A couple of weeks ago I worked as a make-up assistant on the Burberry fashion show for London Fashion Week. I was so nervous about the event that I woke up at 6:00 am and did some yoga to calm me down. I made sure I had ample time to get there and made sure I looked the part for the job. I was 30 minutes early to the venue and it's a good thing because I was not on the list. A few phone calls later and I was walking into the backstage area where Christopher Bailey sat chatting with the head make-up artist. Was I intimidated? Um yeah, but hopefully I hid it well while my internal organs were doing the conga in my torso.
After a brief introduction, the head make-up artist pointed me to my station and I started setting up my area. Trying to act nonchalant, I think I reorganized my foundations like ten times in an attempt to hide how awkward I was feeling as I looked around the room of strangers. A few minutes later, the first assistant walked up to me and ever so kindly asked me to remove my eye make-up. In a lovely French accent she said, "Do you mind taking off your eye shadow? I am sorry, but I have been asked to ask you to remove it and you know Burberry is beige and the models will be wearing hardly any make up. So your light aqua shadow.... well... I hope that's ok. Thank you." In the moment of sheer shock I replied by nodding my head like a bobble head doll and saying "Yes, yes, of course yes. I'm sorry." As I sat wiping away my carefully applied aqua shadow I started yelling at myself in my head. "How did you not know that Burberry was beige? It's so obvious! Well that's it. You'll never work fashion week again. You've blown it." I managed to calm myself down, decided to not let it bother me and began my plan for making up for my mistake.
With naked eyelids and lips, I stood busying myself at my station as the other assistants started arriving. The ones that planted themselves near me were from Bobbi Brown and thank goodness they were really lovely. We chatted while waiting for the models to arrive. Slowly as the day went on, what started out as a good size room with two rows of what looked like plenty of table and mirror space began to fill with fabulous looking people from the fashion industry. Cameras began flashing from all directions one right after another like a light show at a concert.
Burberry was doing a live feed of the prep for the show from backstage which Carla got to watch (but don't tell her boss) from her desk in Nashville. All the backstage footage was shot in 3D for the events taking place in major cities around the world. Another faux pas of mine that day was the size of my hair. The director and camera man had to keep asking me to move out of the shot, and believe me I was trying to stay out of the way, but it was not always easy to figure out where they were shooting. 3D cameras are really weird looking. Apparently my hair, that I have been seriously growing out for the last year and half and had styled in a lovely messy wave, was too big in 3D. It totally over powered the shot even if I was in the background. Ha ha Seriously not a good beauty day for me. The size of my hair became a running joke between me and the camera man and added some lightness to the intense day.
Thirteen of the models were coming from other shows and arrived about 40 minutes before the show started. We were all aware that it was going to be madness when they arrived and had foundation and brushes in hand ready to pounce as soon as the girls walked through the doors. I worked on a beautiful Aussie girl stuck in the middle of mayhem being bumped from behind by a hair person and nudged in the side by the many people trying to squeeze into a 3 foot path. My girl was done in about 20 minutes. I got the thumbs up from the first assistant and then stepped back into an open space to observe and jump in where I was needed while staying out of the way. It was just as crazy as I thought it would be, but I loved the experience. Next time though, I will be sure and come bare faced with slicked back hair.
This is the model I did.