Tuesday, August 30, 2011

...Show Count Down 13 Days to Go!

Day 13...
This is how we ended the night...

This Framboise is bad news only 13 days till show! 

9:00am - Coffee with half and half
12:00 - Cappuccino 
2:00pm - Peanut Butter and Honey sandwich that my boyfriend has been making me every morning
5:00pm - Another cappuccino
6:00pm - Traveling Music (champagne)
8:00pm - Red wine
9:00 - Kettle one, water and powdered drink
1:00am - Framboise

Oh yeah... and in between we did some work on show;)


Monday, August 29, 2011

...Show Count Down 14 Days to Go!

Monday August 29th - So I finally left work at about 11:30!

So busy that we did not even have time to clean up and you could barely leave the design room because of the racks parked in the showroom!

I took this picture around 8:30 but due to technical difficulties (my work computer being a piece of shit) I had to get home before I posted today's events.

1. We finally started styling the show! It is looking amazing but there is still a lot of work to do... and I once again became Mowgli from the Jungle Book... if you don't know what this means you can read all about it in my Fashion Week Daily Assistant Files article...

2. We got Peter Gray to do the hair for our show! He is my favorite!

3. We worked on Fashion On Ice which is an exciting event that Betsey is doing after the fashion show which is a story I cannot wait to share with you all! So look for that post at the end of September.

4. We also worked on concepts for Summer silhouettes and Fall prints for Pink Label which is another exciting line that Betsey is working on! So many projects, so much to look forward to! ( I think the exclamation point will be the first key I wear out on my new computer, ha!)

5. Most importantly, we survived the first day of the two week count down until show!

More tomorrow!

X - Stef

Sunday, August 28, 2011

...Count Down To Fashion Week - The Calm Before the Storm

Thank you Hurricane Irene and random earthquake for kicking off the Count Down to Spring 2012 NY Fashion Week!

Irene...NYC is under there somewhere...

All of us feigning fright after we evacuated our building due to Tuesday's Random quake

With the inclement weather and the shakes behind us, I feel like we are finally at the top of a hill in our fashion go-kart (without brakes) about to plummet into the two most exciting weeks every season...

...NY Fashion Week!

Stay tuned for updates from the front lines of how Betsey's band of misfits is going to pull this off! That is unless we get swept away by a tsunami...


Saturday, August 27, 2011

...A Count Down to Fashion Week - The Bike Show

The Bike Show as it is fondly known around the showroom, but more formally known as Le Tour De Betsey, is the second show I did with Betsey and by far one of the most exciting and in your face shows.


Yes, Bikes... cue crickets...

When it comes to fashion bikes are not exactly the first thing to pop into my head, maybe like ten years ago when it was ultra fashionable to date a BMX'er or a skateboarder but that was so ten years ago (believe me I was one of those girls)

So we are back to Bikes with a big fat question mark at the end of it?

Here is how it all happened...cue flash back screen fade...

This theme came early to Betsey this time, really early, like three months before show early. Usually we are biting our nails and asking for deadline extensions before Betsey finally settles on a theme. You can imagine our surprise when Betsey came into work one day in June and announced that she had the theme for the show. We all breathed a sigh of relief and then she announced the theme...

Bicycles! ...ummmm...wha?

A series of coincidences occurred to help her get to the theme of Bicycling and ultimately her show being called Le tour De Betsey. First her daughter was really into soul cycle exercise club, second her hair dresser would go away for cycling trips upstate which they would always talk about while she was getting her hair done and third while walking up Madison Avenue, Betsey wearing her loud Warhol - esque tile print in primary colors and carrying the matching bag, was trying to figure out what part of the population she dressed like, when a cyclist with all his own matching gear pulled up to the vary same corner where Betsey was standing. They looked at each other and laughed cause their outfits were so similar yet two completely different circumstances. And so it was…the birth of Le Tour De Betsey!
Usually there are two meanings to every Betsey show and this year's duality was the celebration New York fashion week’s tents moving to Lincoln center.

Needless to say, this idea grew on us and here is what we came up with...

...The Elements...

The invite…a pink bracelet a la Lance Armstrong style

The program …a bike map of Manhattan which led the audience through each vignette which took place in a different location on the island.

The production – LDJ production company for the tents installed an amazing LED screen upon which we played a video of traveling through the streets of Manhattan from a cyclist's perspective!

The Runway - Down the center we had LDJ put reflective tape to simulate road lanes

Jewelry - Necklaces that read "Ride Me" in huge rhinestone letters.

We even attempted to have bikes form Bowery Bicycles on the runway. But because of music cue mishaps we had to pull them at the 11th hour, no big deal because we did get a skateboard on the runway!

During this show I met a lot of new friends who do really cool things...

First cool new friend I met is Peter Gray! He is a hair stylist who was sponsored Redken for our show and is now my friend and one of my favorite people I have met since I moved to new york city. He spent long hours with us at the showroom perfecting the hair look until we were all happy with what turned out to be a teased and matted little pony tails held together with tiny rubber bands that look like the brightly colored bicycle tire spoke beads. Since the bike show I can’t imagine working on a runway show with any other stylist who would have his conviction to see a vision through. I also owe my white hair to Peter.

Second cool person…the very talented Sarah Lucero with Stila Make-up!  The previous show we worked with Stila, so it was a treat to get them back for a second year! Betsey was sure that she wanted a green eyelid and Sarah gave us a very cool thick green racing stripe lid and highlighter pink lipstick. I love working with Sarah, she gets Betsey through and through.

This was my second time on Betsey's runway! I wore this amazing orange dress that another designer and I were huddled over still sewing the morning of the show!

Later Zink Magazine did this amazing editorial with the dress 

One of the best things that happened during the preparation for this show was Betsey hand air brushing dresses. Heather, our airbrush expert gave Betsey a tutorial on how an airbrush works and once she got the hang of it there was no stopping her! So much so that we had to convince her that not everything in the show needed airbrushing. Needless to say we trashed the showroom and for about a month after the show we were finding paint and glitter everywhere. 

This beautiful hand painted dress was worn by Katy Perry to the People's Choice Awards 

One very special element to a Betsey show is the "bye-bye"! For each show there is always a different saying, VOTE, LOVE, etc. This years was RIDE ON! Betsey takes this part very seriously and we practice with the models in the showroom. When the models who will be in those last looks come for their fittings Betsey will jump up from her chair and start singing this stripper song and we will get in line  to practice the dance on stage and then the contagion of turning around to slowly reveal the "bye-bye"! Usually everyone does a good job of getting it right! 

I am the "N"

Hope you enjoy reading this! Starting Monday it will be two weeks till showtime and I will be keeping up with you all by posting a daily status of how we are surviving fashion show preparation!
Let's get ready to rumble!

X - Stef

Monday, August 22, 2011

...A Trip to the off-set printer for The Betsey Johnson Spring 2012 Fashion Show invitation

Today Ashley and I went to Karr Graphics to approve the Betsey Johnson Spring 2012 Fashion Show invite! Our buddy Larry offered to give us a tour of their factory and my morning was transformed into this Sesame Street episode

Sesame Street is so timeless, I even dig the music! and orange is cool all over again!

When you enter Karr Graphics the first thing you see is a collage of old fashion wood carved letters. I am in love with this wall and want to install one in my apartment but Larry told us that these blocks go for big bucks on eBay. 

This is the machine that they print our invites on! OOOOH!

 Voila! Our invitation is being printed right before our eyes!

Then Larry took us upstairs to meet the Papa Bear Machine! Here he is, with his paper ready to go! 

And here are all the irresistible shiny buttons you press to make Papa Bear run!

I nerded out a little bit but so cool! right!?


...Fashion Drugs - A Healthy Addiction - Kelsy the Blonde Bad Ass

This weeks muse is Kelsy! She is a fellow NYC blonde who works as a hair stylist slicing up some bomb hair cuts at Cutler Salon. She did this to me... 
Kelsy did the hair and of course Betsey did the rest!

When Betsey and I went to the New York City Ballet gala, Kelsy was the hair stylist recommended to me by my good friend and hair artist, Peter Gray. The end result was perfect and since then I have been trusting Kelsy "do" me right. Since Kelsy has so much style with the "complex fibers" I could not wait to see her Fashion Drugs picks. 



The Blonde Bombshell reincarnated, Kelsy!

My Personal Style

One thing I love about fashion is it's yours to explore and own! All yours. So I take full advantage of it. I never feel like an outfit is complete without that punch of the unlikely. Something to make people think a little. The edge of ugly and beautiful.. Perfect.

Outfit number #1:
So here's the deal. I LOVE androgyny . The fine line between feminine and masculine is a good one to be on. Get it right and you've got an original head turning look.. And, at the end of the day isnt it just too fun dressing like a boy?!

I'm not gonna hurt you baby..

#2 - Super girly pink dresses worn with a studded leather harness. Perfect.  Yes, here I am contradicting my feature pieces again. The love of oppositional harmony. How about super literal statements you ask? I say yes as well. Creating interesting outfits that makes people think. To me that's what's fashion is all about. Take as you will.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

...Shaping Up!

Which shape are you?

Isn't this funny, I found it when I was doing show research...


Sunday, August 14, 2011

...A Cheap Saturday In NYC

This weekend I set out to prove to myself that I did not have to "break the bank" in order to have a good time in New York City!

I began the day by downloading the Hipstamatic camera app on my iPhone ($1.99)

I always wanted to download this app but it seemed like such a guilty pleasure that I wanted a really good reason to buy it. After all, why spend the money on a day of frugality? These two dollars bought me a whole day worth of entertainment and all the pictures for this post!

My boyfriend Alex and I went to the Summer Streets event which is sponsored by NYC DOT, who closes down Park avenue from Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge so that everyone and anyone can bike, run, walk, skateboard and roller blade down the famous ave. Sadly, thinking we would be able to get in on the free bike rentals they were offering, an hour wait to ride a bike did not seems so appealing. So we walked from 51st to 14th. Along the way we stopped in St. George's Thrift Shop near Gramercy Park where I bought this $9 pair of Lucite shoes.
Hipstamatic makes me have Frankenstein veins

The next place we stopped was the union square farmers market where we picked up some juicy peaches! ($2.00)

After doing the farmers market circuit, we stopped into Trader Joe's wine shop to pick up some really cheap wine. We got two bottles the low, low, low priced ($2.99) rose and the slightly higher priced ($3.99) Chardonnay.  We mixed the two together because one tasted like syrup and the other tasted like water. Anyway it did the trick!

After we mixed our wines, we got ready to go to Gini's house warming party! Where I really got to play with my new app.

Alex on the train reading the NY Times. He was reading the business section and I read an article about a Greek island called Hydra in the travel section of the Times.  $2.25 train ride later we arrived at Gini's new apartment...

Gini in her new house!

Me trying to be hip for the Hipstamatic.

Later that night I found $20 dollars on the ground at the Woods (a hip Williamsburg bar) that bought me and Alex a drink with $6 left over!

So let's do the math...

Hipstamatic app................................................- $1.99
Summer Streets.................................................- Free
Lucite Shoes.....................................................- $9.00
Union Square Farmers Market Peaches............- $2.00
Two Bottles of Trader Joe's wine.....................- $7.00
Train fare to Gini's new apartment....................- $2.25
Finding $20...................................................... +$20.00
Drinks at The Woods........................................- $14.00
$36.24 - $20.00 = $16.24

Pretty good! A great day and only $16.24 spent! 


Saturday, August 13, 2011

...Count Down To Fashion Week - The Haze Sets In and "KISS,KISS-BANG,BANG"

So it is a month until our fashion show and the days are already starting to blend together! So much so that I totally spaced on posting the story about my first fashion show at Betsey Johnson...and finally here it is.

Fall 2012 - Kiss, Kiss - Bang, Bang!

Betsey and I playing dress-up!

The first show I ever did with Betsey was the Fall 2010, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang! This was my first experience with New York fashion week after being hired from intern oblivion into the world of Betsey Johnson. The small hiccups, quirky moments and hilarious missions are what made this show happen! Here is a little inside info about how Betsey puts on a show!

Where to Begin? Divine Inspiration?

Well not quite divine inspiration but a series of team meetings, happenstance, and constant hope that we will find a new show concept every six months! So where did we start? We started from where you can always learn from…the past. We brought out stacks of DVDs of our past runway shows and looked at what worked and what didn’t. From production to lighting to scenery and clothing we picked apart every aspect until we had talked all the elements to death. At the end of visiting the past, we had not come to any conclusions, but somehow we were closer to a concept.

Nailing down a theme...

One thing unique to Betsey’s shows is that each one is like a mini dance recital, with characters in a setting all doing their part to tell a story. There is always a handle, a reason for the art. This is probably the toughest part of putting on a Betsey show. Betsey never allows her self to opt out of the fun and just have a regular show. So we brainstorm over about a thousand different themes and until she really feels it and it “cooks” in her brain she won’t be satisfied.

For this particular theme we came across an old show with hay on the runway and Steven Tyler toting fake pistols. (Betsey tells a funny story about how Steven Tyler almost did not make the show because he had attempted to bring his own real pistols through airport security. You have to love authenticity.)

Why not the hay? Why not the pistols?

The idea of doing a cowboy show had not completely formed until Betsey brought in a Bridget Bardot movie called Las Petroleras which featured the actress as an oil drilling cowgirl decked out in a pastel petticoat and bustier! A totally impractical western ensemble, but oh so Betsey!

Las Petroleras - Betsey's show inspiration 

After this inspiration discovery the pieces of the puzzle began falling into place…

…The Show Name - Since our fall show typically takes place on Valentine’s Day, we always try to tie love into the theme so it was called Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Kisses for love and Bang Bang for the pistol waving cowgirls!

…The invitation - a spinner that would choose which western male character would be your Valentine.

The program – Instead of naming the clothing with typical “fashion mumbo jumbo” like Look #1 – Silk organza gown, we named our looks, “The Widows” or “Bankers” or “Banditos.”

The finale – Each model came out with a large plastic blow-up heart that they threw into the audience at the end of the runway.

The Music – a mixture of old and new and kitsch and cool beginning with the sultry Bang Bang by Nancy Sinatra and ending with the up beat “All Is Love” by Karen O & The Kids

Our show mentality had been transported back to the old west and we began to style the show accordingly. Choosing the looks for the runway began by sorting through the vintage racks that were parked in the show room, the current line and new line. We made piles and color stories, mix and matched and played dress-up and slowly molded what eventually made it on the runway.

The very last look in the show was made two days before the show as a tribute to Alexander McQueen who committed suicide during this time.

In retrospect we probably got a little too costume-y, but hey it’s Betsey and we pride ourselves on being a little extreme. Just the other day, Betsey said, “excess is more and more is what I like” and if that includes a toy gun as a prop well then so be it!

Kelly Osborne - Pistol Toting Cow Gal!

Another fun addition to the show was the very rockin’ Kelly Osborne who led the Runway with a Yee-haw and strutted her stuff as a Banker with a mustache, bowler and her own real puppy. Backstage with her was a riot, especially when she presented Betsey with a singing valentine dressed as a pink monkey, who ended her performance with a cartwheel a la Betsey style.

Kelly Osborne - she was such a good sport about wearing a mustache, in fact she was stoked about it!

...Behind the Scenes...

Because Betsey is always down for a party, our back stage serves as a giant party and is like no other backstage at fashion week. There are always balloons, candy, a DJ and champagne!  Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of work and urgency going on but we do it in style. This show was especially busy for me because I was walking the runway as a model and working as a design assistant at the same time. One moment I would be in make-up and the next I would be helping prep for the show. It all became rather funny when while waiting in model line up for a pre-show run through, I leaned over to Betsey and began explaining to her what we needed to do after rehearsal and she looked at me utterly perplexed and asked “who are you?” I replied, “I am Stef your assistant.” She burst out laughing and said that she had hardly recognized me in all my hair and make-up!

My first time modeling at New York Fashion Week!

Sometimes Betsey likes to use guys in her shows and because of a tight budget that year the crew of Betsey faithfuls did our part to save the company money and went bar hopping to pick up dudes. (Total drag, right? Wink! Wink!) The reason for male models was to hold the long coat tails and trains that Betsey had styled into the show. Where do you go for the hippest looking guys?... Williamsburg of course (center of young America). At favorite local bar union pool we handed out business cards to any hot guy we met up with and towards the end of the night, as we kept the PBR’s coming, just about anyone. Every guy who got a card was instructed to come go the showroom for casting. We only needed five guys and we already had two one of which was my, very-best-long-time-friend, Andrew (he sometimes takes pictures for this blog.) When casting time came we started getting worried that no one would show up or that in our drunken state we may have picked a not so handsome looking fellow that we would have to turn away. Luckily the guys showed up for casting and we dressed them in union suits and taught then how to walk down the runway.

My very-best-long-time-friend, Andrew!

…What happens when something goes wrong?

Even if you have checked and rechecked and then just because you can’t fall asleep at night because you keep thinking about all the details, checked again and everything seems like smooth sailing, there is always at least one thing that goes wrong and this years was a doozy. Long story short our DJ showed up under the influence of something that made her unable to get the music cues right. After the first DJ botched rehearsal we brought the DJ from backstage to run the show while Ashley stood in the DJ box and cued him. Luckily, the crisis was averted and everyone who saw the show loved the music and was none the wiser.

…Then “BOOM” It’s over…
At the end of every Betsey show she likes to send a message like vote or bye-bye. This year it was love! I am the L.

This being my first fashion show I was shocked when the short and sweet 15 minutes of runway chaos was over. All the work for so little time! Those 15 minutes were so precious! Immediately I felt that I could not possibly wait six months to do this again! That feeling made me certain that for the rest of my life I wanted to be putting on a fashion show. Betsey was just as pleased with the show she told us over a celebratory dinner at Tanuki Tavern in the Gansevoort Hotel. After a nice dinner and a lot of champagne we headed the after party at the Griffin where we finally had a chance to watch the show! There is always a rush copy sent over to the after party because Betsey cannot wait until the next day to watch it and neither could I.

x - Stef

Thursday, August 11, 2011

...Intern Theme Day - Betsey's Birthday!

Instead of a theme day, we just dressed up and celebrated Betsey's 69th birthday!

The interns got Betsey a coffee cup that says "Betsey's Funny Coffee" (that means champagne in Betsey language)

Love ya Betsey, Happy Birthday!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

...Fashion Drugs - A Healthy Addiction - An Austin Texas Insider!

This weeks muse is Kaylan! She is one of my best home town friends. This chick has got it going on, she is sharp as a tack, drop-dead gorgeous and has a killer sense of style. It only made sense to have her partake in fashion drugs so you too could share in her sensational fashion sensibilities. On my recent visit to Austin, Kaylan took time out her busy schedule to show me all the hip vintage shops after basking in the sun at Barton Springs and gossiping over 'Ritas at Curras. She is the genuine cool!



My style reflects reflects my life growing up and living in Austin, Texas. I split my time between the city; where I go to school and go out at night to see shows and hang out with my friends, and the country; where I spend weekends (when I can) and during breaks from school. Austin is such an inspiring city to live in, I'm constantly modeling for local designers and vintage store owners which has allowed me to experiment with so many different styles. I used to dress like a total hippie, and while I am still constantly inspired by past eras, my style these days is cleaner, more modern, and practical than it used to be. I've come to find myself feeling the most like me when I wear more understated clothes that have subtle references to lifestyles or movements that mean something to me. Whether I'm channeling a weekend trip to the lake or west Texas, a Woody Allen film, or a modernist painting, I like to start with neutral pieces and then layer color (sometimes) or interesting accessories. Mixing preppy vintage pieces with contemporary designers and jewelry made by friends is my basic strategy for dressing in a way that is authentic to my life. 

day ---> night

This outfit encapsulates my basic day to night style. Austin is very hot for about four to five months out of the year. I do not understand people who insist on wearing jeans and boots into the dog days of summer. The dress is perfect for the heat and the environment. During the day I'm usually on foot, going to class at UT and running errands. Luckily for me, there are plenty of grassy lawns, and general cleanliness to validate the choice of wearing flip flops during the day. The tote bag is perfect for carrying my laptop, books, and snacks. The scarf is in there for chilly classroom time, and the ray-bans help me blend in (a little) with the seas of fraternity boys and sorority girls. The calming voice of Bill Callahan helps me get through the busy stress of the day. When I'm all done with my work its time to switch to this pair of slightly outrageous heels, some statement earrings, a super dreamy bag by Sedgwick, and chillwave sounds from Washed Out to unwind in the evening at the Hotel San Jose lounge.

Don't you want to be like her when you grow up? I DO!