London: Behind the scenes at Mark Fast’s fall show

Mark Fast puts the finishing touches on a look worn by model Anouck Lepere. Photography by Fiona Garden

Karen Munnis is a London-based Canadian stylist who worked backstage on Mark Fast’s Fall 2010 show. Read on for her first-hand account of the action and some backstage shots.

Although preparation for fashion week happens months in advance, show day is always an exhilarating, albeit stressful, time for a designer. Saturday’s presentation of Canadian designer Mark Fast’s Fall 2010 collection on Saturday was no exception.

The fittings and casting at the Ten Manchester Street Hotel went well into the the night before the show (meaning 1 a.m.), the morning start is at a sensible 10 o’clock. Mark Fast arrives from his flat with a few underpinnings made at his atelier in North London. He’s met by stylist Daniela Agnelli to finalize the thirty looks to be shown at the Topshop venue later in the day. While the looks are being paired up with opaque tights and bespoke Christian Louboutin shoes–done in ruby red, burgundy, navy and tan knits to match the collection–breakfast is being ordered up by managing director Amanda May, who knows exactly what Fast likes to eat. “He’s my other husband!” she says.

The collection is loaded into a passenger van and Fast and Agnelli travel to the venue sandwiched between rolling racks. After taking a detour through central London due to road closures for the BAFTAs, the two finally arrive and are met by the eight full-time staff members and 10 volunteer dressers.

In the front row are Sarah Brown, wife of British prime minister Gordon Brown, and Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, who wore one of Fast’s navy blue mini-dresses a couple of days later. The crammed backstage is shared with designer Mary Katrantzou–a fellow Central Saint Martins alum–whose show directly follows Fast’s. Reporters from Fashion Television and Style Nation interview Fast about his inspiration for the collection–sculptor Dimitri Chiparus. (Hair stylist Tracey Cahoon gives a nod to Tilda Swinton for the beauty looks.) A tribe of photographers and cameramen fight for backstage snaps as the team makes final touches to the girls as they line up for the show.

The heavy drums, mixed by DJ Toby Lyons, begin and model Delphine Bafort steps out in the opening look. Twenty-year-old model Amber Le Bon, daughter of Simon and Yasmin, wears two looks including a burgundy suede jacket and skirt, while Anouck Lepere, one of the faces of the Faster campaign, closes the show in a mustard dress and matching heels to a remix of the fittingly titled Jennifer Lopez track “Louboutins.”

See a video of the show

Immediately after show, Fast is swarmed back stage with congrats from Dazed & Confused editor Jefferson Hack and fashion eccentric Hilary Alexander of the Daily Telegraph. Susie Bubble interviews Fast for her uber-popular blog Style Bubble. Within moments, the clothes are placed in garment bags and taken to Somerset House to be displayed for the London Fashion Week exhibition and Fast heads off to have a celebratory dinner with his parents, Edith and Waldo, and sister Roslynn who have flown in from Winnipeg to see the collection.

After dinner, it’s back at the Ten Manchester for a close knit (excuse the pun) wrap party of Fast’s team, friends and family. With most of his staff wearing his designs, including May, who at eight-and-a-half months pregnant looks gorgeous wearing a custom dress (worn originally by ‘normal sized’ model Hayley Morley at the Spring 2010 show in September), it shows clearly that Fast’s sexy knits are for every woman and every size.