Here’s the latest Diary of an Anonymous Fashion Assistant, where our contributor, who shall henceforth be known as Blair Mercer, dishes about the daily life of a fashion assistant at a major fashion mag at a major publishing house. She’s hauled sacks of Louboutins through the Sahara, been wrestled by Colonel Gaddafi’s guards at a five star hotel in Paris and was physically scarred by an A-list celeb. She’ll tell you all about it.
Fashion Director is on vacation, and we have a big celebrity cover shoot that has sprung up in LA at the last minute. I’m to pull all the looks in 24 hours and get on a plane to style it myself. There will be someone to help dress on the day, but I’m essentially on my own for this one and it’s a very daunting task. After a sleepless night fretting over which colors sell best for a cover (FYI not green or brown), I arrive at the office the next day to be told I’m going to fly that night and shoot a smaller celebrity (C-list older film actress [OFA]) first thing in the morning. Frantically rope interns in to chase looks for cover and dash off on store appointments for OFA, with barely enough time to rush home and pack a bag for my red eye that night.
On set the next morning I meet the thankfully kind photographer and crew, who have worked with OFA before and are not expecting things to go smoothly. Fair assumption, as she strolls in to inspect my beautifully presented rail of Lanvin dresses – as many as I could find at such short notice. She dismisses me with a flick of her hand before loudly announcing how hideous the dresses are, what on earth are designers thinking these days and who in God’s name would have pulled such a revolting selection of clothes for her? I start to panic visibly as she’s in hair and makeup and has yet to look me in the eye.
Think things couldn’t possibly get worse until her friend arrives with a bag of beachwear. Friend is a swimwear designer who wants to be featured in our magazine, and OFA has decided she will only wear a bikini. Next thing we’re outside, in the baking LA heat and she’s barefoot in a swimsuit. For the December issue. We do one shot like this to appease her before I manhandle her into a silk Lanvin gown which she promptly tucks into her cargo pants and stomps on set. We get one angry shot of her (glaring right at me behind photographer) and release her early before she breathes fire all over the studio.
I’m with the photographer looking at a provisional edit when we hear what can only be described as a loud roar.