Milan Fashion Week | Five Days Leading Up to a Show: Day 4
words by JULIA VON BOEHM • edited by DIANDRA BARSALOU MITCHELL • fashion week
A look into the 5 days leading up to a Milan Fashion Week Show with Ermanno Scervino. Day four the show is fast approaching and it's time to cast and fit our runway models.
The day before the show always runs well into the early hours of the morning and becomes a blur of casting, fittings, and metaphorically sprinting as gracefully as possible to the finish line, which really is the moment the lights come on in the house and the first model steps onto the catwalk. We begin casting for the runway in the morning, and this continues well past midnight.
As models come and go throughout the day, we begin to select the girls that fit the show, keeping track on our master board. As we make decisions on the models, the show evolves throughout the day, with looks being matched to faces, and in turn adjusted as different personalities are brought into the mix. The balancing act continues once we begin fitting the models we have selected and they try on their looks. Now we see exactly how the clothing moves and wears on each model, where things need to be altered, and how she breathes life into the garments, completing the character of her outfit. I am very precise about finding the right girl for the right look, which can be difficult as there are so many qualities that go into casting someone— sometimes it's written in their face the moment they walk in, and sometimes it’s in their personality or a small mannerism that they naturally possess but lends the finishing touch. I am so grateful to our wonderful casting director, Caterina Matteucci of CM Casting who is always an integral part of this process.
This process continues well into the early morning and at the end of the night (3am) we often still do not have all the girls confirmed in order to fit and finalize alterations. Fittings take a long time because we keep our garment options open until the very last moment, constantly perfecting and preparing the “final” details. For example, which buttons are officially sewn onto which garments, making sure there are no stray threads, if we need to change the lining of this jacket to that blazer in order to transition the chapter during the show because we had to adjust something else based on the model… it can become very overwhelming at this point after sleeping less and less each night, so I try and make sure that the entire team takes a 15 minute break to just have space away from the madness and the frenetic rush. Personally, I find this helps me open up and refresh my mind so that I can return refocused to the multitude of tasks at hand. Part of my job as a consultant is to assess how improvements can be made and give my advice on how to pivot an idea. Once my coworkers on Ermanno's team understand that we are working together and become comfortable weighing in when necessary, there is a great camaraderie in working as a unified team. I truly believe that we can learn from everyone we work with regardless of hierarchy, and I am passionate about sharing my skills and helping shape the next generation of fashion professionals with respect and guidance. Very often people are afraid to speak up with their opinions, and it is always good to inspire others and be human with your team so that they know their work and their opinions are also respected.
Signing off for a few hours of sleep… JVB xx