Behind-the-Scenes at NYFW: King's Students Work with FTL Moda

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Ilaria Niccolini stood behind the curtain, nervously peeking out at the audience.  “Don’t worry, it’s going to be fine,” murmured the founder and producer of FTL Moda.  Niccolini moved to the states from Florence in 2000 when she decided to focus on supporting the commercialization of Italian companies. She founded FTL MODA in 2007 which acts as a platform to showcase new fashion talents and internationally ­recognized brands of Italy. A catwalk show is an intense experience; everybody involved only gets one shot to prove themselves—designers, to showcase their upcoming line; models, to represent the designer well; Niccolini and FTL Moda’s art director, Pablo Patanè, to present to the world what has taken months of energy and networking to put together, to showcase brilliant new ideas.  And for the third season, FTL Moda enlisted King’s students to help keep things running smoothly at The Angel Orensanz Foundation FTL Moda Production, which recently took place on February 15.

Models pose backstage at the FTL Moda production. Photo by Megan LeBlanc.

Backstage, the crew ran frantically about, shouting commands and shooing models into their positions.  Downstairs, makeup artists threw around the last bottle of hairspray and swabbed from the same makeup palette. Models ran around barefoot, clinging to heels and a ball of indiscernible clothes, trying find their dressing rooms in the complex maze of the old church. Megan LeBlanc ('19), from the House of Barton, threw me a stunned look as I asked how her day had been volunteering. “Insane,” was her quick reply as she herded a young model into a room.

King's volunteers were involved in helping Niccolini or Patanè gather information from the models, hang up, steam and organize clothing, label fitting rooms, set up chairs front of house, distribute gift bags, create name tags and dress models backstage.

The Angel Orensanz Foundation FTL Moda Production works with AIDS Healthcare Foundation to feature nontraditional models, such as the strong and dedicated Madeline Stuart, a nineteen year-old professional model with Down's syndrome who has walked at New York Fashion Week twice and is changing society's perception of beauty.

Garments worn at this year's NYFW. Photo by Megan LeBlanc.

After volunteering at New York Fashion Week with FTL Moda in the past, King's-own Matthew Brunicardi ('16) was offered a job with FTL Moda as External Relations Director.  After Brunicardi gave his introduction speech, the lights went off, and it was showtime.

King’s volunteers proudly lined either side of the majestic church’s main sanctuary, behind the guests, eager to see what their hard weekend of work had earned them: the right to witness first­-hand one of the world’s most exciting events of the year. No phones were out to capture the moment—everybody was in too much awe. Any movement, even if for a brief moment, meant looking away from the catwalk and potentially missing the most exquisite dress, or the most exotic face.

Niccolini allowed herself a moment to beam, and then it was back to focus and control.  It was fashion week, after all.