My footsteps echoed against the cobblestone streets of London’s Covent Garden in my nude Mary Jane flats at 7:20 a.m. on a Sunday morning. It was February, the sky was covered by a cloud blanket and the streets were empty and quiet, save for my footsteps and the rapid beat of my heart. Today was no ordinary Sunday. It was the Sunday of my PR Internship for London Fashion Week 2016, and I was early.
Wearing a blue silk, mint lace adorned dress with a trench coat and a fresh bob, I was trying to represent the old world glamour of the brand I was interning for, Jeff Garner’s Prophetik, a sustainably high fashion line that continues to grace international fashion weeks. I had grown up reading my mother’s Vogue volumes, making pretend magazines with pen and printer paper and watching Project Runway and Fashion Week catwalks like some would The Bachelor. You could say I was beyond excited, and slightly nervous to be actually attending the London Fashion Week for Prophetik’s Ruins and the Renaissance collection.
In my vintage outfit, I entered the doors of Freemason Hall exactly two and a half hours early for my 10:00 a.m. call time. As a member of Garner’s team, I was intructed to meet with Fashion Scout’s PR head to go over logistics. At the front desk, I asked what looked to be three fashion forward professionals, who could practically smell the rookie-ness off of me, where I may find this PR head. They could not help but smile when they asked what time I was supposed to meet her. They notified me she was not quite in the building at the moment.
Of course not, I thought. Why would she be in the building at 7:20 when I was told to meet her at 10? I roamed around the streets near Freemason, looking for a place to kill time, but there wasn’t much open until 8:00. I walked around in the crisp air for a bit to collect my thoughts before further enquiring the head’s whereabouts.
At last we were able to meet. She had an air of grace and refinement, and a British accent. While ready to be put to work (and it probably showing a little too much), I was instead given my PR wristband, advised to grab a cup of coffee and come back closer to 10:00.
That is when I stumbled upon what is to this day one of my favorite coffee shops: The Black Penny. It was an inviting space with an exposed brick, mint shelved wall filled with books. A flat white and bibliophile ambiance was the perfect way to start my dream of a day.
The next couple hours that followed took my breath away. The chaos of the show beforehand where I was being fed a million directions before I was supposed to carry them out. Learning the layout of the venue before I had to escort Jimmy Choo to his seat yet come up with five minute’s worth of intelligent conversation with him, a man I have practically held on a pedestal my entire life.
Then there was the moment where I finally had checked in all the VIP guests and escorted them to where they needed to go. After my job as a PR intern had finished, my job as a fashion journalist began. I was standing perfectly adjacent to the catwalk, front and center with the rest of the press relentlessly attempting to snap the “perfect” photos of garments that will only ever be that gorgeous in person.
The strums of the harpist hypnotized me as the white angelic, lace parasol accompanied finale gown swayed on stage. It was a multi-sensory experience, everything I had imagined fashion week would be and more. I, Kristin Vartan was beholding clothing on the London Fashion Week Catwalk at 19 years old. It had reaffirmed my career path. Fashion is a storytelling art form and I want to add an extra dimension to that story through the written word. I crave. Love it. Ache for it.
Within twenty minutes, the show was over. A stylish stampede followed. The guests quickly got up from their seats and other reporters rushed to the designer to obtain quotes for their stories. I was one of them. In a sea of people, as I was trying to grab Jeff Garner’s attention, I saw Jimmy Choo walking toward me.
Jimmy Choo. Walking toward me.
The down to earth designer came up to me and said we should get a picture together. Immediately, he gave me his card and asked me to send it to him. I had to pinch myself. Was I actually dreaming all of this up?
Nine months later, it is a marvel to see my life come around full circle. Again, I interviewed Jeff Garner and witnessed his collection, Nevermore at the SavvyChic Fashion Show, which was filled more exquisite era-rich gowns that are trademarks of his brand. My hair has grown, and so have my life experiences. I’m wearing a black lace shirt rather than a mint dress and a scalloped beige sweater skirt. I’ve traded flats for pumps. You could say I’ve gone from Ruins and the Renaissance to Nevermore.
Covering another Jeff Garner fashion show was a reminder that London Fashion Week did happen and I did not just dream it up. It was a pleasure and an honor that Garner had employed me and it was truly wonderful to speak with him again and ask how ‘Jimmy’ was doing. Needless to say, there have been signs in my life that this is the path God has put me on. While on it, you can expect me to be always stylish, giving my 110 percent. There will definitely be no stopping me.
Keeping it Krischic,