Months of work for 10 minutes: Putting on a fashion show

Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:51am EST
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Antonella Ciancio

MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Minutes to go until showtime, and the cool calm that was has turned into a manic frenzy as stylists, makeup artists and hairdressers add the final touches to the models about to strut down the catwalk.

It has taken the team at Italian fashion brand Frankie Morello about two months to work on this autumn/winter 2010-2011 womenswear show but they will have only 10 minutes of catwalk time to impress the fashion press pack and buyers.

"You can cut other costs but you can't cut on a show," Pierfrancesco Gigliotti, one of the brand's founding designers, told Reuters. "Shows are our biggest investment. They are the most important moment for us."

Putting on a fashion show is the top event in any designer's diary, but the smooth, cool look on the catwalk takes months of preparations and organization.

From models and stylists to electricians and invitation writers, some 8,000 people are involved in this February 24 - March 1 Milan fashion week, according to Italy's National Chamber of Fashion, which organizes the event.

The body begins its work five months before the start of fashion week, sorting out rooms for designers who don't have their own showing areas. It starts working on a show calendar with a four-month headstart.

Several drafts have to be made before the final version is printed as designers have been known to wrangle over timing, especially when the international press wants to keep its stay in town as short as possible to cut costs.

This year the big names have been squeezed into four days after powerful fashion editor, Vogue's Anna Wintour, reportedly shortened her attendance.   Continued...

<p>Workers remove plastic from the catwalk before the start of Blumarine Fall/Winter 2010/11 women's collection during Milan Fashion Week February 26, 2010. REUTERS/Max Rossi</p>