This spring Los Angeles Fashion Week put on their seasonal three day event at the Peterson Automotive Museum on Museum Row in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles. The runway was situated in the center of an exhibit, which was lined with collectible sports cars, as well as luxury sponsor brands. Designers such as Bless by Bless, Humans, Demobaza, Jimmy Paul, Rocky Star and Justin Mensinger for HBO Max's The Hype sent models down the runway in their stunning apparel.
Sarah Shen (@sarahshenphoto) is a fashion, beauty and product photographer based in Los Angeles. It was her first time shooting the iconic event. In the past, she had snuck into shows at New York Fashion Week to photograph street photography style images. Because of these experiences, she wanted to find out if she could shoot for this season's LAFW as a staff photographer. She contacted the media team and was added to the roster after they reviewed her portfolio.
She could feel the energy as soon as she walked in - she loved it. The day had already begun and models were rehearsing. During the day she photographed runway rehearsals where a coach corrected models in walking and posing. Each show had a unique runway path, so rehearsals were essential for a successful show. She also shot the hectic backstage where makeup, hair, nails and wardrobe hurriedly took place in small rows of crowded chairs, makeup palettes, blow dryers and clothing racks. Shen reflects, "It was my first time ever photographing backstage at a show, so I had no idea what to expect." She lightheartedly comments that "photographers got into everyone's business, trying to document the whole process" of models getting their hair, makeup and nails done while figuring out where to be to have their clothing looks assembled. "I feel like I'm someone who thrives in chaos - it helps me feel productive and energized," Shen adds. "It kept me going while we were all on our feet for hours on end."
Off to the left of the backstage area is a small photography studio, made entirely of white walls. Some photographers utilized this studio to photograph models after they are done with the beauty process and are wearing the designer's full pieces. This studio has curved white walls, ideal for shooting fashion. Shen took advantage of this, although this location proved to have similar disadvantages to shooting in the main backstage area. "It was a bit challenging to shoot because there were so many people rushing to photograph the same model, or there were people in the background of shots." However, she also says, "it was a lot of fun to work with constraints and make the most out of what I had access to."
Michael Cinco is a well known designer based in Dubai. He was a headliner at LAFW this season and created clothing that expressed airy, ethereal qualities. The collection is titled "The Impalpable Dream of PEACE." Many of the outfits were entirely white, some emulated a ghostly vibe. Cinco's inspiration is derived from doves, a symbol of peace, love and new beginnings. He says the doves "transcend cultures and traditions... they are inclusive and most of all, they are born out of love."
Shen enjoyed her time at LA Fashion Week. "I loved getting to have an up-close look at all of the designers' beautiful pieces and having an insider look at the process behind a show." She loved the energy that is almost palpable in the backstage and runway areas. "The Michael Cinco show in particular had some of the most ethereal pieces I'd seen in person, and it was an experience to remember."