Monday, August 10, 2009

Q&A with Glamorama Fashion Director Laura Schara

by Jahna Peloquin

Macy’s annual fashion event, Glamorama, has been around for 21 years – that’s longer than the storefront’s multiple incarnations (i.e., Dayton Hudson, Marshall Field’s) and its multiple changes in name (originally Fash Bash, the event was also called A Cause For Applause before finally settling on Glamorama). Year after year, the show’s organizers have done an amazing job of getting big-name designer collections – Marc Jacobs, we’re looking at you – shown in the Midwest. We sat down and talked with the woman largely responsible for that, Glamorama’s fashion director Laura Schara.

Jahna: We’re really excited to get the chance to talk to you about Glamorama. We’ve always been curious about how the show comes together year after year.

Laura: Of course!

Jahna: What are your responsibilities as Fashion Director for Glamorama?

Laura: My main role is that I secure all the designer segments for Glamorama, and I also hire all the models, freelance stylists, dressers, and alterations teams. I’m in charge of every single look - how it’s styled when it comes down the runway, and of course doing all the fittings – it’s a very meticulous process.

Jahna: How far out do you start planning the show? Can you give us a general timeline of when you do what?

Laura: It takes about a year and a half to work out the basic theme. It all starts in February at Fashion Week in New York, looking at all the fall collections. We want to make sure that we’re cohesive, and see if there are new designers who haven’t been featured before. Then I meet with designer reps in New York to select designer samples. I give them a list of looks that I’d like to receive based on our buy as well as the runway pieces - the ooh ahh looks that everyone wants to see. Also it’s set in a theater versus a tent, so we want to make sure they jump out the stage. Starting in March and April, we start doing model casting around the country. We look at around 400 to 500 models in L.A., New York, Chicago, and Minneapolis. We have two models in the show that are from Minneapolis. We have featured on Minnesotan model in the past (Dannielle Zephier with Moore) but this year a young gal with Vision (Greta Sundquist) really stuck out to us and had a great look.

Jahna: And right now?

Laura: Right now we are just reconfirming all the models – that is a huge puzzle, getting 40-some models here from all over the country. Working with numerous agencies from all over the country, getting them the info they need, all those little minute details - just getting those 40 bodies into one room is a huge task in itself. Fittings happen August 9 - we fit that show for approximately ten hours straight. It’s a long day, but we choose to fit as one long group so I can look at the group as one full collection instead of fitting individual times to make sure the segments are looking cohesive. We continue to tweak the looks when we got into dress rehearsal later in the week. I’m also communicating with the designer looks to make sure the looks we are getting are coming in. Obviously there are other people who want the looks that are possibly being used for other shoots and events. We keep the samples for quite a long time – we have it for about three weeks. But the designers trust us and it’s a high-profile, high-end event that they really love. And (the reps) love to attend it..

Jahna: Who are your favorite designers? Marc Jacobs must be one of them.

Laura: We switch it up – Gaultier wasn’t in the show for a few years, same with Sonia Rykiel. Marc Jacobs is always in, he always seems to set the mood for other designers and trends. So when they agree to be in Glamorama we love it. Gaultier this year is fierce – it’s definitely going to be one of my favorites in the show. Just Cavalli is great, their segment is always hot and sexy. This year we have PHILOSOPHY di Alberta Ferretti – they’ve never been in the show before. (Ed. Note: Other designers in this year’s show are Sportmax, MaxMara, and CNC Costume National.)

Jahna: What are some of the fall trends you’re highlighting for this year’s show?

Laura: The whole rocker chic, ‘80s glam-rock look is definitely highlighted in the show this year, with everything from leather to studs to acid-washed denim. A lot of mixing prints and patterns, plaids, shoulder interest – the whole bold shoulder. There’s a lot of pinks and berries, hot pink being a huge trend for fall. You know you’ll hit every trend across the board with this designer list. There’s a great assortment of what you’ll see this fall. It’s very inspirational and they go very over the top but you’ll be able to interpret it your own way.

Jahna: Have you ever gotten to meet any of the designers?

Laura: I have, I have worked with Michael Kors in the past, I have met Diane Von Furstenberg. I have yet to meet Marc himself. I’ve been to the room sewing with Zac Posen - I’ve worked with his mom, right where they’re sewing the clothes, so that’s really cool to see.

Jahna: What’s the process for casting models? What do you look for?

Laura: Being it’s an hour-long show, there’s a lot of choreography that’s involved. Our models don’t walk down the runway with a blank store – we want our models to engage with our audience. I definitely look for a certain body shape because the clothing is samples. There’s a certain confidence we look for in a model’s walk. There are times we ask them to engage with the audience. We really diversified the group that we have, especially this year’s theme being “fusion.”

Macy's Glamorama: "A Night of Fashion and Fusion," featuring a look at fall designer collections and performances by Ne-Yo, the New Standards, and Kristinia DeBarge. 8 p.m. Fri. Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Av., Mpls. $75 (show only), $250+ for the show & post-party.

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