The pressure is on, you’ve seen the show, the post runway chaos erupts, around you people are shoving each other to leave, others are trying to catch each other for a chat or pictures, and in the middle of it you’re looking for the face in the crowd you need, suddenly you get that familiar tug on the arm, “follow me” and you wade through the sea of people following a PR.
In seconds you have left the main space and are catapulted into a different chaos, usually one of emotion and elation, there is more jostling, noise, bedlam is all around you as models change out of the looks, the backstage teams are trying to gather clothes or clear away the hair and makeup kits.
you’re in a pod of slightly baffled and excited people being dragged towards the circle of well-wishers and others that form a scrum round any designer post-show. The PR is now at the clearing the house stage, literally at times dragging the designer away for the interviews. They will decide the pecking order, once again the class system so recently enforced in the runway seating allocations comes into play, there is no simple line up and wait, you’re called in an order of importance so the most powerful get the time they need and the rest are in the race against time before a security guard starts a forlorn hope of trying to move us old hands on before we get our turn.
You’re cocking an ear, if you don’t get a chance before time or the designers desire to answer people runs out at least you have something to add to the story.
Then suddenly it’s your turn, it’s time to ask what you want. Always start with a compliment, it might be cool to be distant but it creates a barrier, you have maybe three minutes at best to go deep into the psyche of the person in front of you, you need any barriers to dissolve.
Now at this point, you could go down the tried and tested, “what was the inspiration” route, or if you’re me you’ll have been trying to compose some thoughts in the middle of white water rafting that got you back here, I always want to look deeper than the show notes. This is where the time before fashion week pays off, the research, the reading, the looking, the getting to know the designer pays off, you can jump the lower-level stuff and go for an angle, but one that keeps them out of their safe space of describing clothes directly.
Look for the loose thread and pull pull pull until you get something.
Then before you’ll know it your two or three minutes will be up and the PR will be increasingly getting vocal about moving you on. Always know the two points, never quit at the first push, but know when you’ve worked your ticket enough that any longer will get you on their naughty list.
Then it’s off out into the daylight, creating drafts of the structure of the piece in your head, or deleting it if it’s been a dull discussion and on to the next show, the treadmill continues and there are more words to harvest.