The Making of a Runway Show: MHT Produces Jen Kao and Tells Us Everything

While we had plenty of meetings during the month before Jen's show, the final run-up to Thursday's 6pm event is when the brunt of the work takes place

While we had plenty of meetings during the month before Jen's show, the final run-up to Thursday's 6pm event is when the brunt of the work takes place. Here's a look at what we were up to.

Monday, February 8

1:25pm Check with Jen Kao's office about dresser supplies from last season. For each show, we prepare what's called a "dresser kit" for our team of dressers that actually put the models into their looks and change them in-between exits. As timing comes down to seconds during a show, it's essential that each staff member has on-hand all of the items they might need in any sort of immediate crisis.

Emergency supplies include Band-Aids and erasers, lint rollers, shoehorns, static guards, safety pins, and insoles that assist in quickly getting models from one look to another.

The only thing missing this season? Nude thongs for the girls. I send an associate out to Macy's with my credit card and wonder if she'll get double-looks purchasing women's thongs on a male corporate card. Stranger things have happened during fashion week, though.

Tuesday, February 9

2:00pm Tailor crisis at Jen Kao! The office calls and needs to quickly assemble an additional team of tailors. Our first call is to Lizette Rubinos, who coordinates and assembles sets of amazing fashion-level tailors from around the city. She's always doing fashion-related jobs. I remember unexpectedly bumping into her backstage when I swung in to say hi to Esteban Cortazar when he was shooting Ungaro pre-Fall at Milk Studios.

We've used her on many last minute emergencies, and she's always pulled through with an exquisitely talented team that's on-time, professional, and (most importantly) always gently handles our clients in their most tense situations. Lizette is on it and pulls together a team who will arrive on-site within the hour. During fashion week in the garment district, this is no small feat.

9:00pm Touch base with our manicurist and her team for our shows. She's just arrived from Seattle and we schedule time to meet the next day.

11:00pm Monicka Hanssen Teele (owner of MHT) heads to late music meeting with Keeghan Singh and Jen. Discuss rotation, models, and time between looks.They also develop the runway soundtrack.

Wednesday, February 10

11:18am Meet with Nonie Creme from Butter London nails who is sponsoring many of our designers with manicure teams. She's a great personality and their sponsorship allows our designers to add another dimension to their shows. One of the things we like best is her ability to mix custom colors so our clients get nail colors that really aren't available at retail.

11:30am Meeting at Jen Kao's office with Jen, Keegan and Nonie. Facilitate introductions as we discuss nail treatment for the show. On deck: two options, either a black metallic green or nude palette similar to last season. Watch ten shades of opaque and Jen smile as she instructs Nonie to add more black to the green. Repeatedly. Jen looks pleased with the experimentation and I touch base with Ali, right hand at Jen Kao, as I head out. The tailors have worked out perfectly.

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1:20pm Monicka to MAC/Milk to do a backstage walk-through with Jen Kao's photographer.

3:30pm Ace of Base is on repeat at the office while my team and I manage other clients.

Thursday, February 11

4:20am Receive final show finale music from Jen's office.

1:17pm Our staff member Sade arrives at Jen Kao's studio to oversee transportation of the collection. Everyone is scrambling about and taking care of alterations.

1:30pm Text from Sade: "It's the time that the collection is scheduled to depart the studio--we're running 30 minutes late!"

2:00pm Update via text: the collection is perfect and ready to go.

2:28pm Meet Sade at the delivery dock at Milk Studios. Load collection off of delivery truck. The guy in the freight elevator asks us if we're heading to a show. We reply, with six racks behind us, "Yes." He then proceeds to give us a high-five and hug.

3:15pm Catering arrives. Lots of food, not enough space.

3:53pm Design team arrives. Everyone pumped/stressed/excited.

4:02pm Pre-show setup backstage - looks being arranged, no models yet; hair and makeup teams are ready. Receive final final final music! Double triple check the cuing.

4:55pm Calm before the storm. We are looking clear to go.

5:05pm Rehearsal. Time to introduce the girls to the cues. It's difficult work to explain to an entire cast how and when to walk, but casting director Barbara Pfister and Monicka are in total sync. Flow.

6:05pm First looks and sending this update to Fashionista. It's time for the show!