A Day In The Life: Lakshmi Menon
With campaigns for Givenchy and MaxMara in the bag—not to mention an extensive list of bookings this season—Ford’s Lakshmi Menon is one of 2009′s hottest models. Style.com caught up with the stunner from South India on one of her many sleep-deprived days of New York fashion week.
Here, we track her hour by hour.
Backstage at Badgley Mischka, Menon carries on a digital dialogue with her agent via BlackBerry (an accessory as necessary to a model’s wardrobe as a chic carryall) while getting her makeup done. “It’s part of the job, staying calm,” she says. “The tough part is Paris fashion week, when you’re done with New York, London, Milan, and you’re completely worn out and people start pulling and tugging at your hair—that’s the real test.”
Menon slips into her first look—a black wool coat, elbow-length gloves, and black platforms. “I’m going to test the shoes out,” she announces. “Just to make sure they’re not going to slip off.” Cue professional sashay.
One of the first three girls in the lineup, Menon talks shop with
Georgina Stojilkovic and Sessilee Lopez. They debate hair extensions. Consensus: Horrible.
She hits the runway.
Show over, Lakshmi dons her street clothes—skinny jeans, black riding boots, and a T-shirt. “Quick and easy,” she says of the show. “That’s how I like most things to be. You prepare for almost two hours and then you’re on the runway for exactly 30 seconds and it’s over. That’s about as glamorous as it gets.”
En route to Derek Lam, Menon hits traffic. “I don’t think there are any parties this season,” she says. “Everyone’s broke.” Plunking away on her BlackBerry, she makes plans for dinner that night at an Indian restaurant with friends. “It’s difficult to do the party thing, anyway, especially when you’re working. I mean, you finish shows at 8 or 8:30 in the evening and you’re kind of tired, you know? I prefer to give my body a rest.”
Backstage at Derek Lam, a cramped labyrinth of rooms and corridors, Menon lands in the hands of famed makeup artist Tom Pecheux. “Tell them I’ll do the interview later,” Pecheux tells his PR rep, referring to a line of foreign journalists. “I have the golden girl here now.” He smiles adoringly in the makeup mirror at Lakshmi.
Menon has a few bites of a ham and mozzarella sandwich. “Feeling sleepy,” she says from her chair. Pecheux finishes her face and she’s led over to hair guru Orlando Pita. Menon’s locks are swept into a high ponytail, the better to show off the collection’s high collars.
Menon gets into her first look for Lam: A taupe double-knit dress with a single fox ring round the neck.
It’s all over. Again. She has walked, changed, removed her makeup, air-kissed goodbye, and is en route to her fitting at Ports 1961.
Menon exits the changing room in her final look, a vibrant crimson and pink dress with a billowy overlay. “It’s perfect on her!” one woman gushes.
Back in her town car, Menon heads to her apartment downtown and orders Thai food. “I like Thai. You know why? Because it’s close to the Indian flavor, especially South Indian, which is where I come from.” After eating she takes a 45-minute nap and heads back to the tents for Tibi.
The hair-and-makeup ritual completed for the third time that day, Menon endures a barrage of picture-takers. “Not now,” Lakshmi snaps at a particularly pushy photog who has shoved his camera in her face. “Maybe later.” But when two Indian-American girls come up, one by one, and ask if they can photograph her, Menon smiles and obliges.
Day almost done (it seems the actual modeling of the clothes is the least of a catwalker’s ordeals), Menon ponders her future beyond that night’s dinner. “I don’t know what I’m going to do next,” she says. “But something will come up that will grab my interest, that’s for sure.” Something fashion related—a clothing line, perhaps? “I don’t think so,” she says. “Modeling is hard enough!”