Saturday, October 4, 2014

Patricia Field and two Project Runway contestants

First floor of Britex

A week ago I read in the Britex newsletter that Patricia Field, Richard Hallmarq, and Emily Payne would be speaking at their store on Friday, Oct 3rd. One had to register, but it was free. The price was right, so I decided to take a half day off work and check it out.

I guess I am ignorant about who's who in the TV and movie costuming world, because I had never heard of Patricia Field, but I have seen her work. From the Britex site:

Patricia Field, fashion legend, designer, stylist, costumer and retailer is best known for her work as costumer on HBO's Sex and the City. She won several Emmy Awards for her work on the series and was nominated for an Academy Award for costume design for the movie Devil Wears Prada. Patricia will be appearing at Benicia Fashion Runway Weekend October 3-5.

I arrived early to (hopefully) get a good spot. The event was held on the first floor and there is no room for chairs, so it was an everybody-stands-around-islands-of-fabric-for-two-plus-hours, sort of situation. Luckily I don't mind standing. :)

Patricia Field is a hoot and a half. She is a "broad's broad", irreverent, funny, and down to earth.

She has shocking red hair (and you know I love that) and she is quick to laugh.

I could listen to her stories for hours. Besides her film and television work, she owns a shop in NYC which sounds like an interesting destination. Her talk ranged widely and she answered many audience questions. Topics included what she learned from Meryl Streep, what inspires her, how she got into the business, how she considers herself more of a business person than an artist, what she thinks about studying fashion in school vs interning, how she approaches styling an actor for a role, NYC versus San Francisco.

One of the nicest compliments she ever received was from Stanley Tucci, whom she worked with on Devil Wears Prada. In an interview he said that he didn't know who his character was until he left his first session with Patricia. When he walked out, he knew who that character was. Someone asked about the iconic tutu that Sarah Jessica Parker wears in the opening for Sex and the City. She said she was in a designer's warehouse and found it when rummaging through a bin, under a lot of other stuff. It cost something like $5 and she wasn't sure if it would even be useful, but she grabbed it.

Patricia was the main event, but she wasn't the only guest speaker. After she had been speaking for over an hour, Richard Hallmarq and Emily Payne were invited up. Richard is an alum from season 11 of Project Runway. He is now living and working in NYC where he is creating and getting his work out there. He met Patricia through another stylist who showed some of Richard's work to her, and she now carries his items in her shop.

Emily is a contestant on the current season (#13) of Project Runway. She has worked at Britex, on the first floor, for years and is now back since filming has finished. (As of this week, she is still in the competition and they are down to the final 5, so maybe she'll be showing for real at NY Fashion Week, and not just a decoy collection.)

I had been in Britex on Thursday, looking at wool fabrics for my next project, and Emily waited on me. She really knows the inventory, but I didn't mention at the time that I recognized her from PR. I am sure she gets that all of the time and maybe it gets old. I admire how she has conducted herself on Project Runway—she never contributes to the emotionally charged drama. It does mean that she gets less airtime, given how the producers like to showcase the drama.

Richard and Emily spoke, though more briefly. They largely answered audience questions, including what inspires them, and some business challenges that they have (and do) face.

After the 2+ hours of talking, the event broke out into a meet and greet. People swarmed the speakers, especially Patricia—particularly fashion students, eager to absorb her knowledge, experience, and secrets of success. I had a chance to speak one-on-one to all three speakers after things had wound down and most folks had left—it was very casual and each one was approachable and easy to talk to.

Richard duck-face'd me!
He is a lot of fun!

Emily is so gorgeous that it distracted me when I took our selfie—in the first one I have a slack look on my face because I'm intently watching her. I suspect she used to model, because she really knows her angles

I love how Patricia's glasses match her flaming red hair!

I loved the vest that Emily was wearing and I'm sure she designed it herself. She made it using a Britex fabric and she used the beautiful selvedge in a clever way along the neck edge and across the back. The back of the vest had Tuxedo-like tails, but they looked almost as if they'd been folded from the fabric. I wonder if this is a garment she makes for her line. (She did mention that her Etsy shop would get maybe 100 hits before PR and over 100,000 after. That's some serious exposure.)

I took several photos but I didn't really capture the detail, especially of the back, but it was very inspiring!

I wish I could go to the Benicia fashion show tonight to see Patricia speak and also to see Richard's and Emily's runway shows, but it won't work for me. If any of you do go, please share!

Shaina, one of my favorite Britex sales folks, enjoys a chat with Patricia
Doesn't Patricia look great?! Like a matchstick!

By the way, a big shout out to Tanya, AKA Mrs Hughes! She and I were both contestants in FabricMart's sewing competition last year and she also attended the event yesterday and said hello. I didn't know that she lived that close to SF!

I dithered for a full week, but I have finally decided what I am doing with the gorgeous Marcy Tilton fabric and I'm stoked. I am waiting some supplies (of course), so I expect for this to be a weekend of altering patterns and muslins. I also hope to be posting my Britex project soon. (I'm waiting for them to post first.) I'd better get off the computer and to the sewing machine! (Especially before it gets too hot...)

Happy Weekend!