An insider’s view of Fashion Week in New York City

By Richard Nguyen

Marc Jacobs Intl Official Facebook Page
Marc Jacobs Intl Official Facebook Page

From fetching Americanos to witnessing the chaos ensuing backstage, my internship for Marc Jacobs simultaneously concluded with his spring/summer 2016 collection on the stage of the Ziegfeld Theater during New York Fashion Week.

Although the collection is only shown for a mere 15 minutes, countless hours and hard work are put into making sure everything runs smoothly. For my part in that process, I spent the bulk of my time at the Marc Jacobs Headquarters in SoHo, part of lower Manhattan. It was there where I met and watched many people from the industry come together to put on this massive production.

One of those people was Katie Grand, who, as with all of Jacobs’ runway shows and campaigns, was the stylist for the spring/summer 2016 collection. Grand and Jacobs have collaborated for over 10 years, and it shows when watching them work together. I observed how Jacobs creates his collection, from picking the trims to modifying the jackets to his liking.

Anita Bitton was the casting director for the show and has worked with Jacobs before. She casted for designers such as Alexander Wang, Balenciaga, and Giles. Narrowing down hundreds of models to the mere 62 that appeared in the show is no easy feat and leaves room for unpredictability. The role of the casting director is to have the eyes of the client in mind to choose the right girls to present to them. Some girls are not available for the show, or they get canceled minutes before hitting the runway. There is never a guarantee in fashion.

The girls that did walk the show however, stomped down runway and gave it their all. Supermodels such as Adriana Lima, Joan Smalls and Kendall Jenner were among the cast of 62, and were no strangers to walking for Jacobs. Newcomers to the show included Veronika Vilim, Emily Ratajkowski and Kiki Willems.

Getting to the Ziegfeld Theatre in and of itself was complete chaos in unforgiving metropolitan rush hour. There was no way that any car could take us to the show on time, so 10 of us ran to the Broadway-Lafayette subway station with hair accessories and jewelry in hand, hopped onto the B train heading uptown, and hoped that we could get to the venue on time.

As we went backstage, it was glamorous and chaotic. Models were getting undressed, eye shadow was still being blended, and the clothes hadn’t arrived to the theater just yet. Panic erupted trying to find out where in the city the 18-wheeler truck that contained all the clothes was. After a moment, the clothes finally arrived and thus began the scramble to put the models into their looks.

The girls then lined up in the order they were to appear on the runway, with both Jacobs and Grand making sure every accessory was in place, and every pin was on. The lights of the theater dimmed down, and the first girl was out. Her route was to walk on the red carpet, pose for photographers, walk through the theatre lobby, up the escalators, and into the main theatre where she would walk in front of editors, bloggers, and celebrities.

I received this internship opportunity through the fashion public relations agency, KCD, who produce many fashion events in New York, London and Paris. With clients such as Alexander Wang, Givenchy, Victoria’s Secret and of course Marc Jacobs, KCD is well-known in the fashion industry for its high-grade fashion events.

Working as a collection intern was both exhausting and wonderful. Standing up all day and night was a skill that was to be learned on the job. I got to experience a collection firsthand, which not many people can say. Organizing the show looks and creating the looks board was a great experience to see how well a team can work under pressure. We all felt each other’s pain and we all connected in some way. Despite all the long hours and stress, if I was given the option to do this again, I would say yes in a heartbeat.

Richard Nguyen can be reached at [email protected]