting extreme closeups of all the boys' and girls' faces. Then, after they were changed, we started on full lengths where we captured them in their first looks. The menswear was an odd mix of Lanvin inspired foppish tailoring with flowers pinned to jackets, and sportswear - think printed sweatshirts and distressed denim. Womenswear was all maxi dresses and prints, but the best things were the tied pants (as worn by Andreea Diaconu above).
We kept shooting while the show was on, then when the models went out for the finale we raced around the stage to the alternative exit to capture them coming off. As the first model walked off the catwalk we realised our mistake - we'd chosen the wrong side. Not wanting to miss the shot, Steve ran across the back of the catwalk pulling me behind him. It was one brief second of fame then straight back to work.
Tomorrow I will wake up grateful and chastened, and, no doubt, with a little less sense of entitlement. And I won't forget - Chk chk chk chk The best things in life are free.
Horsing around backstage
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