Robert Tonner and His ModelsI believe the last blog was a couple of days before the show. It turns out the design room finished the show samples by noon on Monday. No one was more surprised than I - we had time to do at least one more sample - and so we did. If you’ve looked at the pictures from the show, it was the pale green ribbon coat dress and it was finished the morning of the show. There is nothing like last minute sewing to add a little stress to a show! I finished the run of show (lineup) the weekend before so adding another outfit meant more than just getting the dress done - I had to insert the outfit into the show. Not as easy as it may sound; by adding an additional outfit it throws off the already finished run of show as well as my very carefully calculated shoe plan. I took a chance - without changing the entire line-up, I gave one model an additional outfit. She had only three looks between her changes, but the model I asked was more than up to the challenge but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The New Look
On Tuesday, September 8th, I headed for the city. I planned to spend the night (and hopefully sleep) and get a few last minute accessories. Strangely enough, I was able to sleep. I think at the time I felt that it would be what it would be - at that point there wasn’t much I could do about it, so I guess I just relaxed.
On Wednesday - show day - I got up early and went to the hotel gym. For me, that’s a real stress reliever and at the same time, I could plan my day. By 10:30, I was at the Metropolitan Pavilion. We were able to book the show space for the day starting at 7:00 am, so, by the time I arrived, the clothes were already there and the show set up was well under way. I was bowled over by how wonderful the runway space looked. The Pavilion is a perfect space - a pure white event space that, I hoped, wouldn’t fight the clothing.
Michael Giunta on Hair
In the back, the clothes were not yet on their appropriate racks, my staff was trying to organize and the lighting guys were trying to make sense of all the equipment. I was just in awe and at the same time, nervous. It was a mess! By noon, it was much more organized; the clothes were on their racks, the light guys were about done with their jobs and the models had started to arrive.
Adjusting the hem
Because the whole show was done on a tight budget, I felt that I wouldn’t spend the money to have the models come up to Hurley for a final fitting. I completely trusted the size and proportion of my fit model - but of course there could always be a surprise, so as soon as the models were ready the assigned outfits were tried on. Sometimes, things work out as I hope/plan and that was the case. Everything fit (we did have one pair of pants that needed to be shortened) and I was thrilled that we had no shoe surprises. With a few last minute accessory additions, we were ready. The models went on to hair and makeup and I spent the hour before the start of the show checking the music and lights. By 2:30 the first attendees began to show (in the fashion business, you can bet that the early attendees were friends and family - fashion professionals arrive much closer to start time - that was what I remember and that’s what happened).
I knew that although the show was supposed to start at 3:00, fashion shows rarely start on time so I didn’t want to have the models get into their first outfits until about ten till three. Once I gave the go ahead to start, the models got dressed and lined up. If all this sounds very organized, it wasn’t - there is a lot that goes on backstage at a show. We had the models, dressers and backstage press photographers. By three, all models were dressed and we were ready to go. Then you play the waiting game. I was on a headset talking to Jack (my VP) and Tom (marketing) who were out front. They gave me minute by minute updates on who was coming in and how many of the press were there. Harper’s Bazaar arrived, as did two editors from WWD, many online fashion press, but we held back waiting for the photographer from WWD. Much to my disappointment, by 3:17, he hadn’t shown and I knew we had to start. And so, we did!
Gilt Coral Ensemble
The show was a blur. The music started and the first girl went out. Tom was at the end of the runway and would signal me by headset when the next model was needed. As soon as I got the go-ahead, I sent out the next look. It was surreal. The models would line up and I checked them as they went out. And, before I knew it, the show was over. Seventeen minutes tops. All done. Whew!
Mist Top with Peridot Embroidered Pants
So. How does it feel? Great at the time, but I’m still processing the whole thing. I am so thankful for the help I had from the people I work with—I certainly couldn’t have done it without them. I’m very pleased with the show pictures and as far as the press, the reviews we received were great. I think I accomplished what I wanted to - I wanted to say “I’m out here” and I think that was, more or less, accomplished. Would I have liked more press? Absolutely. But I knew going in that a first show is always difficult. According to WWD there were 177 shows planned for spring as well as 122 presentations. I was one among many.
Bullion Gold Sequined Blouson Cocktail Dress
On Thursday, I left for a convention in Sydney, Australia. We’ll have a few days to relax here before traveling back next Sunday (and I sure need it). Then it’s back to New York for the Coterie - which is the most important part of this grand adventure - selling the clothes.
Polished Nickel Silk Jacquard Gown
Thanks for reading and I’ll get back to you over the next couple of days with some additional thoughts.