Words by Olivia Carniato
They say getting thrown into the deep end is the best way to learn & well, that’s exactly what happened to me at the end of August! My phone chimed with an email from my Careers Manager Bryce asking if I would be interested in assisting Celebrity Stylist and Fashion Director Fleur Egan for three days on a shoot for New Zealand’s BLACK Magazine.. INTERESTED?! I couldn’t write back fast enough! As he confirmed the details with me, I literally jumped around my apartment, so excited for the experience! I didn’t have much of an expectation going in, but those three days were more packed then I could have imagined! Here’s how my 72 hours as a fashion assistant went down …
9am: It’s Monday morning, and I’m currently sipping my latte as my car gets washed, because there’s no way I’ll be carrying around luxury garments in the back of my dusty 2004 corolla. I laugh to myself and I realise I’m clutching my phone so tightly in anticipation of a phone call from Fleur explaining what I’ll be doing for the day & once that call came in all the exciting stuff started!
I was sent a list of all the PR’s I would be heading to, to pick up clothes and accessories for the shoot tomorrow, and my job today would consist of showing up on the allocated times to collect everything!
I was so lucky that Fleur made everything super clear for me, and I felt that I could pick up the phone at any moment and give her a call.
10am: My phone buzzes. It’s Fleur - “Hey while you’re home can you have a look for some tie dye tights” with an attached picture of these gorgeous pastel multicoloured stockings. Easy enough right?!
Think again! Fast forward 20mins after many a search and hitting the 4th page in google, I realised we weren’t going to be able to get anything delivered before 8am tomorrow and so I suggested (why did I suggest this?!) we just make them ourselves. You know that old saying “fake it till you make it”, that’s exactly what this moment was! Here I was thinking I could save the day by hand making pastel tie dye stockings for an International magazine shoot, when I had never done anything like it. 10mins later I was out the door, heading to the first pickup and devising a plan to bring Fleur’s inspo pics to life.
11am - 4pm: Drive > Pickup > Drive > Pickup > Drive > Pickup > Drive > Pickup … and it kept going! In between hitting the pavements of Darlinghurst, Alexandria & Rosebery, I was parked in many a NO-STOPPING zone YouTubing “how to tie dye for beginners”. When I had a break in pickups, I’d throw my heels into the backseat & swap them for a runner as I was literally sprinting in and out of department stores in hope of finding white tights. By the working of a miracle, I found a few pairs and headed home with a car full of garment bags and a bag full of dye.
6pm: The sun setting, the birds flying over and me… standing on my balcony armoured up in some lime green kitchen gloves! 20 mins later I had 4 pairs of dyed tights, and ended the day exhausted and praying that I’d wake up the next morning to some perfect patterns! (the packet suggested leaving the colour on for 36 hours… yep cool, I’ve got about 14 to have them tinted, hand-washed, air dried & on location).
5:30am: THE TIGHTS WORKED! After celebrating for a moment that I had successfully made this work in less than reasonable time, I washed them by hand and then threw them back on the balcony to dry before I had to get in the car and head to a last-minute pickup before the shoot at 8am!
9am - 4pm: I threw back a coffee and arrived at the venue to unpack two completely packed-to-the-roof cars of bags and boxes filled with things that Fleur had picked out for the shoot.
We were unloading brands like Moncler, Givenchy, Ganni, Furla, AJE, Kitx, Bally, Georgio Amarni andso many more, I couldn’t believe it. Fleur has this incredible way of laying out all of her options that she borrowed for the day & then start piecing them together; curating these incredible looks that involved wicked combinations of colours and textures. Getting to watch her process felt so special & I felt really grateful to be on that set! Through the morning couriers stopped by dropping of bags from Louis Vuitton & Dior - the magic just kept coming!
After our beautiful model was done with hair & makeup the shoot really started to roll and it was pretty much non-stop all day! I shadowed Fleur as she made adjustments on set & I kept track of all the earrings she kept putting in her pockets! It was such an extraordinary day and I laughed to myself as I watched my little tights get paired with a Dior suit & another Moncler look.
After many hours, we reversed the whole set up process and carefully packed everything away and back into the cars for returns tomorrow.
I got home in the early evening with tired eyes, sore feet and a smile I couldn’t wipe off my face!
9am: Drive > Return > Drive > Return > Drive > Return > Drive > Return… After 17 PR stops, I had returned everything back to where we had borrowed them from and that was that!
It all came to an end and I was left in the dust of a whirlwind of an experience. I had been moving at such a pace for the past 72 hours & all of a sudden it was over! It’s moments like these I’ll remember years down the track as my first ever, on-set assisting job. I cannot say how grateful I was to have been offered this opportunity - I leant some invaluable skills just watching from the corner of the shoot & honestly, I couldn’t have been luckier having Fleur show me the ropes! She is the QUEEN of Style and was an incredibly nurturing teacher at The Fashion Institute!