Shoelace disasters, last-minute makeup and more behind-the-scenes mayhem at Toronto Fashion Week

Shoelace disasters, last-minute makeup and more behind-the-scenes mayhem at Toronto Fashion Week

A minute-by-minute recap of the countdown to Mackage's runway show

The crowd at Mackage’s spring show on Wednesday night saw serene-looking models float down the runway in perfectly put-together outfits. Backstage, however, was a more chaotic story: makeup artists, stylists, designers and models had just over an hour to get ready (for some, it was a lot less). We went backstage before the 9 p.m. show to see, minute-by-minute, how they pulled it off.

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

7:45 p.m. A few models walking in the 8 p.m. Pink Tartan show are still getting last-minute touch-ups at the hair and makeup stations. Meanwhile, models for Mackage start trickling in and taking their seats.

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

Rita Remark, the lead nail artist for Essie, is backstage with her nail team. The Mackage models will be sporting a black, gold and green design (the one on the far left). “We have less than an hour to do everyone’s nails,” says Remark. “Luckily I have an amazing team with steady hands. Everyone carries an angled eyeliner brush for fixing mistakes.”

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

8:00 p.m. With an hour to go, models start getting coiffed. For Mackage, the look is a half-head of tiny french braids, with the other side tousled and messy. The secret hairstyling weapon? Aerosol mousse.

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

8:15 p.m. When hair and nails are done, models move into the makeup chairs. Meanwhile, Mackage designers Eran Elfassy and Elisa Dahan carefully examine each outfit in the nearby prep room.

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

Grace Lee, the lead makeup artist for Maybelline New York, has been working on the Mackage makeup look for three weeks. “It’s a city look for cool kids, which I like because it’s so unexpected for spring,” she says. She runs between each station checking on the models’ makeup. “Lips need more red!” she says. The other artists watch as she demonstrates a fix.

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

8:20 p.m. A few Pink Tartan models are also walking in the Mackage show. They rush backstage to have their looks “flipped” (meaning hair, nails and makeup are completely changed). Each flip takes a team of four or five stylists. “It’s all about speed,” says Lee.

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

8:25 p.m. An announcer yells that anyone walking in Mackage needs to be in the prep room in five minutes. The models rush around with their hair held back in clips (tissue paper prevents it leaving a mark in the hair).

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

8:30 p.m. Models start heading into the prep room to change into their first looks. “We wanted the aesthetic to be industrial yet polished,” says designer Dahan. “We took our classic leather jackets and added edgy details like studs and fringe.”

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

8:45 p.m. Once dressed, the models line up in the order they’re set to walk.

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

8:50 p.m. It’s all about the last-minute details. For instance, it’s someone’s job to rub lotion on all the models’ legs.

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

8:55 p.m. Hairstylists and makeup artists jump from model to model, touching up lipstick and adding volume to hair.

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

9:04 p.m. The show starts—and the touch-ups continue.

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

9:08 p.m. Models strut off the runway and sprint back to the prep area to change into their second looks. One male model can’t do up his shoelaces in time. He’s cut from the second half of the show.

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

9:10 p.m. It’s the job of Mackage’s marketing coordinator to grab all the sunglasses off the models as they rush back in for the finale.

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

9:15 p.m. The show is over, and the designers celebrate briefly backstage before heading outside to do press interviews. Elfassy and Dahan agree that the most stressful part of the process is all the little things they can’t control. “The coats are always fine! It’s things like shoelaces that cause the biggest disasters.”