The CoatCheck Tales

stories about stuff, but mostly fashion

The Illusion of Fashion

Hello People!

Since I was in fashion school I always felt fascinated on working backstage of fashion shows. I used my charms to be friends with the people in charge of giving these kind of gigs (producers/designers/professors) and also learned to sneak-in into back stages shamelessly, just pretending to be in a hurry, talking fast and dropping names, to the door people and of course, lying.

I worked in a lot of fashion shows dressing and undressing models.


Backstage. Helping the models change garments

I never cared about models in a glamorous way. I of course respect them as human beings but sadly I think of them as moving mannequins, being the most important thing, the clothes.

At the beginning I mostly worked with couture designers, the dresses were beautifully made but the zippers sometimes would rip and had to replace them or do something!!! so the garment would stay on. Also putting corsets on was a pain in the arse, with all that pulling the ties and fitting and pulling and…..what do you do with all that long cord?! All those hundreds of tiny buttons on wedding gowns, yikes! It all had to be put together in seconds! and while we were dressing the model, stylists were grooming her and make up artists retouching  make up. Hot and claustrophobia ALERT!


Last minute adjustments 

A wee of hair spray


Final touches, ironing details

As we were students, it was an obsession to examine every garment inside first: to see the details in the finishing, how the garment was sewn, and then the outside, which was less of a mystery.


Inside the dress

Funny thing: when I traveled back to present my thesis I invited my dear friends with whom I used to go in to these fashion adventures (awe I miss them!) and before my presentation they saw my dresses and immediately, before having a general look of the garment, they flipped them inside out. I waited for their comments……They approved! phew…you can check some of my work at

So when you work behind the scenes, you find out that everything’s all fake, everything is an illusion for the camera, for us to dream about perfection and beauty.

For runway shows we quickly alter the clothes so the models look good on them, you only need to do enough so the garment looks decent on  the catwalk for one time. Meaning that the models don’t have to feel comfortable on the clothes and won’t have to stretch or have much movement so would not rip them apart. Meaning also that those samples are trashed, maybe wearable for a photoshoot, gifted to fans or repurposed. Mostly ready-to-wear is a waste.

Models are really skinny and everything looks good on them even if it’s not the right size, but the stylist has the last word on the fitting, that’s why I have a job, because they always want to change something.

I worked for this X company once, and the stylist made us remove all the sleeves and lapels from the jackets! and transform most of the regular pants into sweatpants-like. The design changed completely but it looked good on the runway.


When you work at a photoshoot is a wee different, you alter the clothes a lot, specially make them smaller and tighter, again, you trash the clothes for further use. You can also clip the garments though, yes literally with butterfly clips.

models behind the scenes

Behing the scenes or…behind the models’ behinds (I took these pics in one of my jobs)511440101403084494_vj02i04W_c

I found this picture a long time ago and wanted an excuse to use it! I’m sure the front of the dress looked gorgeous!

That’s how fashion works, it’s an illusion, I wish I could clip my jacket or tape a very small dress in the back and get away with it in the real world, don’t you?

Thanks for stopping by 🙂


* Some of the pictures used in this post, were borrowed from other websites and are used only for demonstration/illustration of the written data only. Sources available upon request.

5 comments on “The Illusion of Fashion

  1. Isaac J. Hall
    January 4, 2013

    Hey you have a nice blog here, I will follow you please do the same if you see fit too
    Isaac Hall

  2. Gerald
    January 8, 2013

    i respect them for being mannequins… haha.. y.. ahi están las cosas coloridas graves como se había predicho.. 🙂

  3. fabrickated
    December 11, 2014

    This is an extemely intereseting and important post. I think more women need to be aware of the illusion point. Thank you.

    • the coatcheck tales
      December 11, 2014

      Thank you very much for your comment and for following my blog! I really appreciate it.

  4. the coatcheck tales
    December 20, 2014

    Reblogged this on 14/90 and commented:

    I decided to reblog this post because most of us, women, are hunted day by day with this illusion of perfection that we are supposed to follow: Being skinny, pretty, dress with the newest trends and so. I wanted to illustrate though, that even apparently -perfect-looking-women have flaws, and that most of the time the images are just it, an image, that the ideal is just a construct of merchants and publicists, in order to sell their product.

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