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a day in the life of: patrik rzepski, fashion designer

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My inspiration for the Spring 2009 womenswear collection came from the news clips of the women from the Yearning for Zion ranch. Their convictions about living a pure life made me want to explore aspects of purity—and impurity—as a designer. I was lucky enough to work with an incredible team to help realize my vision. Show producer Lindsay Pauly brought everything together beautifully—venue, lighting, sound, choreography…the list goes on. Music is a crucial component of all my shows, and this season my friend Kenyon Phillips from the band Unisex Salon collaborated with me to put together a stark mix that included fractured soundscapes from David Byrne, Grauzone, and Riz Ortolani. Casting genius Julius Poole found me the most gorgeous and distinctive models I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, while Corinna Springer from Nouveau-PR did an incredible job of getting the word out to some of the top editors and buyers in town. What follows is a quick rundown of the whirlwind known as show day.

7:30 a.m.

I have my last production meeting to go over some exciting new additions to the lighting and set with Lindsay. Seeing as we were working well into the night, I find it miraculous that she shows up looking absolutely stunning—and in the highest Nicholas Kirkwood heels I’ve ever seen.

10 a.m.

Even though my good buddy Larry Paul usually cuts my hair, it’s become something of a day-of-show ritual to walk down to Astor Place, grab a big Mud coffee, and go see Tyco at Astor Place Hairstylist for a trim. I’ve been going to Tyco for almost a decade, and if you butter him up, he’ll show you old pictures of the St. Marks punks whose hair he used to cut.

1:30 p.m.

I arrive at our venue, the Caledonia on West 16 Street between Ninth and Tenth avenues. It’s controlled chaos backstage—which is a good thing. Hair and makeup are moving along at a fast clip, and the girls already look amazing. As the last of the lighting rigs go up, I almost get plowed over by Elena Melnik practicing her walk.

2:53 p.m.

My buddies from London, Luke Worrall and Kelly Osbourne, come by to wish me some luck. Kelly picks out a dress to wear to the show.

3 p.m.

Even though we’re still waiting on a couple of models to show up, my parents set my mind at ease with their hard work and positive attitude. I can safely say that my parents win the award for most supportive Mom and Dad ever. My father, a teacher, can always be found with a wrench in hand helping out the crew before a show. My mom, a psychologist, whips up a great spread backstage to feed our hungry team of crew members and models. Without all the helping hands from friends and family, there’s no way the show could go on.

4:20 p.m.

All the girls are dressed, and the music and lighting are perfect. The first girl hits the runway. In what feels like 20 seconds, the show is already over—and I’m being pushed out to take a bow.

7 p.m.

After a massive breakdown, the collection is back on the racks in the studio. I’m finally free to celebrate with my family, friends, and incredible staff. Life is good.

Photo: Courtesy of Patrik Rzepski

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