What It’s Like to Put Together a Fashion Week Show, According to Rebecca Vallance
After launching in 2011 and showing her first collection in Paris soon after, Rebecca Vallance is one of Australia’s most notable new designers.
In 2015 she was nominated by Marie Claire Magazine as ‘Best New Up-and-Coming Australian Designer’ and awarded Runner-Up in the ‘International Woolmark Prize.’
Her truly global aesthetic have seen her pieces become a favourite amongst stylish women including Kerry Washington, Lady Gaga, Hayley Bieber, Priyanka Chopra, Aubrey Plaza, Sienna Miller, Eva Longoria, Molly Sims, Rachel McAdams, Chrissy Teigen, Chanel Iman, Joan Smalls, Halle Berry, Sofia Vergara, Kate Beckinsale, Coco Rocha, Behati Prinsloo, and many more.
Vallance returned to Afterpay Australian Fashion Week in 2021 to celebrate 10 years of the brand in Australia, showcasing her ‘Holiday’ Collection, with late-night party girl vibes, and the simple but classic Australian style that she’s known for (watch the 10th Anniversary Runway Show here.)
Having had shows in all the major fashion capitals; New York, Paris and Milan, she’s a total pro at putting on a runway show, and understands all the ins and outs of what it takes to prepare.
We caught up with Vallance ahead of AAFW, to chat about what it’s like to put on a fashion show; the highs, the lows and the feeling of watching your designs come to life.
PS: Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in Fashion Week to date?
RV: We have presented four collections on the global schedule, including two shows at New York Fashion Week and two shows at Sydney Fashion Week.
Last year marked our ten year anniversary of the brand, so it felt appropriate to show it at home in Sydney. We presented our holiday collection to align with the Norther Hemisphere as these collections are the most representative of the brand identity. This was a way for us to really showcase a collection for our home audience that embodies the brand DNA.
It was wonderful to produce a runway last year, as none of the buyers could travel and we could create a digital representation to view the collection. The international buyers view our collections in New York each season, and it was wonderful to be able to showcase the Holiday collection on the runway.
How do you get invited to be in Fashion Week?
Traditionally, it’s always been through the industry, whether working in media or public relations, or on the talent side as a celebrity or top-tier influencer. Sometimes VIP customers and friends of the brand are invited to particular brand presentations, as they are an extension of the brand community. We are considering presenting see-now-buy-now, creating a more exclusive approach to shopping as well.
How far out do you start to prepare and what goes into it?
We start planning 12 months out, which covers everything from sponsors and budgets to collection design meetings, show conception, model castings, presentation negotiations, music, and design.
You put everything you have into the show, and there are weeks in the lead up where you spend long days in the office. Thankfully, I have a super supportive husband, forgiving children and incredible friends that were so thoughtful & helpful during this time.
How do you decide what to show?
It depends on the global schedule and the brand preferences. While most brands last year were showing their Resort collections, we decided to showcase the Holiday Collection as this was more representative of our women and the mood we wanted to convey.
What’s the experience like on the day?
Stressful, however, we’re so well planned and have the most incredible people working in the team so I had a lot of faith in that. The models we had in our show last year were so strong, and such gorgeous girls, both inside and out. I went to every single one of them before the show to give them a hug and wish them good luck. We were all so nervous.
Then, after all the months of planning and pouring over every little detail, the show starts. It feels like it’s all over in a flash. I think I almost hold my breath until each model has walked and made it back. After finally greeting my close friends and family after the show, I went straight off to a speaking opportunity to discuss the show and the upcoming plans for the brand. The day ended with a surprise party thrown for me by one of my best girlfriends. It ended the day perfectly.
The next day I’d love to say I had the day off, but it was straight back to the office at 7am to speak to key US media about the show the day prior.