Beauty

Black Glitter & Lipstick: Musings From A Female Photographer At Fashion Week

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By Aurora Rose

This September was my first Fashion week as “press.”

Sure, I was an intern, but nobody knew that but me. To the outside world I was a Fashion Photographer with a badge around my neck that allowed me permission to sit with the big boys and girls.

Mostly boys. Mostly big. One would expect Fashion Week to be shot by knowledgeable and fashion-obsessed ladies and gays, dressed up to reflect the week’s events and ever-changing moods. Sadly, no. The reality of the press pits at are indeed, quite different.

The pits are, in actuality, filled with mostly middle-aged men in bad jeans and dad sneakers. Pit seems appropriate after sitting squished between two sweaty photographers, stacked on top of one another like a tiny tin can of shutter-bug sardines, the miasmic fumes almost strong enough to cause a model to pass out should she linger at the end of the runway for too long.

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I realized partway through day two that there might well have been a good reason for the jeans and sneakers dress-code, as after only a day and a half of runway shows I was exhausted from hobbling around in my oh-so-fashionable-fuck-me-fashion-heels.

I looked great, sure, but sitting in the pit on the ground cross-legged in heels, the bending up and down did nothing for me except give me a sprained ankle and illicit snickering whispers and comments from the ‘experts.’

I quickly learned from the few veteran women photographers that this had been a man’s world until quite recently, and many of them had not gotten used to us asserting our presence among them–and assert our presence is exactly what we had to do.

We had to stake out our claim to a spot, and stand or sit there despite the grumbling of the older gents. I even saw one girl get physically lifted and moved to the side. But, have no fear, she was returned to her rightful place, and the offending man who had moved her was arraigned and rightfully shamed by the others. He got so mad he left entirely without shooting that particular show at all.

Karma.

Beyond the gender issues, all the shows sort of blurred together into one long slideshow in my mind: all of the tall, thin models marching down the runway with bored or angry or scared faces–wearing dresses or pants or skirts that clung to their androgynous bodies.

The girls look like boys, and the boys look like girls, and sometimes when that happens, everybody wins. But, out of the marching blurs of black and white came three flashes of color. Three designers. Three collections that make my panties wet, make me want to swoon like Scarlett O’Hara, only to be revived by a handsome mustachioed beau with smelling salts.

The three designers were, rising as phoenix, Christian Siriano. Badgely Mischka. and of course Monsieur Marc Jacobs.

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Christian Siriano, the former Project Runway winner who, with his looks and energy, resembles the Prince of mercurial imps and practically coined the term “fierce, bringing it into America’s vernacular, put on a show that was purely unparalleled. In short, he is a F***ing Fashion God! I am enamorado.

The dresses were expertly tailored in colors that popped in a hard–yet soft, feminine way. He used classic geometric blacks and whites, the bright and sunny vibrant yellows of exotic island birds, and pure and bright peachy pinks that resembled the inside of a perfectly ripe Hawaiian guava just picked from the tree.

Completing the show: creamy white ostrich feathered dresses rippled in the wind as the models floated down the runway, making me yearn for the little-girl days of old, imagining ourselves in perfect white confectionery, meeting our prince in holy matrimony.

At the end, he popped out from among his beachy-thatched umbrellas and did a little leap and a little bow before disappearing backstage–and as one might imagine–back to his little workshop to make more dreams come true.

When you were a child, did you ever have the pleasure of watching Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre? My favorite story was The Dancing Princesses. These Princesses would sneak out of the castle through a secret passageway that led to a beautiful lake with shimmering lights, where a gondola with a handsome man would await only to ferry them across to a magical ball. They would giggle together as they dressed in beautiful gowns of blues, green, pink and purples–made of laces, satin and silk.

I longed to have a princess gown of my own one-day. And then, like so many things, the mind becomes stacked with new memories, and old ones are pushed to the back until something, or someone pulls them back up, dusts them off and places them on your current shelf again,

Badgley Mischka's Back-Gown magic (Aurora Rose)

Badgley Mischka’s Back-Gown magic

Like a lovely old book that has been recently rediscovered. Badgely Mischka was kind enough to return my beloved dancing princess to my shelf, and to make them come alive in a way I had scarcely allowed myself to imagine.

The backs of the dresses were almost lovelier than their fronts, and as that Lil’ Wayne song goes, “I hate to see her go, but I love to watch her leave,” it was oh-so-true. Overall, the Badgely Mischka gowns were sigh-worthy in a magical way that I shall never, never forget.

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Marc Jacobs closed Fashion Week with a bang as usual. Exactly on time. Fashion shows are, as a rule, rarely on time. Rumor has it that a few years ago he held the show to wait for all of his famous friends to arrive, and after waiting three hours said, “That’s it! From now on if you are not inside, seated and ready for the show exactly on time, then you will not be privileged to see the show, no matter who you are.”

This year’s collection was set in an industrial construction site inside of the grandiose Armory.

Models walked at an unusually heightened speed through a fabricated construction site with cement pipes and scaffolding, on runways covered in black, glittery sand with lipstick-marked cigarette butts.

He had all of the top models scowling down the runway in identical bobbed and banged blonde wigs, which made them all, even Cara Delevingne, Georgia May Jagger, and Sky Ferreira look surly and strange.

The clothing silhouettes hearkened back to the days of 90’s grunge, and used a dark color palate of black, forest green, navy blue and maroon. The models walked so fast it made the work of the photographers extremely difficult, but what did that matter to him? He doesn’t need the press anymore. The press needs him.

As Parker Posey said, “I don’t really do fashion week. If I’m going to come out to see a show, I expect to feel some emotion, I expect to see some emoting. Marc puts on a damn good show.”

All images by Aurora Rose de Crosta.

Aurora RoseAurora Rose de Crosta is a mixed media artist from New York. Aurora graduated from Hunter College in the spring of 2009 with a B.A. in Theatre  Production and Creative Writing. That same year she founded the Fashion Line Lolli Popitt, though she left the company in 2010 to gain more experience.  In May of 2011, Aurora joined the Wardrobe department on the International Britney Spears- Femme Fatale- Till The World Ends Tour. In her free time, Aurora used the incredible travel opportunities of touring to work on her photography. While on tour, Aurora also had the pleasure to work for Nikki Minaj, Miss Spears’ North American opening act. She designed and created the giant psychedelic mushroom props for Miss Minaj’s debut performance on Good Morning America. Aurora is currently working for Celebrity Events Company PBLCTY.com as a Photographer, as well as creating a new line of accessories she hopes to show by February 2014. In September, Aurora signed with Untapped Management, who will pursue a publishing contract for her first novel.

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