I sneaked backstage at a fashion show!

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Ever felt the urge to break into the backstage of a fashion show and see what on earth goes on behind that runway? Well, worry no more-I’ve done it for you. And I didn’t get caught.

Behind the scenes; behind the spotlight

As some of you already know, for the past few months, I’ve been working for Korea Style Week, which is the more accessible, B2B(buyer-to-buyer) version of Seoul Fashion Week. This season’s Style Week took place in COEX(in Gangnam, Seoul) a few days ago, and I was invited(obviously, I worked for them). I’ve been to Korea Style Week a few times before, once two years ago having to sneak out during class to see the Korean designer Ko Tae yong (see post by young Konni about it here). I’ve evolved a lot since then, since I no longer have to sneak around to go to fashion events lest people should mock (everyone close to me now is very supportive of my fashion career). BUT on Sunday, I had the chance to feel that tingling feeling of secretly tiptoeing around to get a more intimate glimpse into fashion. I sneaked backstage during the Korea Style Week runway show!

I figured if I got caught I could pull out the ‘I worked for the Korea Style Week blog!’ card, although I think even so I wasn’t supposed to actually go backstage during the fashion shows.

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(this was the entrance.)

Okay, deep breath, I tell myself. This is going to be a fun adventure! I’ll just keep exploring until I get kicked out. After all, no one in the fashion world succeeds by following the rules, if there even are any, right? The moment I entered, I just saw a bunch of makeup artists lounging around with their phones, looking pretty bored. I walked past them, nodding and smiling as if to say ‘yeah, I’m just one of you guys, keep working, don’t mind me!’ (They stared for a while, probably because judging from my shortness and chubbiness they made out that I wasn’t one of the models, but I didn’t look chic enough to be one of the designers, so who was I? But they turned back to their phones.)

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(backstage. succeeded in entering without looking too weird.)

The first thing I noticed backstage was the models. Oh what beautiful, unrealistic creatures models are.

No matter how lovely, unique, or bursting with personality a model is, there’s one collective aura that they all share in common, and that’s the aura of intimidation. Even though it’s not the first time I’ve talked to a real live one(yes, the nuance IS that they’re a different species) I can’t help but give away my nervousness in the subtle tremor of my voice or my awkward smile as I ask for them to pose for a photo. Physical traits do certainly influence human interaction, I think, as I bend my knees, tilting my head to eye those long limbs through an old Canon Rebel.

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(models running around in heels, backstage. pretty artistic shot, no?)

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(It was scary to even ask them to pose; they were all at least 20cms taller than me in those heels)

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(a model making sure she’s ready to get on stage. I wonder how it would feel to look in the mirror when you’re a model. I wonder if they look at themselves and take their bodies apart, criticizing themselves for their physical flaws like most of us do.)

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Overall it was pretty hectic; after all, the main objective here is to GET THE MODELS ON STAGE, ON TIME, LOOKING FLAWLESS. No one really payed much attention to me because they were all busy doing their own thing, playing their part to keep the show running. It’s not as glamorous a process as I thought it would be.

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(the runway seems a lot more accessible and familiar from this perspective. Just a few stairs and you’re on the magical fashion pedestal.)

When the models are all lined up and the show starts to heat up, it gets quieter backstage because everyone’s so focused on monitoring the show. The director was constantly running to and fro, waving a bunch of papers with the show schedule and details around. She had a pretty intense look on her face, and she was busy talking to each person about precisely what they were supposed to do at exactly what time.

But of course, none of this frenzy is reflected on the actual runway. All we usually get to see is the models calmly doing the catwalk, looking like they’ve got their stuff together.

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(The outfits were colorful and totally weird, but I like weird.)

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(and then there are the people that have to sit and take care of all the digital stuff, lighting, sound, photography etc.)

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After getting a few shots of the models and the people that do all the digital, techno-work (bless those people! no one ever seems to notice them but they work so hard to put important parts of the fashion show together), I wandered around to observe everything else.

A box filled with ‘밥버거'(rice burgers; a pretty popular snack/meal here in Korea. They’re literally burgers with rice instead of bread.) at the entrance raised my eyebrows; I thought models didn’t eat fatty foods, especially during show season. But then a scene from The September Issue where a pin-thin model cheekily looks at the camera during a shoot and eats pie(pie! The ultimate carb-filled, gluten-loaded, evil food! I’m being sarcastic.) comes to mind, reminding me that we’re all human and should all be let off the hook to eat whatever we want sometimes. (And I enjoyed that thought as I munched on my Burger King burger after the show. I have an unhealthy relationship with their long chicken burger.)

I was trying to get a shot of the rice burgers to show you guys when I was interrupted by something much more intriguing-A BACKSTAGE MODEL FIGHT! Well, okay, it wasn’t a fight, it was just a conflict. But I was still excited. I witnessed a model surrounded by girls, shouting to another model across the corridor about something related to the sequence that they were supposed to do on the runway. The atmosphere turned from hectic and lively to serious-mode, and I heard some of the staff trying to figure out what to do with the runway sequence. “We can’t have the lights turn off without the model on stage!”, I remember the stage director saying. I’d imagined model fights to be much more physical or loud, but from my experience(of sitting around on the big black electric sound boxes(amplifiers?) for an hour or so-yeah, I know, such a foundation to judge) conflicts backstage were more…civilized.

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Amid the messy stacks of clothes and hangers and personal belongings of staff members, there was another large group of humans, other than models, that intimidated me. The designers. These were the people that I was actually dying to talk to, rather than the models. I love talking to people about their creative process and inspiration for their craft; believe me, talking to someone about their art really reveals a lot about a person’s life values and perspectives. However, as busy as they were, they looked so immersed in the show, making sure their creations were properly represented to the public eye, that I just couldn’t get myself to pop their ‘bubble’ of concentration. What I did get to to, though, was ask a designer for a photo and exchange blog addresses! Hopefully I’ll get to properly have a separate conversation with her soon.

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(designers dress fabulously, obviously.)

As thrilling and exciting being backstage a fashion show is, sneaking around gets exhausting after a while. I went out to enjoy the many exhibitions by brands.

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A brand called LUVX seemed to be the main show here. They had a giant, weird booth in the middle of the whole exhibition hall and are actually pretty well-known among younger Koreans, considering the fact that I’ve seen their designs before, and I’m usually the last person to know about new hot Korean brands that idols are seen wearing.

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Walking around on my favorite dirty old pair of Skechers, I saw some designs (and people) that I really liked.

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(She caught my eye because she was tan, unlike most Korean fashion-conscious people these days (everyone here dotes on the classic pale Asian face), and because she had mint-blue highlights on the hair beneath her ears.

“So you’re here all day?”

“Yeah, you can take shifts but I don’t have a partner here so I’ve taken care of this booth each day, all day.”

“Isn’t it hard?”

“It’s doable. But don’t take pictures too close up; I haven’t got any makeup on.”)

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(I have no idea what ‘IRONY PORN’ means and, honestly, I really don’t want to find out)

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(model off duty!)

Overall, last Sunday was a glorious day filled with fun, thrill, and awe…which left me with sore feet and utter exhaustion (I’m usually a total insomniac but I fell straight asleep after coming home from Korea Style week), but that’s okay because it was a meaningful experience, both in terms of my fashion career and my life as a whole.

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And speaking of my fashion career, I’ve started working on my eBay partnership this week!

Wouldn’t be possible without you readers. I love you!

Why I cried watching the Chanel fashion show

Hey readers,

Being involved in fashion often brings me back to feminism, which leads me to fashion again, which takes me to feminism. Especially in today’s social scene, at this point, I think fashion and feminism are two things that cannot be conceptually or historically detached from one another. Which is why Chanel’s Ready-To-Wear Spring/Summer Paris 2015 show is attracting speculation and sparking controversy directed toward the center of the fashion industry, obviously, themselves. (The) Karl Lagerfeld, who designs the iconic Chanel pieces (and who is quite the fashion icon himself), staged an interesting feminism protest march in this season’s show. Watch it below:

The show was held in the Grand Palais, which Karl transformed into “Boulevard Chanel”, to set the show in a background resembling a European-style traditional sort of street. The clothes-I couldn’t find anything special about the clothes themselves, they were exactly, stereotypically what one would expect from a typical Chanel collection (except maybe more tweed). How the clothes changed throughout the show, however, is definitely something to take note of while watching the show, in regard of the message at the end of the show. What’s interesting though is that I’ve read plenty of reviews on the show(hello Refinery29 and Jezebel, both of which clearly weren’t buying the whole faux-protest theme, and The Cut, which seemed pretty neutral, and Fashionista and StyleList Canada, both of which praised Karl’s feminism festivity, and The Closet Feminist, which didn’t seem to keen on the idea but raised some interesting questions), and all of these reviews mainly hover on the slogans(which is understandable since I must admit some of them were TACKY) but none of them even mention or elaborate in detail on how the clothes developed and changed as the show went on. It’s funny because I actually thought the transformation of the Chanel pieces as the show progressed was one of the key factors to fully understanding the show itself and the story that Karl was trying to tell through this season’s show. At the beginning of the show, the models(all of which are women, except for one) are dressed in colorful tweed(SO, SO MUCH TWEED) and radiant ensembles of flowery, dotty patterns, reminding viewers of the 60s/70s.

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(Georgia May Jagger)

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(Saskia De Brauw)

This changes, however, when at around 4:06, the music becomes more uptight and so do the models’ walking formation and the clothes. The flowery long boots and fluffy clothes are nowhere to be seen, and lines of models looking more fierce and modernized with boxy shorts and blouses and shiny, chunky gold belts start parading down the city-themed runway, and instantly I’m feeling like I just stepped into a new era of women’s fashion and am witnessing the evolution of women’s style. And then at 9:18, this jumpy crowd of women wearing the colorful fashions of the first half of the show are literally jumping down the runway, overwhelming me with all these hand-written slogan signs, many of them representing feminism. The feminist slogans helped me to reach the understanding that the contrasting 60s/70s –> modern clothing style transition in the show was a part of expressing feminism throughout the ages. It was a pleasant twist to the whole show.

Women’s clothes have defined and shaped feminism, and I’m guessing that that’s what Karl was trying to portray through the transition in clothes (and obviously through the slightly tacky slogans, too). While I do agree with Refinery29 to some extent that the slogans were pretty ironically insignificant and, again, tacky, I still think the whole feminist movement reenactment was meaningful, in both the name of fashion AND feminism. Chanel is receiving A LOT of criticism from people saying that the whole feminism thing was shallow and thoughtless, merely a trend, but I on the other hand loved it! Feminism is a concept that still needs to be embraced by many more around the world and the fact that a global, central, influential fashion brand like Chanel is marking the recent revival of feminist spirit just goes to show that fashion is still doing what it’s excelled at all this time-bringing us back to feminism.

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I teared up watching the ending of the show. I don’t think the slogans have to be oh-so-philosophically-deep or sophisticated. After all, it’s a display of suppressed feminist emotions and years and years of unfairness set in the 60s/70s of second-wave feminism. (I interpreted it as a reenactment, since the clothes the “activists” were wearing were those from the earlier parts of the show, and-as I explained above-I viewed the whole show as a sort of timeline for women and feminism and fashion.) In that sense Karl and Chanel succeeded in expressing what feminism feels like and what it meant for those women standing up front at those brave protests in the past. I don’t think it was shallow or materialistic at all; it was a powerful, iconic reminder of how we’re where we are at the moment, and of the decades-centuries of injustice and pain that so many women had to face. It was more than just a “runway stunt”, as many online fashion magazines are describing it. It was Karl Lagerfeld putting the final seal on the recent feminism issues all over SNS through a historically meaningful expressive medium-fashion. It was this controversial, exciting blend of feminism and fashion that inspired a certain strength and pride in being a woman that brought me to tears. (And not even the Titanic made me cry, so this probably means something. : )

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Also, since I’m openly rooting for this show, I can’t help but rebut respond to some quotes from other sites…

“You don’t need to be a CNN buff to get it: Between the unrest in the Middle East, police violence in Ferguson, this week’s uprisings in Hong Kong, and New York’s recent, massive march for climate change, there are plenty of issues worth protesting. But, when Karl Lagerfeld staged a “feminist protest” earlier today for Chanel’s Paris runway show, it felt, well, a bit twisted.” 

-Refinery29

I don’t know what Refinery29 is getting at here. Why on earth would the selection of feminism as a theme make you feel “twisted”? Sure, there are definitely a lot of other serious issues going on on our planet, and I think feminism is always and has always been one of them, online AND offline. Is feminism an issue NOT “worth protesting” anymore?

“…waving signs emblazoned with rather tepid political slogans like “Free Freedom” (whatever that means)…”

-Refinery29

I think “Free Freedom” means that feminism is a type of freedom that has been locked up for so long and still hasn’t been fully freed, so Karl is making an ironic pun. Freedom is supposed to be free and natural, but feminism has not been in many places for such a long time.

“…this season presents protest as pure product, the irony of which we suspect Karl is both aware, and presides over with a provocative, Warholian glee.”

-Refinery29

I disagree, Refinery29. You’re looking at the issue while holding an irrational grudge. What part of the closing act gives off the notion of “protest as pure product”…? (Well obviously except the fact that it’s a fashion show, although even that’s not that much of a rational conclusion to jump to either.) Of course we all know that Chanel is a company, which means it’s seeking to earn profit from selling clothes. But that doesn’t make it negative! If anything, Chanel should be praised for doing/representing something meaningful in the process. Fashion is one of the most effective ways to spread a message, and THAT’S what Karl knows.

“The messages are all very confused, and confusing, which gives the impression that Lagerfeld’s notion towards woman empowerment was merely gestural, or that he was responding to what he perceives as a trend, something that was written about while he was designing this.”

-Jezebel

Like I stated waaay above in this post, I don’t think feminist slogans should have to include some sort of deep metaphor or whatever for it to be meaningful. People experience feminism and sexual injustice in many different forms and therefore it is expressed in many different methods of literary expression. Also, just a thought, but wouldn’t it seem more “gestural” or “trend”-like for Karl to implement totally cliché terms used in describing feminist emotions? Just sayin’.

“Also: why is his feminist vision SO F**KING WHITE?!”

-Jezebel

Urrrmmm… I honestly do not know how to perfectly respond to this because there are just so many things that are wrong about this statement. All I can say at this point is, well, I’m pretty, very, really sure Karl didn’t deliberately place mostly Caucasian models on the runway to send the message that feminism is for a certain race…? I mean…I’m sure the people at Chanel weren’t like, “We need more ‘white’ models here! We need a higher ‘white’ ratio!”, right…? If they were, then that changes everything, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t how it went…

Comment or Like this post by clicking the title of this post, then scrolling down. The Like button and Comment box are both at the bottom of the post. I love reading you guys’ feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, so don’t hesitate to leave an honest comment! : )

Image Credits:

http://fashionolic.blogspot.kr/2014/10/chanel-spring-2015-paris-fashion-week.html

http://www.ebuzznew.com/models-take-chanels-paris-protests-beyond-the-runway

http://www.fashionblender.com.au/

Street Style: Make Statement Maxis Your Summer Saviour (Guest Post)

Hey readers, this post is a guest post by Daria, an amazing blogger and fashion enthusiast(check the bottom of the post for more details). This post is a Konni Kim Designs X AllBrandsGlasses.com collaboration.

Street Style: Make Statement Maxis Your Summer Saviour

 

In the heat of summer, many of us tend to become “allergic” to fabric. Tops turn strappy or even strapless, the length of shorts goes higher and higher (hot pants!), and full shoes are exchanged for sandals or flip flops. Although it may seem like the right thing to do, since it’s so impossibly hot wherever you go, we think you should reconsider. On the one hand, it’s not healthy: bare skin and the hot summer sun don’t make a good team. Clearly, you can’t always be in the shade, so remember to put on a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen! Covering up a bit will only protect more of your skin. And did you know that thin, natural fabrics can even keep you cool? On the other hand, everyone is showing off their skin. Why not dare to be different and maybe even a bit mysterious? No, we’re not talking turtlenecks and jeans… we’re talking maxi skirts and dresses! They’re flowy and let you breathe, while also giving you a put-together look. Plus, they really make a statement! Still not convinced? Here are some summer looks that we think you’re gonna love:

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Image sources: Street Style Aesthetic+ Refinery29

 

A maxi dressis all the comfort you need on hot summer days. Plus, it’s an outfit in itself! If you want something dressy, a maxi shirt dress in a classic print will look impressive. Pair it with heels and a purse, maybe even a thin belt, and you’re good to go! If the look you’re going for is more relaxed, a geometric print will do the trick. Pair a maxi dress with sunglassesand summer boots, and enjoy your day out.

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Image sources: Refinery29

 

 

Both of these looks were worn at Coachella, so we think they’re quite right for summer! A printed maxi skirt can be a true statement. You can pair it with a plain top to keep things simple, or with a matching top if you’re a bold fashionista. Whether you choose flats or boots to complete the look is fully up to you – but don’t forget your sunglasses and some bangles.

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Image sources: Citizen Couture+ Lee Oliviera

 

Maxis don’t need prints to make a statement: a bold color or a fun texturework just as well. For an everyday summer look, pair a red maxi skirt with a printed shirt, sunglasses and sandals, and enjoy a light, comfortable outfit. If you want something funkier, go for a layered skirt with different levels of transparency, which you can tone down with a sweatshirt and creepers.

 

Which outfit would you wear?

 

About Author:

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Daria is a fashion enthusiast with a soft spot for vintage style and cats. She also blogs at CelebritySunglassesWatcher.com

 

 

To comment or like this post, just click on the title of this post, then scroll down. You’ll see the Like button and Comment box at the bottom of the post. I love reading your comments, so go ahead and tell me what you thought of this post.