Our talk with Pier 59’s Consultant – Fashion Programming & Producer CHRISTINA D. NEAULT
BY KENNETH RICHARD
Nice to see you before all the chaos and busy season at Pier59. So Christina, how did you become a fashion show producer?
Christina D. Neault: I went to FIT for production management in apparel/textiles and when I graduated, production was quickly being sourced oversees. I started helping part time at the Men’s Fashion Association, which was a non-profit trade organization that promoted men’s fashion in America. Basically, I unpacked, cataloged, hung up clothes, and when we got backstage to do the show, the Fashion Director said, ‘You know the models and the clothes better than me,’ took his head set off, put it on my head and walked away.
That was the first fashion show I had ever been to! Truly thrown in the deep end! I worked there full time for several years and then went freelance, working for many of the designers that were members of the organization. One of my other clients was 7th on Sixth and I worked NYFW as a venue manager until I went in-house in 2002, when IMG purchased the event to work on NYFW and help develop events in Miami and Los Angeles. I left IMG in 2013 and now consult internationally with designers and brands and produce events and shows.
From the deep end to jumping across the pond. How have shows changed in the last five years?
The main thing that has changed is the audience. What used to be an audience of long lead press and buyers has increasingly been replaced with bloggers, online press and consumers. We are providing immediate content for outlets that in the past was not released for 4 or 5 months. Shows definitely used to be more for the audience that was in the room. In a way, it was more theatrical in the 360° way, and now more seamless for the live stream, etc. The backstage and front row have also become increasingly important content for social media.
With all the talk of ‘see-now, buy-now’ shows, does the timing of shows matter in the big scheme?
I think it depends on the designer. Each designer is going to have to decide on what works best for them. This works well for designers with shorter lead times, but not as well for designers with a longer production window and higher price points.
What do you think the next evolution of shows will be?
We will be seeing more online integration and more consumers at shows. The bottom line is, nothing can take the place of seeing the clothes in person and moving on a model.
What was your favorite show experience?
There is no one show! Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the greats in American fashion.
I worked with Geoffrey Beene on a show he did one season – I was fairly young and a big fan of his and also kind of scared of him. I could see him staring at me throughout the production and he asked to meet me – he was sweet and complimentary. The day after the show, my doorbell rang (in Queens) – and he had a signed copy of his book thanking me for all I did to make his show successful. It may seem small, but it was HUGE to a young fashion enthusiast!