Monday, October 3, 2011

W&G Faces Of Fashion: Going Behind The Scenes Of London Fashion Week with Amy O' Leary

Remember the days of school or college when you and your friends would sit there and discuss who would be the most likely to marry a football player, be the head of a vast business empire or working the way up the tricky ladder of the fashion industry, well to me it was always destined that my good friend Amy O' Leary would land somewhere at the top of the fashion industry. Having worked for several prestigious Public Relations agencies in Ireland, Amy made the leap from Dublin to London earlier this year and has been working heavily with Irish designer Paul Costelloe behind the scenes on his SS 2012 collections and also on the lead up to London Fashion Week which happened several weeks back. In between her extensive work commitments at Paul Costelloe, juggling life in a new city and building her website Polka Dots, Pearls and Wedges which brings readers behind the scenes of the fashion industry, Amy took the time to speak to Wintour&Guinness recently about everything from fashion, friends and finding her niche in London.


Amy, can you give the readers of Wintour&Guinness a brief idea of a normal working day for you and a little about the role you play at Paul Costelloe?My day is comprised of various jobs such as sending out photo's ( for example the recent London Fashion Week shots) to all areas of the media, to arranging travel for the team, or meetings and general enquiries on the phone.

You upped and moved from Ireland, landed in London and have immersed yourself in this crazy world of fashion. What has been the the biggest surprise for you and what has been the biggest lesson you have learned about the industry from your time at Paul Costelloe?I recently moved here to focus on my career in fashion media. I landed on my feet with the internship at Paul Costelloe and am currently interviewing for several positions in fashion marketing or PR. The most exciting thing so far during my time with Paul Costello was definitely working backstage at LFW. I was dressing one of the models and helping out on other aspects of the show backstage as well as general organisation of the set up back stage. It was an amazing experience and the show was a huge success for Paul. The photography and broadcast media side of fashion is an amazing aspect of backstage, at the PC show we had the Xpose TV crew there and two photographers as well as all the models, stylists, hair and make up crews so it was a pretty hectic but an exciting place to be! Jimmy Choo and Autumn Philips were just some of the big names in the front row which was great for the brand!



How about any advice from the main man himself?
For me one of the most important lessons I heard from him was during an interview he did with CNN after the LFW show about being passionate about what you do. He said, 'I love dressing women, I enjoy women's company and its a wonderful career to have. As a designer, the clothes must be exciting. London is a youthful and commercial orientated market'

What is your favorite part of working in fashion so far?
I love the buzz and atmosphere that surrounds the fashion industry. It is something I've always had a flare for and I'm interested in how new seasons are marketed towards the various target audiences. Creativity and thinking outside the box are important factors for a job in fashion and I have a particular interest in social and online media platforms. I am an avid reader of consumer and industry fashion magazines and blogs (blogs such as http://www.myfashionlife.com/ and http://www.bipling.com/ are my faves) I read Elle and Vogue as well as Irish magazines such as Image, The Gloss and Irish Tatler for inspiration for my blog as well as personal style.



You have been lucky enough to build some great fashion contacts since you got to London and are in a great position to show people not in the industry what exactly goes on behind the scenes - whats been your fave part of LFW so far?I went to Simone Rocha's show and she had some interesting and lovely pieces in unique colours like acid green. A highlight for me during LFW was when we were leaving Paul's show - there were so many photographers and bloggers around Somerset house, I couldn't believe it! Its was a fantastic atmosphere.

London for me feels like home in some ways - I feel a huge connection to the city and I know I'll be back there someday. what is it about London that captivates you. Can you give Wintour&Guinness your London Little Black Book of your fave spots so far.
London is a great place for style watching! Its got an eclectic mix of people with some amazingly unique style.

Bluebird for lunch- Kings Road
The Orangery - Kensington Palace- for lunch or drinks
Juju's then Raffles - Kings Road (night out!)
Selfridge's for shopping and sushi!
Asia de cuba- Saint Martins Lane Hotel
Aqua- regent street 

  

So what will be happening after LFW is all done and dusted.
With LFW finished, there was lots of tidying up to be done in the office and studio afterwards. We've just moved to a smaller office so everyone is working hard to get the place going again! Apart from that I've been pricing up materials for autumn/winter 2013 and pricing the SS '12 collection as well as doing small projects for Paul.

Polka Dots Pearls And Wedges is your new blog, can you tell me a bit about it, your influences and what your hopes for the blog are?Before I came to London, I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog about London Fashion Week as I was working backstage at the Paul Costelloe SS'12 show, then I decided to make it broader by writing about fashion and lifestyle subjects - so I've kept it up since fashion week and writing a few posts a week. Its a great way to show your writing skills to potential employers and my friends from both the UK and Ireland seem to love it! My friend Clara and I came up with the name as its the typical thing you'd see in my style.


Amy O' Leary is the author of Polka Dots Pearls And Wedges and also works for the fashion label Paul Costelloe. For more information on Amy and to get a behind the scenes look at life in the fashion industry make sure to check out her website here.

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