Welcome to the third installment of Behind The Scenes At Fashion Week. Over the past two weeks we've spoken to Anthony Gordon, Director of Scouting and Communications at Premier and DJ Sam Young. This week The Fash Pack caught up with one of London's leading PRs, George MacPherson from Starworks. In the interview, MacPherson talks about the stresses and strains of fashion week and how it feels the moment American Vogue confirm that Anna Winour is attending a show.
The Fashion Pack: How does your job change during the fashion week season?
George MacPherson: My emails seem to double or treble. I get a crick in my neck from holding my phone on my shoulder so I can talk whilst typing and I only seem to eat food from the Wasabi Japanese place, which is literally underneath our building. I try to get all the usual stuff out of the way early in the month- reports, meetings etc, and then concentrate on the shows and designers who are participating.
This season is different with LFW. Our clients and other brands have already held events, which kind of take over momentarily. So far we've had the Daphne Guinness fragrance launch at Dover Street Market, the SS10 launch of Maia Norman's Mother of Pearl label at Jay Joplin's home, and on Monday 14th Marios Schwab's all-window display goes in to Browns. It's lots of work but they're all amazing events that, along with Vogue's Fashion Night Out, and event's like the Liberty/Hermes launch, have seemed to energise everyone in what is usually quite a dull period.
TFP: What are your best and worst fashion week experiences?
GM: The best is when you get that email from American Vogue saying that Anna Wintour is definitely coming to the show. Worst were eating Japanese every day and not doing my usual daily swim, the seasonal bout of fashion flu, which never fails to floor me the minute the last show ends.
TFP: You have so many clients and shows to organise. How do you manage to juggle so many shows in the space of only one week?
GM: Definitely team work and utilising each others strengths. We're doing about 8 events over LFW and these are split between us dependant on the experience needed to deal with each and what audience they are targeted to. Ostensibly each show and the preparation for them follows a similar format but there is no identikit method if you really care about the client. Every show needs time and consideration but once you have a great team to work with, like at STARWORKS, this process becomes more fluid. Timing wise we try to keep to one or two events each day where possible for everyone's benefit, which seems to help maintain a sense of organisation. This doesn't always work out!
TFP: Take us through the process you go through in producing and organising a show?
GM: It's kind of too long and dull to talk about, but it really begins at least a month (if not more) before the show. We advise on venue, stylist, casting, production and sponsorship, all of which can take months or happen the day before the show. We get as involved as necessary with scheduling and timings, which often holds the most problems for just about everyone concerned. We then reach out to the press regrading the events we're involved in and once the schedule is out, we open our LFW emails for enquiries and requests. In the month before the shows we will organise previews with top editors and liaise really closely with the designers we work with.
The request and invitation process is long and often quite mundane. Once every singly request has been processed, we blow up huge floor/seating plans and assign seats, which whilst being repetitive and long winded, can for some reason prove endlessly entertaining......
We then have all the names and addresses added to the invitations and envelopes. All of these are distributed about a week (or less) before the show and last minute RSVPs are confirmed and added. We'll sometimes have to take up to-the-minute late additions, sometimes from VIPs and top editors and then it's all sealed in a box, taken to the show and there you go....sort of.
TFP: When is the day over for you?
GM: I think the day began on the 1st September and will end on the 24th of September.
TFP: What are you most looking forward to for S/S10?
GM: We have some amazing things this season. The anticipation for Marios' SS10 show has really been building since the announcement of his appointment as Creative Director of Halston, Peter Jensen is showing via presentation with this amazing new artist, Laurie Simmons, and it's our first show with Josh Goot. Having worked with the guys from MAN, Topman and Fashion East in one way or another for while, it's amazing to see menswear take an even larger role at LFW . The 23rd September will be incredible.
I can't wait to see what Louise Gray has in store for us and I hear Meadham Kirchhoff are collaborating with someone pretty special. The SHOWstudio: Fashion Revoltion Gala opening will be incredible, whilst everything Lulu Kennedy waves her wand over will be ace. Her dedication to supporting new blood is truly incredible.
TFP: What are the key ingredients to create a successful show at Fashion Week?
GM: Engaging, intelligent and though provoking audiences; an organised guestlist; a little bit of mayhem, and since it's September, clear skies and the first sign of Autumn in the trees.
TFP: What's been the best and most rewarding show you've worked on so far?
Really difficult. I have had the absolute pleasure of working with some of the best emerging talents in London since I started doing this. Marios Schwab, Louise Gray, Meadham Kirchoff, Peter Pilotto, Richard Nicoll, Peter Jensen, Emma Cook and MAN each have achieved so much and similarly I have been able to take a great deal from these. If I really had to say one and be at the risk of really prematurelt sounding like an old man, it would be Peter Jensen's 'Sissy Spacek' Spring/Summer 06 show in Berkley Square. It was for years ago almost to the day and my first show ever. I had literally moved down to London a week before and it was complete baptism of fire. However, presented in a beautiful setting in a huge marquee, I can still picture every look in the collection and hear the soundtrack that was mixed by Jerry Bouthier.