Backstage at her autumn 2017 ready-to-wear line fashion show, held at Chelsea’s Soho Arts Club, designer Lindsay Jones is ultra hands-on as she readies models wearing her latest collection — a fusion of political messages, the healing power of art, and gender fluidity.
“Am I nervous about walking? Yes and no,” says Dick van Dick, a rapper who just dropped the video for his new single “Pony Rider,” and walked in Gypsy Sport’s show this past weekend. Taking to the catwalk, says Dick, “is a performance like anything else. I use the nervous energy and the butterflies to remind myself that I’m living my life.”
Walkie talkie in hand, Jones directs everything from the make-up artists, (Guerlain sponsored the show along with Matthew Curtis hair) to final walk-throughs with each model. “I feel so grateful for all the opportunities that have come this season. I’ve never had such a fluid show in the works.”
Amy Hood, artist, model, and publisher is one of Jones’ long time models. “I’m friends with Lindsay [Jones] and I love to support her. Each show you can see how much she’s progressing.” As for walking, when asked if she felt nervous, Hood responded, “I feel excited to walk. And I love that I’m wearing these little slippers, which makes this show feel more like a slumber party, expect with a lot of people watching. Oh, and I like this little bottle of champagne.”
For people who think fashion week is all about the champagne, models, and glamour, think again. Jones says, “This show is about referencing the current moment we’re in right now. We’ve been neglecting our culture. Now more than ever, the personal has got to be political.”
Jones continues, “I’m processing what’s going on in our world, and that made it into the collection. Whether I’m bending gender roles or using clothing to send a message, this collection is all about how vital art is. It’s one of the best ways to communicate.”
Models pose for publicity shots at the gallery—a perfect venue for a show where the designer relies on the transformative power of art to wash over her and quell last minute nerves.
Jones seems to thrive on the backstage madness (one of the models is late, and arrives within minutes of go-time; press scurry about, with photographers angling for backstage shots). “This craziness,” she tells me, “is so much better than sitting around wondering what to do with yourself.”
Stylist Sheyna Imm was on hand to fit models and attend to last minute looks. But what does a stylist really do behind the scenes of a fashion show? Imm says, “You have to be five steps ahead and keep a clear head. Most importantly, I’m focussed on what’s going to make things the most cohesive. I strive for uniformity. You must be able to roll with anything that might happen.”
Jones’ friend and sometime collaborator, Whatever 21 designer Brian Whatever, lends backstage support.
Imm continues that backstage it’s vital not to lose the creativity in the chaos. “Sometimes chaos brings the most beautiful things.”
Minutes before “curtain up,” Jones gets her makeup done and tells me, “I have to zone out and meditate a little to silence the noise. It’s important to disconnect a bit. I mean, you have to know what needs to get done, but I also want to enjoy this.”
As guests begin to arrive, and find their seats, the models disappear backstage, and the tension builds.
Dick van Dick, who was a dancer as a kid, walks the runway after a last-minute fitting. “The movement and making the body angular is all very comfortable for me.”
To conclude her show, Jones lands on a message of positivity: a bare-chested model holds a placard with words like “love,” “kindness,” “equality,” “justice,” “art,” and “diversity.”
Within hours, WWD publishes a report on the show and gives Jones credit for infusing political messages into her collection. According to WWD, “Where Jones succeeded was in areas that challenged conventions, like a male model wearing a floor-length sweater dress with side cutouts; a similar dress with a built-in mitten; a deconstructed sweater with a bra stitched atop, or another sweater dress that scandalously opened up at the naval with the sway of a hand. She showed a hoodie with politically driven intent; proceeds from that, along with T-shirts and hats with similar statements, will be donated to Planned Parenthood.”
I couldn’t agree more. And with that, it’s a wrap.