The Diary of a Fashion Publicist During NYFW

The politics of seating arrangements, a crash course in crashers and the perks of wearing a headset.

09.21.15

Play catch up: see what Leandra wore during NYFW, what it’s like to have your dad drive you to fashion shows and anything you may have missed from London.

A common misconception about NYFW is that it’s all fun. Or glamour. And yes, it certainly has its moments. But when it’s 6 a.m. and you’re on a plane ride back from your best friend’s wedding the Sunday of Labor Day weekend because there’s so much work to be done…you’ve had more fun. And there’s certainly been more glamour.

What was that tag line on that bad MTV show, Diary? “You think you know, but you have no idea.” (It was, I just googled it.) So hi. It’s Gabby, I’m a publicist at PR Consulting, and this is my NYFW Diary.

DAY 1: September 10th. And we’re off.

During NYFW, each publicist at PRC has his or her own event to oversee from list creation to seating, but we all play a role and help out on every client’s show. It’s the most.

After being held up at the IRO store for a celebrity fitting (it’s okay, I’ve been stalking this actress for a while) I rushed to Creatures of Comfort, reported backstage and got my headset.

I’d choose a headset over a crown just about any day. A headset has way more power.

We had a few fire drills but as always, the team band-of-brothered together so that the guests could focus on the clothes. The collection was beautiful, the guests left happy, I charged my phone to almost 60% and then ran off to the following show: Adam Selman.

Adam is one of the most exciting designers in NY right now, creating clothes for the consummate bad girl. He’s also one of the nicer humans walking around the earth today.

I was stationed backstage with Adam, facilitating interviews and batting photographers away. I hate being staffed on photo. Most photographers who show up are crashing; each one has an elaborate story about why they should be let in and it almost always relates back to that they’re shooting for Mario Testino.

Once it was lights down, music up and girls out, I rushed to the front to try and see the show. I’m always the last and shortest person in standing so I spend a lot of time watching collections from the phone of whoever’s in front of me.

DAY 2: September 11th. Seating Politics.

Today I had to make twenty seats appear from nowhere. Still, seating is one of my favorite parts of the show. You have to approach it like you’re throwing a dinner party, taking into consideration who gets along well, who would make a fun photo and who might see best over some large floral arrangement.

I think people assume the process is a lot cattier than it actually is, but for the most part, we like to keep everyone seated equal according to title and with his or her team. I mean, after all, it really is all about getting a great view of the clothes. Right?

Today was also an important reminder that there is more going on in New York and the world than NYFW. It was nice that so many designers took a moment during their shows to remember that as well.

DAY 3: September 12th. What day is it? Sunday?

It’s Saturday, and I had the rare honor of actually going to a show! Two of my oldest friends at my first job, Oscar de la Renta, debuted their new line. The show was amazing. Monse. Google it. You won’t forget it.

After seeing how the other half live, I rushed to Altuzarra where I worked front of house. “Hamish? Glenda? Hi. This way.”

The Altuzarra show ran as beautifully as the collection photographed. Once it ended, I went back to the office — Europe is looming. I toyed with the idea of going out but instead plugged away until midnight and watched my friends enjoy our youth on Snapchat.

DAY 4: September 13th. A Crash Course in Crashers.

Front of house at Hood By Air’s morning show was full of them.

The crashing element tests a whole new skill set. The good crasher will graciously admit that they don’t have a ticket but they wanted to see if they could get in. The bad crasher will spend a great deal of time searching through his or her phone for an email that doesn’t exit. The worst crasher, however, will try to tell you that they are someone else. No sir, you are not Tonne Goodman. But I get it: Shayne Oliver is pushing the limit on what fashion is and it’s actually, always, the best show.

…Which I technically also crashed. I wasn’t officially staffed today.

After, it was back to the office where I finalized last minute show specifics for Sunday. Ended up bringing work home with me. Around 12:55 a.m. I swore I saw a mouse and screamed. My roommate, who has never seen a mouse in our apartment, insists my sightings are stress related and believes I see apartment mice the way Billy Madison sees penguins.

Day 5: September 15th — Game Day.

The Zero + Maria Cornejo show had arrived. Everything was place and I felt prepared. Then I got to the venue and instantly, about five things changed. But the Zero team is incredible and made everything easy to figure out. The show itself went off without a hitch and I was reminded that though NYFW is incredibly stressful, it’s a reminder why we work as hard as we do: we believe in our clients and will do everything we can to see them succeed.

Day 6: September 16th. The New York Finish Line.

I woke up feeling wrung out and over it but Sophie Theallet broke my jaded attitude the moment I arrived pre-show. The vibes were great, the clothes were impeccable and what’s more, Sophie’s face during her bow was a happy reminder that when we do our jobs well, the designer’s vision shines.

After, it was straight to Narciso Rodriguez, which is always the best way to end the week. Michelle No, who heads the show, is essentially my work-Buddha. I learn the most from her about how to run a show. Tonight’s was exceptionally star studded with Jessica Alba, Kate Upton and Amy Schumer in attendance. My goal for the night was to ask Amy Schumer if I’m funny. Some confirmation would be great.

Didn’t see the show but heard it was flawless. Michelle is a pro, and everyone loves Narciso.

(Didn’t ask Amy my question, by the way. Headset mode.)

Later that night the whole crew met at the Narciso after-party for a toast. New York is done, but the month is just beginning. With glasses raised we reflected on the week feeling tired, but wiser, and lucky to have such a supportive team. And, since none of us have pulled the other’s eyelashes out, we’re off to Europe, together.

Follow Gabby Katz on Instagram. Follow PR Consulting on Instagram and Twitter, too.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis. Runway Photographs via Vogue.com.

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Get more Fashion ?
  • Amelia Diamond

    GABBY KATZ WITH THE W

  • So interesting to hear an(other) insider’s POV!

  • Allie Fasanella

    BALLLER BE BALLIN

  • I’m a photographer and retoucher based in NYC. The perception of photographers and how they treat each other is one of the reasons I stopped prioritizing fashion week, at least for now. (Mainly because I’ve got a full time job at 1stdibs.) I show up early to take my spot if I have a pass, I don’t go where I don’t have passes, and I respect people’s space.

    One time I shot the runway at Brooklyn Fashion Week – the photographer behind me came very late and she enlisted a camera-less friend to literally lean against me as a weird way to push me out of the way. I’m a quiet, calm person, but I had to yell “excuse me” until other photographers started noticing and speaking up. It also speaks to how “well” Brooklyn Fashion Week is organized….

    http://www.onsecondavenue.com

    • Amelia Diamond

      The photog scene — in the pit — just seems INSANE!! how do you do it!

      • I’m driven by the thrill of a great photograph! I think every female photographer has an example of sexism up her sleeve…

        I took a break for a couple of seasons to focus on retouching, but I’m working on getting back into it!

        -Adrianna

  • Eric D.

    Gabby, you’re amazing! Great article! Really puts us right there behind the scenes! And you’re as funny in print as you are in person! And wow – what a pro! Your clients are lucky to have you on their team! Did I mention your movie star looks?! Beautiful, kid!

    • Amelia Diamond

      you guys this is my dad who doesn’t even comment on my articles!!!

      • Eric D.

        Awwww….you know I love your stuff! And YOU! xoxoxoxoxo

        • hi_itsgabby

          you two are my very best friends. LOVE YOU E!!!!!!!

      • But he drives you to fashion week! So adorable!

  • The house is really beatiful love your outfits!

    http:czapki.pl

    • hi_itsgabby

      Oh thanks!!! It’s a lot of black.

  • It was great to hear a different perspective of NYFW. I felt exhausted for you!

    • hi_itsgabby

      Thank you! And we’re still going…. x gk

  • Quinn Halman

    I have been recently saying to whomever will listen (shoutout to you, mom) that the qualification for being an “it girl” is changing. In today’s world, an “it girl” is now a woman who owns her power and sense of self in a way women in the past have not. Amy Schumer, for instance, is really helping re-define the standards, and now, Gabby Katz entered the league immediately, by summarizing said standards, with the line “I’d choose a headset over a crown just about any day”

    • Amelia Diamond

      Gabby Katz @hi_itsgabby do you have a bigger headset in case your head gets too big from this comment?

  • o0o0oh I loved this! Fascinating to read all the behind the scenes action. The next Disney princess should wear a headset instead of a crown, I’m writing to the ghost of Walt. What did you do to your hand?!?!

  • The label taping picture looks like Mendeleev chart, can understand why she “Can’t lose any of those labels” – called chemistry!!!
    abdsign.blogspot.com

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahah. chemistry is terrifying to me but seating is even scarier.

      • If only those seats could speak, wouldn’t that be scary as well?!!

  • I don’t know how you guys do it but you have articles about things I didn’t even know I wanted to know!

    http://www.fashionandfrappes.com

  • Nicole Pinhas

    “I’d choose a headset over a crown just about any day. A headset has way more power.” this really just made my day. gonna force myself to remember this when I’m stressed and the grass seems greener