Runway shows and presentations get designers noticed during New York Fashion Week, but for most fashion professionals, style and originality are the pillars of success. When they’re not networking at shows and dinners throughout the week, the power players behind the business are crafting taste and design techniques to manipulate the trends that change from season to season.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke to three fashion industry professionals to provide insight into the diverse specialties, services and creative fields that make fashion’s biggest week so exciting.
Carly Hill is on the Influencer team at Alison Brod Marketing + Communications and additionally runs a personal blog, CarlyAHill.com. During big weeks like these, her job is to curate influencer meetings at the office and talk to beauty, fashion and lifestyle talent about ABMC’s brands — they then go on a shopping spree in the beauty closet and fashion showroom. Hill says of her talent roster, “It’s a time [when] they can try new products from some of our clients. We also curate Glamsquad’s services (hair and makeup professionals) to influencers throughout the week, an ideal partnership to activate because every influencer wants glam for the shows and events.” The firm consistently works on other talent-based events outside of fashion week, Hill says. “It’s like this all time for our clients. We could be activating a Draper James event with Reese Witherspoon for her new book or sending the latest from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, our office is constantly working with influencers and celebrities.”
In conjunction with the week’s events, celebrity stylist Dani Michelle, who is recognized for her A-List clientele, championed a campaign with Boohoo, showcasing looks that complement everyday basics. Dani’s roster of clients includes Kourtney Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Kristin Cavallari, Erika Jayne and more. She tells THR, “I’ve been going to shows for years and am excited to put my creativity into a new capsule collection. I’m highlighting basics and neutrals with bold new prints and colors.” Dani and her team introduced the pieces during an intimate dinner in the Sky Room atop the New Museum in downtown Manhattan. She outfitted the space with sleek decor, transparent dining furniture, illuminating accessories and vignettes of the styled looks. “I always try to get my clients to the forefront of fashion and what’s next. Going to shows and seeing how these designers curate their presentations, set a mood and make their audience feel consumed in their space are unique to what I take back with me and implement into my professional career as a stylist.”
Erica Gustafson is fashion director of women’s accessories at Macy’s, and her ultimate goal during NYFW is to build inspiration for future seasons. Gustafson focuses on creativity during the shows, saying, “I look out for color, patterns, materials, et cetera. One of my passions is visual art — specifically painting and drawing. My eye is trained to look for the smallest shifts within trends that ultimately are articulated in shows and presentations during Fashion Week. It’s an amazing time for the industry to come together and get re-energized about our work.”
While Gustafson’s role is very niche within the business, fashion offices function in different ways to support the needs of their consumers. At Macy’s she partners with the merchant, design and marketing teams to deliver the best fashion to the retail giant’s customers, articulating trend messages of the season that are represented through product. Gustafson applauds certain designers for their creative direction this year, “I love the model diversity within the Christian Siriano show. The models he hires are an amazing example of where the industry should be going.”
From stage design to music, inspiration is everywhere, “Siriano sent his collection down the runway to ‘Jerome’ by Lykke Li and ‘Dougou Badia’ by Amadou & Mariam feat. Santigold, among others. There’s just something about stepping into a show — the lights dim, and the first piece of music comes on through the speakers.” She continues, “it’s one of the few occasions that the whole room is silent, and you’re submerged in the designer’s world.”