News & Runway

Backstage Diaries: New York Fashion Week with Wilhelmina’s Damien Neva

FRIDAY, SEPT. 6 — My Fashion Week is but two days old and it is already gathering momentum from shows by Jason Wu and Rag & Bone. The day could be divided along a social media axis. At one pole was Jason Wu’s backstage and at the other Rag & Bone’s. The former displayed a sign throughout hair and makeup requesting no social media and the latter just the opposite, even going so far as to suggest which hashtag to use when “shar[ing] the love.”


I posted pictures of both signs to the Wilhelmina Instagram, which not surprisingly drew an impassioned response. The thing is, though neither sign changed my approach as I have long held to only posting images and other obvious revealing facts about a collection after the show has concluded. I do this out of respect to the designers and maintain the matter is their prerogative. Brand comfort levels with social media continue to evolve and as with any population, a variety of approaches can and will be taken. Leave the rest to L2 to index.

Soo-Joo-ParkOne model who has thoroughly embraced social media on her dramatic rise into the dizzying heights of high fashion has been Soo Joo Park (right). When I caught up with her backstage at Rag & Bone late Friday afternoon at Moynihan Station, which is part of the old post office on 33rd St, the Chanel campaign model was juggling no fewer than three devices, a couple smartphones and a disposable 35mm camera, each with its own social media agenda. Various fashion publications have requested content from Soo Joo’s point of view throughout Fashion Week and provided specific devices with which to capture the action. These bids are not unlike how scientists add experiments to satellites, rovers and other vessels NASA regularly launches into the atmosphere and hurdles toward Mars. Will the glossy mags discover life, let alone the intelligent kind, in the harsh and often hostile environment of Fashion Week? If anyone can help answer this question, then surely it is the intrepid Soo Joo.

One final mention, Ava Smith is now blonde (below)! She looked the business at Jason Wu and Rag & Bone.

Ava Smith backstage at Rag & Bone

Ava Smith backstage at Rag & Bone