Hard fashion in Eleven Minutes

By Malwina Gudowska

Bryant Park is synonymous with the glamour and glitz that is New York Fashion Week. Each year in February and September the imposing white tents are erected and for one dazzling week, designers, models, editors and celebrities gather to see the collections and be photographed in their amazing ensembles.

Even though there are off-site shows, most new designers dream of showing their collections “at the tents” because that’s where the action is. But unless you are owned by a big conglomerate like the Gucci Group, have a big sponsor to back you or are independently wealthy, it can be financially impossible to show there. Just renting a tent in Bryant Park can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and that’s not including the many other details of staging, on average, an 11-minute fashion show.

In Eleven Minutes, a documentary about Jay McCarroll, the winner of the first season of Project Runway, and his journey preparing for his first show in New York, the hard, unglamorous facts of staging a show are thoroughly explored. Screened at the CIFF Wednesday evening, the entertaining, heartwarming, and humorous documentary follows McCarroll before his September 2006 runway show at Bryant Park and his struggles not only with his collection, but also his attempt at moving away from reality TV.
Post-screening the crowd was treated to a Q & A with director/producer Michael Selditch, who filmed McCarroll through the entire process of creating and presenting his collection. Although he wouldn’t reveal how much McCarroll was given by The Humane Society (his major sponsor for that season), he did tell us that McCarroll never once asked for the cameras to stop rolling even when the going got really tough. For example, being slotted last in the tents when most fashion editors are already on route to London Fashion Week.

We won’t say too much more, if you see the film, those of you who are fans of Kelly Cutrone, the owner of PR firm People’s Revolution, and former employer of Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port of The Hills will be treated to her no nonsense, hard-hitting, full of f-bombs attitude. There is also an appearance by a 1990s Canadian model, the shaven-headed Ève Salvail.

Although McCarroll, who is working on a fabric line in Philadelphia wasn’t there, Selditch put him on speakerphone post-screening. He thanked the crowd for coming and apologized for not being there because he said, he was busy taking care of other things at home—Sarah Palin to be specific.

Shown: Fashion designer Jay McCarroll in a still from Eleven Minutes. Visit jaymccarrolldocumentary.com

Malwina Gudowska is FASHION’s Alberta reporter. Click to read the latest shop notes from Calgary and Edmonton.

Read all of FASHIONs coverage of the Calgary International Film Festival.

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