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Fashion Week: the behind-the-scenes scene

- October 20th, 2010

Toronto’s LG Fashion Week officially kicked off on Monday with shows by Holt Renfrew and Bustle, but this fashionista was stuck at home with a nasty bug so we’re going to jump right in on Day 2 – which I think was the real start anyway, as it was chock-a-block full of runway shows (and even attracted a non-Canadian celebrity…but more on that later).

Fashion Week is one of the rare times that my friends are actually interested in what I do – and I have to admit, before I was lucky enough to write about clothes for two weeks of the year, I wondered: what the heck is it really like?

Here’s a little breakdown of what journalists get up to:


9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

This is when I do my “day job” – editing Lifewise and Sun Media online Life content and generally managing things online. Trust me, it’s a whole other blog post that’s not as exciting as this one.

2 p.m.

Myself and Sun Media’s National Life Editor, Rebecca Zamon, head over to the Heritage Centre in Toronto’s Exhibition Place while I apply eyeliner and give my outfit a once over with the lint roller in the car.

Jules Power's sweats-heavy show. (Stan Behal/QMI Agency)

Jules Power's sweats-heavy show. (Stan Behal/QMI Agency)

2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

We snag a decent chair and chunk of a table in the media room and prep for the first show: this includes setting up PDA’s for tweeting, cameras for taking pictures and video, and reviewing notes on the designer. On Tuesday, the first show was Jules Power – which I have to say, I didn’t love. It was a little more mismatched than mix-and-match for my taste. Her tailored jackets were just too finely made to pair with American Apparel-esque tapered jogging pants.

3 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

If everything is running smoothly, the first designer will show and myself and Rebecca will document as much as we can about the collection (in as many ways as we can), before she runs backstage to interview the designer and I get started on the story.

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.

Rebecca meets me back in the media room and we weave a story together from our respective notes (and her recorded interview), then we file it for newspapers on the Sun Media chain and the amazing online staff post it with pictures.

3:30 p.m. – 9 or 10 p.m.

We go through the above about five or six more times, punctuated with plenty of coffee, $3.50 water, and granola bars.

Backstage peek

Models get beautified before hitting the runway. (Kate Kennedy/QMI Agency)

Models get beautified before hitting the runway - just like in the movies! (Kate Kennedy/QMI Agency)

After the Jessica Jensen and Alexander Berardi show, which was full of simply delightful East Coast yacht wear, I snagged Rebecca’s backstage pass and went on a hunt for quotes from the designers. On the way, I found the infamous L’Oreal Paris makeup room, complete with tiny, ethereal models sitting patiently in a row while artists made them up like dolls.

Coffee and mini chocolate bars spread out for models backstage. (Kate Kennedy/QMI Agency)

Caffeine and sugar up for grabs backstage. (Kate Kennedy/QMI Agency)

After contemplating stealing the models’ mini chocolate bars, which were piled up on a side table (did I mention the only food at Fashion Week is $7.50 sandwiches?), I went directly behind the main stage only to find the clothes they had just worn already hanging daintily on racks. That means the young ladies probably walked from the backstage area to the dressing room in nothing but undies – and it was chilly in there!

Finally, it was back through a large room with little makeshift offices made of curtains (they were actually labeled “Office 1″ and “Office 2″ etc.), to the dressing room, where models – already in hair and makeup for the Line Knitwear show (starting 15 minutes later), were eating gooey pepperoni pizza. So tempting!

The ladies fuel up before the Line Knitwear show. (Kate Kennedy/QMI Agency)

The ladies fuel up before the Line Knitwear show. (Kate Kennedy/QMI Agency)

As I walked through the black curtains that separated backstage from the top of the runway, I realized I was right behind Shane West (whom you may remember as the gorgeous “bad boy” in A Walk to Remember). What else could a dedicated journo do? I ran ahead of him as deftly as possible in heels and snapped a picture before returning to Rebecca sans designer quotes, but with an unexpected desire for a model’s diet.

Actor Shane West leaves after the Pink Tartan show. (Kate Kennedy/QMI Agency)

Actor Shane West made an appearance at Fashion Week. (Kate Kennedy/QMI Agency)

What went down on the runway:

Jules Power went military, tribal and casual.

Angela Chen took us on a beachy dreamy vacation.

LOVAS showed women who work hard and play harder.

Pink Tartan left demure and went for glamourpuss.

Handbag designer Jessica Jensen and clothing designer Alexander Berardi teamed up for the “Gossip Girl” in all of us (or at least on TV).

Line Knitwear showed gorgeous, moody frocks that probably aren’t forgiving.

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3 comments

  1. Stephanie | October 20, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Sweet story! I esp. love the pizza and Shane West run-in. I prefer to remember him from ER.

  2. Kate | October 21, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Stephanie: How could I have missed that? :)

  3. Gary | October 21, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Fashion Week in Toronto !!! What fashion. People dress so US in TO. Mtl offers real fashion.

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