Friday, 15 February 2008

Backstage with Bernard Chandran

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!


Zawi said...

Being able to photograph backstage seems to be more privileged compared to that on the catwalk. With you being buddy buddy with Bernard is definitely an added advantage.
Funny looking hairdos they have there.

svllee said...

Hi Zawi, thanks for visiting! I would sure be as you put it 'buddy, buddy' with anyone if I can get backstage on any event! Yes, the hairdo was indeed extraordinary, as they usually are with Bernard's styling.

Alvin Lim said...

whoa, u managed to get to the backstage? cool! must be a very good experience. the models look very professional n pretty. not like the fashion show i normally see in malaysia. haha.

i luv the pics, esp the 1 model in black n white.

svllee said...

Hi ALvin, thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, I like photographing backstage as its more relaxed and casual than on the runway.

Have you been drawing long?

Alvin Lim said...

i used to rent dragonball video, paused it and draw. that was 19 years ago? i did participate in some drawing competitions during primary school but i stopped completely after that.

so, can consider quite new in drawing i guess.