New York City Fashion Week

September can be considered the “New Year” of fashion. Around that time of year, women trade in their flip-flops for pumps as they flock to Lincoln Center in New York City to watch models strut their stuff down the runway wearing designers’ newest lines. Style bloggers are parked round-the-clock taking pictures of fashionable women and celebrities that are regularly seen hailing a cab all over Manhattan.

Kimberly Ovitz Runway Show at Pier 57

In past seasons, I have kept up with shows via Twitter and the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Youtube channel, but this year, I was lucky enough to actually be in New York during fashion week. It was definitely eye opening and a completely different experience to be in the center of all of the madness. I went back to Marie Claire magazine, my summer internship, to help out. As a thank-you, returning interns were given tickets to shows. I was lucky enough to get a ticket to Kimberly Ovitz’s runway show at Pier 57 as well as a ticket to W118 by Walter Baker’s presentation in Lincoln Center.

W118 by Walter Baker Presentation at Lincoln Center

It was surreal that I was actually attending a show instead of just watching it online. Of course, I tried to get as dressed up as possible to attend the shows but there is no comparison to women who have access to designers such as Zac Posen, Givenchy, Prada and Rag & Bone. From the moment I was within a block of the venue, street style photographers were stopping women, asking them if they can take their picture. Once inside, it was a who’s who of the fashion world. I saw everyone from Linda Fargo, reigning queen bee of Bergdorf Goodman, to the “who wore it better” host for E! News, Robbie Laughlin.

Models up-close at the Walter Baker Presentation

The show and presentation were both absolutely spectacular. The women strutted down the Kimberly Ovitz runway wearing a multitude of flesh tone peasant-style frocks. W118 by Walter Baker, however, was a completely different story. The models were standing in a “V” formation with pin-straight hair, bedazzled headphones and colorful clothing. Instead of being full outfits, Walter Baker’s spring 2013 line is very piece-driven, giving his customers the option to mix and match different pieces to create their own looks rather than going by looks he already pre-determined. People were crammed on top of each other, all trying to take pictures of each of the models.

The day after the shows, I went onto style.com, the go-to for all fashion magazines, and saw the runway pictures of both shows. It was an incredible feeling to know that I was there when those models were wearing those looks instead of just seeing everything on the Internet. Although the week involved long hours at the office helping the fashion assistant prepare packets for the editors’ shows, it was very rewarding to be able to attend both a runway show and presentation and see everything firsthand.

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Breaking the Stereotype

The fashion industry is often glamorized by movies like “The Devil Wears Prada” and shows like “The Hills.” Often times, college students go into fashion internships believing that they are going to be jet setting to Paris for couture balls and borrowing designer clothing from the fashion closet, but they soon come to the realization that they are sadly mistaken. While wearing heels is completely up to you, I am here to tell you that you are better off trading in your pumps for flats because it will make running around New York City, carrying heavy garment bags, a lot easier.

As a Marie Claire summer fashion intern alum, I know firsthand what it truly takes to intern for a top fashion magazine. I admit, “The Devil Wears Prada” is one of my favorite movies, but I definitely left any glamorous thoughts behind when I started at Marie Claire.

Home of Marie Claire Magazine

I’ll never forget the first day I walked in to the beautiful glass Hearst Tower. The most glamorous and fashion forward women I have ever seen in my life were constantly walking through the revolving doors. I sheepishly tugged at my lace and flower top and tightly secured my brown leather wedges before walking up to the security desk to ask for my guest pass. Once up the escalators, I walked up to the elevator booth, punched in 34, the floor Marie Claire is on, and walked over to my designated elevator. The elevator went up so fast my ears popped, but I got out onto the 34th floor and saw the cutest little waiting area behind a glass set of doors.

Once inside, I was introduced to some of the people I would be working with and I was given a tour of the office. I was shown the most basic duty any closet intern will know, checking samples in and out. For the rest of the day, and most of the next two weeks, I checked samples in and out of the closet. Although monotonous and boring I kept going until more interns started and it was their turn to spend their entire time tracking samples.

Valentino Showroom

Another duty I quickly became familiar with was going on runs. I went everywhere from Brooks Brothers, to Valentino, to Alexander Wang to Carolina Herrera. Although carrying heavy garment bags wasn’t one of my favorite duties, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting all of the different show rooms and seeing some of the most beautiful clothes I have ever seen in my life. On my very first run, I went to the Carolina Herrera and Valentino showrooms, which were both amazing and beautiful. Both showrooms reflected the designers’ aesthetic to a t. Carina Herrera’s showroom had the rustic, wooden feel you would encounter at a Spanish villa while Valentino’s showroom was much more upscale and sophisticated, common for the Italian master designer. Unfortunately, I did not meet either designer but after talking to a couple of the other interns, it’s not uncommon to meet them. One of my fellow interns met the Olsen twins when he went to The Row’s showroom, one of the Olsen twins’ lines.

Once I had “paid my dues”, I was given more responsibility. I learned how to insure all of the fine jewelry and pricier items that we would send on shoots. I also became in charge of sending things down to our in-house studio to be shot for still life. I was also given several perks. The first was to go on a market appointment for one of our editors to Eres, an upscale British lingerie line.

The appointment took place at the Crosby hotel in Soho. The suite had it’s own private garden that reflected that season’s British garden theme. There were also two fit models walking around wearing different lingerie pieces. Since the appointments started in the morning, there was a delicious breakfast spread set up for all of the editors. I walked in with one of the editors from Glamour magazine. We met the designer as well as the head of public relations, both very friendly and warm people. After taking pictures of every single piece, munching on a chocolate filled croissant and sipping on some coffee, I went back to the Marie Claire offices with a goodie bag ready for the editor I went on the appointment for.

I was also sent on two different photo shoots. The first was an on-set shoot that will appear in the December issue of the magazine. On-set shoots are a little bit trickier since we are working from a motor home.  The real challenge is trying to unpack out all of the clothes, accessories and jewelry neatly and in a way that the stylist can see everything she has to work with. The second shoot was in a studio and it was for a shoot that will appear in the January issue of the magazine. I was very fortunate to go on this particular shoot because the woman that styled it is Marie Claire’s fashion editor-at-large, Alison Edmond, who rarely ever goes out to New York from her Los Angeles home. She is the one that styles most of Marie Claire’s cover shoots since most of the celebrities that we feature on the cover live out in Los Angeles or in that general area. It was great being able to see her creative thought process at work. I had more hands-on responsibility at this shoot than at the last one. Not only did I pack and unpack everything, that it common for interns to do, but I also helped to change the model and I was even asked my input.

New York Live Set at Rockefeller Center

Paul Walker and I backstage

Finally, I was also lucky enough to be chosen to help out on two different TV segments. The first was for New York Live and it featured Marie Claire columnist Nicolette Mason, who writes “Big Girl in a Skinny World.” The segment was about breaking plus-size fashion myths. It featured four models, which I helped to select from a pool of applicants. I was also involved in pulling clothes from the stores, and returning them. One the day of the taping, myself, along with another intern, brought all the clothes to the Rockefeller Center studios, unpacked them, helped get the models ready and stood backstage as the taping was going on. The highlight of my day was meeting Paul Walker, who was also on set to promote a new fragrance he is coming out with as well as the newest installment of his Fast & Furious movies!

The second TV segment was for QVC. Nicolette, along with the host of the show, was trend-spotting the ladylike trend in Brooklyn. Myself, along with another intern, were asked to wear that trend in case we were asked to be on the show, which we were! We mainly stood around running whatever errands they needed but we were lucky enough to be featured in the segment, which has already aired!

Although the beginning of the internship was not very eventful, the internship quickly became interesting and I was entrusted with more responsibility. My best piece of advice is to really put yourself out there and make sure your boss knows you would like to get as involved as much as possible. Although it may not be great in the beginning, if you stick with it, it will get better and you are going to end up loving your internship.