Fresh from producing spectacular shows for Dior Homme, Lanvin, Hermès, Thom Browne and Kris Van Assche at the Paris menswear collections, showman extraordinaire Etienne Russo reveals a little of what pulling off these feats entails, in part two of his diary: Paris fashion week S/S 2011: menswear collections.
7:00AM Pick up Dries at his hotel and go to Docks en Seine, the venue for his show.
8:00AM Dries sees the venue for the first time. Check out runway, light, music, backstage.
10:30AM Rush to Halle Freyssinet where we have the Kris Van Assche show tomorrow and Dior Homme on Saturday. Solve problems with the curtains for Dior backstage and on the runway set.
11:45AM Go back to the hotel to pick up a file.
12:00PM Go to the Lanvin office to meet with Alber Elbaz, meeting cancelled, he is too busy doing his fittings…
12:30PM Back to Halle Freyssinet: verify light at Dior Homme with Ignace, the lighting designer.
12:45PM Music boxes aren't hanging as they should at Kris Van Assche. 'This is not what we had agreed with the client and the sound company. It's a pity people aren't doing what they are supposed to do. Come on guys, you have to redo it again.'
2:50PM In car to Docks en Seine with Ignace, discussing light details of the Dries Van Noten show while driving there.
2:55PM: Arrive at the Dries Van Noten venue, give instructions to cleaning crew, go over pictures with photographers to evaluate the light, have a joke with the photographers: 'are you serious? Do you have a photographic eye??'
3:05PM: Make sure Dries is ok. Does he like the way the catwalk looks now? The lights, do we leave them on when the guests are entering?
3:10PM Check with project manager Aminata that everything is running as it should.
3:15PM Interview with Loic Prigent explaining the scenography of the show.
3:20PM Talking with Jean Francois, general stage manager, about the cleaning again. It has to look trash but not dirty.
3:26PM Brief Guillaume for rehearsal. Models should walk in one straight line on the edge of the runway.
3:45PM Music meeting with Sejan Jansens and Dries. Do we want a long intro? Do we want the music to last longer at the end? 'I think the venue takes the atmosphere with the music.'
3:50PM I have an emergency! Italy is playing against Slovakia. Can't miss that game. Run to a nearby pizzeria to watch the match, but first give directions to Aminata while on my way there. 'We need extra ice. Dries is afraid the ice for the beers will melt too fast!'
4:05PM Catch up on the world cup. I cannot miss the game between Italy and Slovakia.
5:45PM Bummer, Italy lost. They played so badly from the beginning; they deserve to go home, one problem less….
6:05PM The team thinks it's funny that Italy lost, everyone is joking around, acting like I am in a terrible mood.
6:06PM Back to work, everyone gets ready for the rehearsal. 'Attention for first model, 1-2-3 Top Guillaume! Wait a little longer to send out second model. Come on guys! Keep a distance.
You can be a bad boy, but not too much! STRONG! You are sleeping! Don't stop, don't pause, keep on walking.'
6:13PM Someone helps me put my intercom back on.
6:20PM Finale: “Walk, walk, walk! Spread on the catwalk as much as you can!”
6:25PM Let's repeat just the finale.
6:41PM Put some water on the runway for the reflection of the light. We fill the holes with water from the Seine river.
7:20PM The guests are starting to enter. Chat with Nick Vinson of Wallpaper* about this agenda…
7:25PM Checking backstage. Everyone is ready.
7:32PM Asking people to take their seats and clear the runway.
7:33PM Top light, top music, top first model.
7:46PM Dries comes out! Very good response from the audience.
8:10PM Say goodbye to the Dries Van Noten team and head to Halle Freyssinet for a last check of the sets.
8:45PM Arriving at La Halle Freyssinet, have my green vegetables soup (only eat that while on production) while checking curtains, podium and backstage for the Dior show with project manager, Vicky.
9:30PM Have to run to meet the Moncler team at Laperouse for a press dinner at the occasion of Pharrell’s contribution to a capsule collection.
1:00AM Time to go to bed and get some sleep.
9:30AM Get picked up to go to Halle Freyssinet, location of the Kris Van Assche and Dior Homme shows.
9:38AM Use the time of the drive to check the show coverage and my messages on my iPad. It’s gonna be very hot this week!
9:50AM Arrive at the set of Kris Van Assche. At the moment the temperature is acceptable.
9:57AM As we use a photographic studio paper roll as a backdrop and catwalk, we must ensure that it will be rolled straight and won’t get ripped off.
10:23AM Drawing a map to decide on the light with Ignace.
10:47AM Walking towards the set of Dior Homme. There is still a lot to do. Everything has to be ready and cleaned tonight for the rehearsal.
10:53AM Get worried about the temperature. We must circulate the air by making holes in the backstage roof and open the doors during the night to refresh the venue.
11:12AM Show the set of Dior to Kris Van Assche.
11:42AM Talking details with Kris. He seems satisfied, so far….
12:15 AM Back on the KVA set, helping to fix the catwalk on the floor. It can not move when the models will walk over it.
12:27PM Check with the photographers the light on camera.
12:43PM Rehearsal. Give instructions to models, showing them how to walk. 'We drive on the right, use the center of the catwalk only, shoulder to shoulder, mark the stop in front of the cameras. The music is tough, you must have a strong walk. Use the music to give you power. We are doing it one more time.'
2:03PM Backstage, having a look at the clothes.
2:40PM The show will start soon. The photographers are getting ready. Greet them.
3:37PM The show has started.
3:48PM The show is over. Congratulate Kris.
5:14PM Meet with all the members of the team working on Dior Homme. Let’s plan step by step what still needs to be done and by whom before we start rehearsal.
8:05PM Getting ready for the rehearsal of Dior Homme. I am talking with Vicky about how the models should walk according to the light and the rhythm of the music. The models are lining up.
8:15PM Rehearsal starts. “Feel the music, be haunted by it. Don’t touch the fabric. Don’t loose the rhythm, elevate yourself, float.”
9:38PM Rehearsal is finished. “Guys, thank you for your time, effort, concentration and kindness”.
11:23PM At the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, after passing a long complicated security check....
... meeting with the Villa Eugenie team working on the set of Hermes to decide on the exact length of the catwalk - we are discussing a 50cm difference.
00:13AM At the headquarters of the Communist Party, meeting with Thom Browne to talk about the music and the concept of the show.
01:21AM I am starving. Let’s stop at a grocery store to get something to eat since everything else is closed and I have no more soup.
9:16AM On my way to Halle Freyssinet for the Dior Homme show, checking out pictures of Kris Van Assche. The photographers did a good job. Briefing Julien, personal assistant, on today's planning. Thank God he's with me! Can trust him to get everywhere on time.
9:30AM Arriving at Halle Freyssinet, directly go to Piet, technical director to see where the problems are. The biggest nightmare was setting up a white runway in the middle of a dirty factory. We need to protect every square inch.
9:40AM Won't be able to pass by Lanvin and Maison Martin Margiela this morning. I need to focus here.
9:50AM Welcoming Kris Van Assche, showing him pictures of his own show, going over the venue discussing the light, scenography, music...
9:55AM Evaluation with Vicky: 'We need to protect the floor and the benches with plastic. No one is allowed to step on the runway without special covers on their shoes.'
10:11AM 'Need to have a meeting right now. There are at least 10 priorities and in two hours everything needs to be ready.'
10:30AM Showing the Kazakh models, who flew in for Dior, how honored we are to have them on the show. 'You are very important, the spirit and soul of the show. I need your internal power to come out. Need you to be there and lift up the whole thing.'
10:35AM Interview (again…) with Loic Prigent about the scenography.
10:40AM Walking around the venue to verify every single detail: curtain to be fixed to the floor; backstage; is everything is running smoothly; plastic to cover the whole white floor; outfit of the cameraman - it's too obvious, I want him to go home and get changed; remove insects off the white curtain and floor; brief house photographers: 'I need emotion in the pictures. It has to be poetic, more poetic than ever.' Tell the press office to start to number the seats; give carpet instructions; check fresh paint on seats and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning…
12:50PM It's dying hot in here! We should open doors!
1:00PM Backstage photographers can start to enter the venue.
1:15PM Rehearsal starts in 10 minutes.
1:20PM Put on my intercom.
1:26PM Give top to Ignace for lights on the shell curtains.
1:30PM To models: 'Please come on guys, I need you as a team, Let's go!'
1:37PM Rehearsal minus 2 minutes.
1:39PM 'Powerful and a beautiful face when you pass in front of the photographers, they are here for you! Music and models 4-3-2-1 GO! POWER POWER POWER! Inner beauty! Distance is one of the most important things during the show! We are going to do it again, please try to concentrate! It looks like a mess. Let's line up and really get into it!'
2:02PM Finale: 'GO GO GO GO GO. Stay close! Come on, energy! That's better but we still have to give 30 percent on top of that for the real show.'
2:10PM Ask for a general cleaning again, we are opening the doors in 20 minutes.
2:12PM Debrief rehearsal with Kris Van Assche.
2:35PM Urge backstage people to go backstage as cabin will be closed in three minutes.
2:40PM Last check before opening doors.
2:43PM Opening doors; no one can leave backstage or enter backstage anymore.
3:10PM Have a chat with Cedric Saint André Perrin from AD, Suzy Menkes from International Herald Tribune, Laurent Dombrowicz and Tim Blanks from style.com.
3:33PM 'Light top, take plastic off the ground top! Stand-by music top! Light, tell me how much time you need? There is some tape left on the runway! Take it off! Stand-by 30 seconds!
3:35PM 'Show 5-4-3-2-1 GO! Allez energy! Don't lose a second.'
3:46PM '3-2-1 top Kris' Kris comes out of the backstage, people seem happy and excited, show is over.
4:03PM Receive positive feedback from Karl Lagerfeld. I am very happy and Kris looks happy too, that’s what matters.
4:30PM It is time to finalize the set of Hermès. It is Gay Pride today. It takes ages to cross the city and get there.
5:20PM Passing the strict security check point again at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais.
5:30PM Catching up with Aminata and Ikrame.
5:34PM Say hello to the people from Hermès in backstage, decide the direction the
models will come from on stage during the show.
5:42PM Give instructions to finalize the decor. Demand to add painting stains on the floor but in a way that it does not look too obvious.
6:24PM Check the music selected for the show. This time it’s a slower tempo.
6:36PM First rehearsal. Brief the models with Ikrame. Show the way to walk on this show. 'It is a more relaxed walk than on the other shows, like a seaside walk to soft music and with a twinkle in the eyes but please don’t fall asleep.'
7:02PM Second rehearsal, dressed this time.
7:10PM Check if Hermès designer, Véronique Nichanian, is satisfied.
7:50PM Chat with some models.
8:00PM Doors are open.
8:40PM The show starts.
9:05PM Hugging Véronique Nichanian. She looks happy with the show - me too.
9:10PM Chat with Ikrame. Getting tired. I can not sleep long when I am on prod, my brain doesn’t stop analyzing everything that needs to be done.
9:40PM Arrive on the set of Lanvin at the National Sciences Museum of Geology. Greeting Alber and Lucas. We start discussing all the details.
9:52PM Check with Ignace from where the light should come from for an optimal effect.
10:15PM Read the reviews about the Dries Van Noten show in the newspaper.
10:20PM Decide the catwalk timing with Guillaume.
11:12PM Time to grab something to eat and get some rest.
8:47AM Arrive on the set of Lanvin. Saying hello to all teams. Hug Vicky, project
manager at Lanvin as well. Forgot to say, she is my other half…
9:10AM Ask Guillaume to prepare the models.
9:25AM Welcome the models.
9:33AM Get ready for the rehearsal. Adjust the mic and brief the models.
10:31AM Start the second rehearsal. The boys must walk much faster. It’s a long catwalk, Alber wants electricity in the air.
10:55AM Talk to the models one by one to make sure they've understood the walk. Ask backstage team to scratch the soles of their shoes and put some coke on it to enable them to walk better, this old parquet is quite slippery.
11:03AM Discuss the last details with Alber Elbaz and Lucas Ossendrijver before starting the show.
11:08AM Give the last recommendations before the beginning of the show.
11:20AM The show starts. Direct it.
11.45AM: Show is finished, Terry Jones asks me to give a few comments for the I-D Magazine
12:25PM Saying goodbye and congratulating Lanvin teams for their great work before heading for a quick lunch with Alber Elbaz to discuss the upcoming womenswear show.
1:40PM In car on my way to the Communist Party, it was built by Oscar Niemeyer. It is really a fantastic building.
2:25PM Discuss scenography of the show, going over every single step with Thom,
Guillaume and Steven.
2:45PM Go upstairs to evaluate every single part of the show. We have to define zones? Need to do a few changes, where do I put 60 photographers? Where do we place the plasma screen so that the standing guests have a clear view of what is happening inside the show area?
3:25PM Want everything out and clean, need to start rehearsal. We are late!!!
3:30PM Show models first step of the scenography..
3:38PM Guys, this is what you will look like!!!
4:10PM We don't have much time left, still have to do much more rehearsal. Too much information at short notice for the models. Most of the boys haven't passed by hair and make up yet, but rehearsal is priority now!
4:11PM Rehearse the finale before doing the scenography with costumes.
4:50PM Repeat text with models who have to speak for the audience.
5:05PM Second rehearsal with costumes on. Showing them how to behave with a cosmonaut suit on. There is a lot of tension! Some boys are making too many mistakes, which is normal, the scenography is very difficult. It would normally take six to seven hours to do such a presentation, we only have three...
5:33PM Third rehearsal, boys still haven't gone to hair and make-up, doors are meant to open at 6PM. 'It's a nightmare.'
5:50PM Boys rush to hair and make-up while Thom and I repeat with 'speaker-models'. We are stressed but a good laugh helps to reduce it.
6:00PM We open the doors but people have to wait as the models are not ready. Damn, what a stress!
6:46PM Stress everywhere, at hair and make-up, in between models, at music... I lost my paper with the steps of the choreography, my gosh... this never happens to me!
6:47PM We can finally start the show.
7:05PM: End of the show! No one noticed the stress and it looked amazing.
7.30PM Congratulate Thom and my team. Thom tells me: 'This is the biggest challenge we've ever had so far!' You bet, my dear ....
8.15PM Go to hotel to take a shower, have to be at the Thom Browne dinner at 9PM.
Unfortunatly I fall asleep, twice...
10:00PM Arrive at Dave for Thom Browne dinner.
1:00AM Finally go to sleep.
10:20AM Review the Wallpaper.com report with Daphné.
12:50PM Meet with some members of Villa Eugénie team about a new project in New York.
4:27PM Finally go home after a few months of hard work, dreaming of the next one, Chanel couture in a week...
Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.
Berlinde de Bruyckere on religion, chaos and decay: ‘simplicity is the territory of humans’
Ahead of her show at Hauser & Wirth Zurich, Limmatstrasse we speak to Belgian sculptor and visual artist Berlinde de Bruyckere on her show ‘A simple prophecy,’ on from 26 January – 13 May 2023
By Martha Elliott • Published
Under-the-radar bag labels to know
From New Zealand to Japan, get to know the under-the-radar bag labels eschewing trends in favour of long-lasting good design
By Tilly Macalister-Smith • Published
Rala Choi: ‘Now is the time to ask photographers about what photography is’
We profile rising star photographer Rala Choi, whose vivid, ethereal images draw on the legacies of art history
By Sophie Gladstone • Published