When I was studying in Paris several years ago, a lucky circumstance allowed me and my friends to work backstage at Elie Saab’s fashion show at the Louvre. I was given the job of “dresser” and assigned to a model. I got a quick lesson in putting on shoes and zipping zippers, and then I was directed to a clothes rack with two gorgeous dresses and Polaroids of my model wearing them.
There was a lot of waiting around before the show started, which provided time to observe everything. The hair and makeup rooms turned out looks that were perfectly uniform and glamorously unattainable. The models waiting around backstage were constantly pestered by people trying to take their pictures or conduct interviews. And the models- I have never seen such tall people. They looked incredible in clothes, but naked, their long limbs seemed alarmingly thin.
Finally, it was time to get dressed. After battling extremely high heels, my model’s first dress was too big and wouldn’t stay up. Someone came by to fix it, and in three seconds, the dress looked perfect. You would never know that it was cinched in about two inches. Where can I find a tailor like that? After the models were dressed, they literally twirled around in the middle of the room, waving their dresses and smiling for photographers. I think it was a combination of feeling amazing, showing off, and trying to learn how the dresses moved. During the show, time was exceedingly short to change the models into their second dresses, and they began shedding clothes as soon as they arrived backstage. The dresses were dropped to the floor and stepped on!
Once the show ended, celebrities from the audience flocked backstage to be interviewed. The models gathered around the designer for more pictures. And then the clothes, shoes, and accessories were quickly packed away, and it didn’t seem like anyone got to take anything home. But I did keep my name tag.