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Day 302: Try Not to Kill the Models!


Paris Fashion Week is coming to an end this weekend, and while it's been fun seeing the collection, reconnecting with old contacts and feeling the rhythm of my former life, I'm looking forward to it being over. I'm wiped out.

So some questions have been raised as to why I am still working Paris Fashion Week when it has been over for several days now. Good question. The second component to Fashion Week after all of the collections have hit the runway is a fun-filled, stress-free week called Market. Sense the sarcasm. Market is when each designer presents their collection to retailers in their showrooms where they are invited to feel, merchandise and photograph the pieces, as well as see the runway looks live on models. The models are used to sell the line by making the size 0 samples look flattering. While all buyers know that their average customer is not 5'11" and 110 pounds (at least I hope not), it's the industry norm to showcase the looks on these shapes. I regret to inform you that you'll never see my fat ass emerging from the dressing room in hand sewn cuffed leather shorts to see what they will really look like on a real person. Sorry.

I have worked Market every season that I have been in Paris and every season, the models grind on my last nerve. I know what you may be thinking, I'm jealous because they're skinnier and are strikingly beautiful, therefore I hate them. Believe me when I say that this is not the case. If anything, their beauty inspires me to exfoliate my skin and skip on the late night pasta and crème fraîche cravings that creep in after several glasses of wine.

As you could imagine, fashion is full of personalities and everyone seems to have one where the models are certainly noexception. There are two types of models that I work with each season...

Type 1: The Primadonna. No surprise here. The primadonna thinks that you work for her. When she is done showing the look to the clients, she meets you in the dressing room and stands with her arms stacked as if she is incapable of unzipping, unbuttoning, and the worst, unbuckling her shoes where you have no choice but to do it for her. It's pretty degrading taking the shoes off of a 17-year-old girl in a desperate attempt to move the day along quicker. Type 1 also has total bitch face the entire day, rolls her eyes when you ask her to put something on (God forbid that you need to see something twice, because the client requested it), she bitches about you in her native tongue with their model friend for the day (the French models can't get away with this one anymore) and are just plain miserable to work with where you feel uncomfortable asking them to, I don't know...do their job? These girls make about $1,700...for the week.

Type 2: The Know-It-All. Believe it or not, this type is actually more annoying than Type 1. These are girls who are sharp, follow direction and are well-traveled where they have the life experience of a 30-year-old at their young age. They are fun to chat with during down time and I'm sure they make good friends but they annoying as all hell to work with. So what exactly is the problem with this type? I'll tell you. The problem is that because they are smarter than your average model (which they know), and have spent a better part of their life in showrooms that they think that they know your job better than you. They are desperate to be viewed as more than just a pretty face and to be identified as a person with substance, which I can understand, but, their need to get noticed gets in the way of sale appointments. 

For example, if you ask Type 2 to put on the black dress with the blue cardigan, not only does she not do it and holds up the meeting, but in front of the client she tells you that she doesn't think it's a good choice and that the green that was just sold to Store X would be a better option. If she really did know everything, she'd know that Store X is the current client's competitor and it's probably not a good idea to share information about the other client's buys in front of them. Do you know how annoying this is when you are trying to keep to your schedule?

These models also have an annoying habit of segueing details of their personal life into appointments, which once again, holds up everything up. I had one model who at first glance appeared to be your typical blonde model from the States because of her strong Caucasian features. During a coffee break, she had told me that her father was black. While I found it interesting that she only inherited her Swedish mother's looks and sincerely wanted to know more about her background (during off hours), I didn't find it necessary to mention this to each client. Meetings were held up as she dominated my presentation with details of her family tree. It was actually pretty impressive how she worked in her aborigine roots into every appointment. I never said anything to her because how do you tell someone that they can't talk about their black dad? Or rather their family in general? Everyone's family is important, trust me, I get it. But at this moment, it's inappropriate and not to mention, irritating when you're trying to sell a 2,000 dollar sweatshirt.  

In smaller showrooms, Type 2 is the norm and in bigger fashion houses, it's all about Type 1, but today, I had the rare occasion of having both and wanted to the day to just end already. I was told to shut up, I had another model telling me how to merchandise the looks and was disagreeing with the designer's lookbook that we all had to follow, and another threw a tantrum at me because she thought that the shoes were made in a Russian sweatshop. I'm not a showroom assistant, I'm an au pair running after these little girls, telling them not to talk during the meetings, buckling their shoes and reassuring them that their family is not making the collection under corrupt working conditions in Russia. It's exhausting and it's like this every season. Same shit, different showroom.

The excitement of working in fashion in Paris has worn off, as it always does after a week and while I did enjoy myself at one of Paris' oldest fashion houses and worked with the inspiring women from the New York office, I am once again reminded why I left this life. It's fun a few weeks out of the year but full-time? I just don't have it in me anymore. I'm too old to babysit these little pains in the ass.

Only three more days to go...

8 comments:

  1. The older I get, the less patience I have with divas and drama queens...

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    1. The annoying thing is that we have to be somewhat nice to them otherwise they won't work or if they do, they work at a turtle's pace. It's pretty ridiculous because they know what they're getting into before they arrive.

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  2. Little brats.....hee hee.....ah the glamour of it all

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    1. So glamourous.....all the fun and glamour will be over soon..

      I hope I wasn't this annoying at 18, but I'm sure I was.

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  3. I've missed so many posts, because bloglovin' isn't updating your page! Thank goodness for lazy Sundays and a fashion week playlist to catch up on all le drame. Best of luck surviving the last three days.

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    1. So that's what's been going on! I was wondering where everyone was!

      I sent Bloglovin and Blogspot an email to see why my new posts are populating in the reader...hopefully I can resolve this.

      Thanks for the encouragement! I'm definitely wilting right now...looking forward to the end! Enjoy Italy! I'm loving your posts. : )

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    2. You weren't showing up on my blog either, I thought you'd gone off the grid! Nice catching up and getting a glimpse behind the scenes at Fashion Week, are you done now? Hope you survived!

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