A month in the life of a Session Tech: London
Marie-Louise Coster shares her Fashion Week story...
The last few weeks have felt like a complete whirlwind from London to Milan to Paris. Planes (delayed and cancelled!), trains and automobiles, it is fair to say I am exhausted but what I wonderful experience!
It all began in London; I did a very reduced schedule for me, partly due to my daughter's birthday falling at the start of it, and partly because I needed to travel to Milan, so I just did four shows this season. I assisted on the Molly Goddard Show, the Natasha Zinko Show and the Simone Rocha Show, and I was Lead Manicurist for the Osman Show.
When I first started in the Session world I said yes to everything and everyone, and that is always my key piece of advice to anyone wanting to do Session work.....say yes to everything once. If you don't enjoy the experience, for whatever reason, you need never say yes again, but you will learn from each experience - both good and bad.
I definitely say no to more things than I say yes to now, and that is not because I think I am ‘the big I am', neither is it because I am inundated with work and can afford to be choosy! It is quite simply because I have got to an age in life where I value my time, and spend that time wisely with people who are nice to be around and work with. There are people I have worked with along the way who are remarkably unpleasant, and whilst the job may be great, I just don't have the time or energy for it…kindness costs nothing. So, I now only say yes to the people I enjoy working with, and equally I only have people on my team regularly that are nice people.
The Molly Goddard Show
The Molly Goddard Show was a new one for me, assisting Saffron Goddard, and it was a show I had long wanted to do. It was a beautiful show within a leisure centre, strangely enough, and Saffron was really lovely to work with. The nail look was clean and fresh, which is often more difficult to achieve as you have nowhere to hide anything, which looked beautiful with the collection.
The Natasha Zinko Show
The next show was a very early one, Sunday morning, 6am, Natasha Zinko. This was another show I hadn't worked on before but it was with one of my all-time favourite people - Pebbles Aitken. She is such a lovely person and so encouraging, you really get the feeling that she is rooting for you to do well and I have always found her to be very supportive.
This show was staged outside, in the street, outside the Natasha Zinko shop near Dover Street. Thankfully the weather was good! Natasha's collection is always quite vibrant, and this collection was no exception. We had a variety of nail styles - both fingers and toes - with some models sporting bright green, others bright blue, some black and some lilac. Each set, irrelevant of colour, had water decals added to it to create some art.
The Osman Show
Later Sunday morning, I then had to head over to near Buckingham Palace, in the St James area, to Lead the Manicure team for Osman. This show was quite a contrast to the others I had done so far this season as it was set in a building on Carlton Terrace with beautiful architectural features, with high ceilings and chandeliers.
For this show I had been briefed by the designer beforehand that he wanted a French Manicure (they are going to be big news for Spring/Summer 2020 in various combinations) and he wanted them to be all the same and uniformed. The only way this was going to be achieved successfully was by making press-on nails. I needed to make 12 sets, plus spares in case of any being lost or them not fitting the nails well, before Sunday and this was Wednesday afternoon and I was fully booked with clients and shows until the event. I think I have long established that Session manicurists don't need sleep so after work every night, and between clients, I endeavoured to get all of these nails painted.
On the day of the show, I arrived equipped with my team, my pre-painted nails, my products - all supplied by Louella Belle who never fail to support my team and I with the best products to do our job. However, the stylist (who I had not met before) announced that there were now 16 models, not 12, and she didn't like French Manicure - it was too 80's!
What she wanted was a dark nail. Firstly, this was a Spring Summer Show, secondly the clothes were beautiful, heavily patterned and detailed, and dark nails were just not going to be right for this. Added to this, I hadn't brought any dark polishes with me as Osman had specifically requested and agreed to what I had done.
After a bit of toing and froing and me explaining that there are no shops open in London at 9am on a Sunday and dark nails just aren't going to work, she settled on a high shine, clean natural nail.
We did the best we could, with what we had, and actually I think the nails worked beautifully with the collection, very classic and sophisticated.
The Simone Rocha Show
Show three on the Sunday, and the last one for my London season, was Simone Rocha with Ama Quashie. I had never worked with Ama, neither had I done this show, so it was a season of new things in many ways.
The show was at Alexandra Palace, a beautiful location but literally miles from anywhere. It took an hour in an Uber to get there and when I arrived there was a big protest about Boris Johnson! Not what I needed. The nail look was a very simple, yet stylish, clean nail with a pearl placed either at the tip, or base, of the nail.
After the show I headed back to Paddington with my friend and we made our way back to Bristol with a reduced price snack and cocktail in a can….oh the glamour!
The next day I was off to Milan!