BY KELLIE NOBES
Whilst boarding the plane to head back home to Australia, I was overcome with so many conflicting mixed emotions. Deep sadness because it was over, pure happiness because it was amazing, excitement for the opportunities it may have given us, and a strong sense of disbelief. We had just been, and showcased at New York Fashion Week. Even saying it now, I still don’t feel it’s sunk in.
Two weeks earlier we were on the plane, our arms open ready to embrace the Big Apple, buzzing with excitement, nervousness, and unfortunately also the beloved gastro bug. Ash was struck down, then Chris (Mum and Manager) and the first 48 hours of our trip was a time we’d rather forget. Gastro and a plane are two words you never want to hear in the same sentence. Alas, they conquered and we made our destination.
We landed on a balmy Tuesday afternoon, and hopped straight into a big yellow taxi (so cliché, I know) which quickly flowed into the peak hour traffic and hustle and bustle of the city. After two hours in traffic we arrived at our cute little Air BnB in West Village, a beautiful and homely neighbourhood, with bright green floating trees sweeping each sidewalk. Next door boasted a relaxing yet vibrant café, Grounded Organic Coffee and Tea House, which became our second home whilst in the states. We ventured out and wandered the neighbourhood as the sun went down, pinching ourselves whilst we explored. After visiting a local market and stocking up on the necessities - muffins and coffee – we became overcome with exhaustion from the travel, headed back and nestled in for our first night away from home.
The next day we were up early, eager to start exploring. Chris was still unwell and was sadly confined to the walls of the BnB, too lethargic to wander, so Ash and I set off roaming the streets. We took the underground subway (again, so cliché) and popped up in the lively Times Square. For those that haven’t been to New York, Times Square is just how you see it in on TV. Brightly coloured, busy and beautiful. We did a little shopping, just a little, and sussed out some backdrops and locations for a photoshoot, which we were to do here in just over a weeks time. Before long, the day was done, and it was back to bed.
The coming days quickly went, and Ashlee proved she was a pure machine. I have watched her work hard, but when it came to New York she never lost sight of the goal and worked harder than ever. She smashed out more elements of her new website, gathered loads of social media content, arranged the photoshoot including a NYC model and hair and makeup artists, she fixed up last minute details of the crowns, responded to emails and enquiries back home and even organised collaborations.
This woman worked day and night on our trip, she did not stop, but after a few days of a hefty workload, it was time for us to focus on the models Fittings Day! We were taken to a large multi-storey building not far from our apartment in West Village. From the foyer the building looked upper-class and sophisticated, however upon getting out at our designated floor, we were greeted with colourful hallways, and swarms of people. Some dancing in the corridor, some practicing lines in the mirror. This was a full-blown audition building, just like in the movies. There were show posters on all the walls, audition times pinned to doors, people lined up ready to head in to have their go. You couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces in that moment.
We entered our room and met the Fashion Palette team and began pulling out all the product, awaiting the models arrival. We were then given our backstage passes to NYFW, and cue excited laughter/disbelief/happy tears. The models arrived soon after and Ash quickly started fitting them with their headpieces and talking to them about our vision for the show and what she wanted them to do, whilst I fitted them with their lingerie and shirts and Chris handled accessories. We were scribbling down notes, recording shoe sizes and shirt sizes, their allocated pieces, you name it. The day was over before we knew it, and it was now time to prepare for the pinnacle of the trip. Our beautiful photographer Jess Tucker from back home, made the trek over to the states and met us that night in New York ready to share our excitement.
When the day came around for the runway show, we popped a bottle of Moët to celebrate beforehand, and I looked over to Ash, Chris and Jess and we all sat in silence and really stopped to take it all in. After a few minutes we joked again for the 36th time about how surreal it was that we were here, had couple more glasses of champas to ease the nerves and it was time to go in. It was time for the Ashlee Lauren New York Fashion Week Runway show.
Backstage was buzzing. There were hair and makeup stations with the dressing-room styled mirrors, clothing racks allocated to each model filled with brightly coloured and beautifully detailed garments, camera-men and journalists frolicking around madly trying to interview the designers, models running around naked frantically trying to find their racks and next outfit and organisers with their clip-boards trying to keep everything some-what running smoothly. Then there was me and Ash, I feel like deer in headlights, standing still as everything swung around us trying to take it all in.
Ash was pulled aside for interview after interview, and I spotted a model I recognised from fittings looking for her station. I headed over and started dressing her, and before long more models were ready. We had half our models dressed, fitted with headpieces ready for the show. We were still waiting on 5 more models, and time to the show was dwindling away. Jess, from Fashion Palette started heading our way, sensing our confusion as to where the other models were. Then she broke the news, the agency had double-booked the models, so five of them would be a no-show.
To be continued....