As anyone who’s been there can tell you, getting ready for a show isn’t easy.
No matter whether it’s a play in a small community theatre or a concert in a sold-out arena, the moments before the curtain rises are fraught with mania and nervous energy.
The mood was much the same backstage before the presentation of Chris Gelinas’ Spring/Summer 2016 collection on Friday. Models were being shuffled between hair, makeup, and nails — the finishing touches that help bring cutting-edge fashion to life.
The rush to the finish line, while undeniably stressful even to the passive viewer, had an irrefutable thrill to it, a sort of intoxicating buzz that can only come from the pumping adrenaline as one prepares to present that strange magic of creative invention to the world for the first time.
As the models finished hair and make-up, they were moved to the “wings” of the presentation space: a small and narrow room behind the garden lounge of The Park, a restaurant and cocktail lounge in NYC.
There, the models stood in line as the final pieces were put into place — hats, scarves, the last bit of make-up or hairspray. The deluge of stage managers, hairdressers, clothing assistants, and media made for a mad crisscrossing of objectives and targets as show time drew nearer and nearer.
Before the show started, I had the opportunity to talk to the woman in charge of nails for the show: Danielle Candido of Morgan Taylor Nail Lacquer.
What’s involved in the run-up to a fashion show?
Danielle Candido: Having a team assembled that is proficient, efficient, and happy. And making sure that you’re in tune with what the designer’s looking for. So you want to know what your designer is about, so that when you go into your beauty tests, you have an idea of what direction you can go in as far as colors and schemes and ideas as far as polish.
What are some of the challenges of managing a team and making sure everyone’s on the same page?
Candido: Quality control and making sure everyone’s doing the same application. That’s always a big issue. And in this environment it’s extremely difficult to get good nail application. You’re fighting against bad lighting and hair dryers and make-up and hairspray, so it’s definitely a challenge in that way. That’s one of our biggest challenges, actually — working in the space that we’re in.
So, are the challenges different depending on the space you have to work in?
Candido: Absolutely. Some spaces are wide open, and there’s great lighting. There are spaces that are much more challenging. The lighting is very bad, it’s very cramped, and there’s a lot of people in a small space. That just makes it difficult. We have to disappear, because we don’t have a station to work from. So we’re mobile. We go from model to model to model. So sometimes we’re under tables and on the floor doing feet.
What do you think is the biggest challenge of getting ready for a big show?
Candido: Keeping the creative juice flowing, so that each designer that you make a presentation you give a presentation to is getting something unique.
The hard work of Candido and her team certainly paid off, with the nails complimenting Gelinas’s designs without overpowering them.
The Mac Cosmetics team did the models’ make up. Check out the look here from the brand’s tumblr.
Finally, it was show time. The models were ushered to their positions, and I took my seat in the quaint indoor garden area of The Park.
From first to last, Gelinas’s vision was stunning. The color scheme was what immediately stood out to me — there was a mix of darker navys and greens, accented by whites or reds (and the other way around).
In fact, this juxtaposition was a major motif of the collection. Straight lines complimented nebulous flows; sheer contradicted pattern. It was all very tastefully done, with an uncomplicated elegance.
“Controlled vulnerability” was Gelinas’ major theme, which was never more evident than in what was perhaps the most striking aspect of the whole collection: just how light and airy everything seemed.
The collection is titled For Me It Was Magic. Appropriate, as the smart combination of all the aforementioned elements creating a Spring/Summer collection that was truly mesmerizing.