New York Fashion Week

 The MAC team and I backstage at the Proenza show with the fabulous Marian Newman — with Janet Deschamps and Judi Patterson Wendt.

It’s the mecca of fashion, and it happens twice a year in the four fashion capitals of the world: New York, London, Paris, and Milan. We learn the trends for the next seasons, what we will be seeing.


In September, spring/summer is showcased and in February, fall/winter. This has evolved to include accessories, hair, makeup and yes, even NAILS.

The average runway show lasts only about 15 minutes, but for the people behind the scenes it means a grueling schedule.

Preparation begins weeks in advance when the shows are scheduled. The best, the fastest, the most experienced nail techs are chosen, the team is assembled.

The night before the event, team members attend the “test” where final decisions are made. The models are chosen and fitted in clothes. Hair, nail and makeup looks are meticulously designed. Then comes crunch time: custom colors are mixed, nail tips are hand painted, designs are practiced – depending on the chosen look, we could be up all night working.

Emily Ryan and Janet Deschamps

Dressed in versions of our all black uniforms, we slip into our most comfortable black flats. We are on our way to NYFW. We come from different backgrounds, cultures and modes of transportation, all arriving backstage for one common goal, to polish the models for some of the biggest and best fashion houses.

We have arrived three hours prior to the show, referred to as a “call time”. After eating and the necessaries, we are ready for a full and intense day. We’ve got the final model list, we double check the nail looks with the stylist. We are armed with supplies- files, acetone, cotton, base and top coats.


As we head in for work, our plan comes together. Jumping in wherever/whenever a free nail is located. We squat, crawl, lean, straddle, we get the job done. Backstage is intense, filled with the masses. The media, stylists, beauty techs, models amoung others. Cameras snap, hair brushes fly, nail polish shimmers, and interviews abound. We field issues as they arise, a chip or a smudge, a nail tip pops off.


The end is in sight - “first looks” are announced. Only to discover nine missing models stuck at Michael Kors show. But our show starts in 20 minutes??? We regroup and replan, how will we get it done? These models need hair and makeup too, the works. They finally arrive with 8 minutes to spare, we assend like we are ready for battle. The models run in and sit in their chairs. Heads back, eyes closed, chins up, fingers and toes exposed All polish removed, no time for anything to dry. We all work together to accomplish the final goal. The models get dressed and line up to begin.


Can’t keep the guests waiting, if they only knew. The preparation behind the scenes…..


Last modified on Sunday, 17 August 2014 11:33