Style | Diary of a Somebody

Maria Grachvogel

Last-minute preparations (and late-night pizzas) on the eve of the show

Maria Grachvogel

September 16 2011
Maria Grachvogel

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

This morning I am happy to see a wonderful selection of crisp white blouses and tops for me and I realise that I absolutely have to wear one of them. A few months back we decided to try a new cleaning service, ACT home. They cater for many five-star hotels and introduced the idea of “hotel-style” cleaning for the home, which I have to say I love! A clean, beautifully pressed white shirt and black magic pants – it’s one of my favourite looks. Given that I have a long day ahead, this feels like the perfect choice.

The first part of my walk this morning is with my husband, Mike, which is lovely, but he keeps reminding me to slow down. He wants me to enjoy the stroll on this bright sunny morning. I am checking emails as I walk and Mike tells me I have turned into one of those terrible people that can’t keep off their Blackberry, so I stop immediately. We pop into Pret for a coffee en route and then part ways.

The studio is buzzing with energy when I arrive as deliveries are streaming in every few minutes. Our specially made goody bags have just turned up and they look gorgeous with an illustration of our new flagship store and a little message from Butterfield Private Bank (our show sponsor). Then various exciting goodies arrive from Elemis, GHD and Urban Retreat to fill them. Several crates of Moët are delivered for backstage after the show and the studio is soon filling with boxes and boxes of things. I have asked for them all to be put in one space so we still have some room for models to walk later.

Leather samples have just arrived and are simply beautiful. I am totally in love with one of the pieces and so want to wear it tomorrow. At the moment I am unsure of where the shoes for the show have ended up so I am off to investigate.

Just about to have my lunch and the custom-made chairs for the shop finally arrive. Even though it has always been a passion, this is my very first venture into furniture so I rush downstairs to the store to see them and they completely exceeded my expectations. I have used the digital print in the same way as the dresses but seeing it translated into furniture adds something sculptural and unique.

It’s 1.45pm and our stylist, Damian Foxe (of How To Spend It), arrives early almost straight off the plane from NY. I’m now eating my lunch in between finalising the running order and listening to the show music. Damian and I are getting into the swing of things when the first model arrives. We’re not quite ready but we get going as the girls are now arriving and we need to keep up. Luckily, Paul Isaac is overseeing the casting which makes things much easier – we are really just seeing girls casting to fit for the final line-up.

The first model is about to leave when Atalanta Weller, the brilliantly talented shoe designer we are working with this season, arrives with the shoes. I am also excited to see them and immediately try them on. We had only seen them in sketch form and they are as I imagined – really fierce, but actually unbelievably comfortable.

One by one the girls arrive and try on their outfits. Luckily everything just fits; one of the advantages of fitting on my whole team with all the different body shapes is that when you put the clothes on a model, everything just works. The jewellery is arriving in small batches, being made in the Erickson Beamon workshops as we speak and we are allocating pieces to looks as they arrive throughout the day.

Every model walks each look so we can envisage the collection on the runway and the show is coming together in front of our eyes. Our new printed tote bags are added to long dresses, like some kind of cool beach outfit; we swap trousers for skirts, decide that a drape jacket should simply be worn on its own rather than with the trousers we had planned. We giggle and laugh through much of the afternoon and the time just rushes by.

My close friend, Jess Cartner-Morley, arrives just after 6pm with some incredible cakes, “just in case we need a sugar rush”. She’s collecting a catsuit she ordered from the AW11 collection and I bring her up to the studio for a sneak peek of the new collection.

I have a veritable army of helpers this season, all with their tasks; Isabel is taking photos and making notes of shoes and accessories, Kat is ordering food for tomorrow, Hatty is updating the final seating list, Steph is making the model boards, Phillipa and Alex are retyping the running order as we change everything. Then a lovely surprise – Fran turns up with her homemade oat bars and helps us steam some trousers.

It’s now almost 8pm and the whole team is hungry – Elena has ordered enough pizza to feed five thousand. We eat pizza and fit the girls as we go and Dan arrives just before 10pm to do a final run-through of music as the last model is leaving.

The outfits are all now in order with the relevant accessories and shoes. They are all on one rail and being bagged up as we speak. I am still full of adrenaline, though, and not at all tired. I am planning to go home, have a cup of liquorice tea, a nurturing skin routine and maybe do some stretching and deep breathing to help me sleep, although I am not sure if I will actually will. Thank goodness for the hair and make-up teams that will arrive tomorrow!

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