St. Valentine's Day saw me backstage with Bernard Chandran preparing for his On/Off Show at London Fashion Week. This time, the venue was the Royal Academy of Arts on Burlington Street, in Mayfair. I arrived just after 10 am for the scheduled start at 11:30, whilst I understand that the stylists and models were there from 7:30 am! Ain't no sleeping-in for models despite what is written about a model's life!
I quickly got wrist-tagged at the check-in by the polite On/Off Staff and showed to the backstage where I met Bernard. (Incidentally, Bernard appears in MALAYSIANS as one of the most multi-racial of my portrait subjects)
The models already had their hair and make-up sessions, so I just photographed them relaxing and waiting for the rehearsal and show to start.
At around 11:15, the guests began to arrive (from another show in the building, that was running late, as usual) and the photographers enclosure begin to fill up also. Bernard gave the models a last minute pep-talk before lining up to exit onto the runway.
In the press enclosures, videographers and photographers from the various agencies and publications 'reserve' their standing room by marking X on the ground with tape. This is usual occurrence at events like these, they certainly do not believe in 'first come first served' basis! The in-house press always gets to choose first and gets the best spots on the stand, whilst latecomers will huddle around at the bottom or sides to get a shot. Its all very intimidating to say the least, and its also the 'guy with the biggest lens wins' scenario. Mind you, there are women photographers too, and I spotted about 5 yesterday.
Once all the guests are seated and the thumbs-up goes backstage, then the music starts and the show begins...and finishes in about 10 minutes..and then the whole she-bang starts all over in 6 months time.. well for me at least. Some of the models have to do it all over again in 2 hours time at another show!