While the din of cameras, editors, publicists and now bloggers has steadily intensified backstage at New York Fashion Week -- sometimes outdoing the action on the runway -- those in the trenches, namely the makeup artists and hairstylists, keep plugging along year after year, for the most part staying as focused as a pitcher on the mound of a raucous stadium.
As media coverage of backstage goings-on has expanded relentlessly over the years, some artists and stylists remain willing to take a few moments away from makeovers to face -- in a scene straight from the Hollywood red carpet -- jostling reporters, waving microphones and panning video cameras. (A bump on the head from one of these leaves a nasty stinger.)
On the other hand, a few artists and stylists have retorted, "If I talk to you, I have to talk to everyone."
Then there's the crush of new media. Backstage at Marc Jacobs, where FranÃ§ois Nars has adopted the practice of giving mini press conferences on his makeup looks, a dozen editors and bloggers crowded around him last week -- some jotting down notes, but many more sticking iPhones in his face to record every word.
The closer it gets to show time, the more fevered the backstage pitch becomes. Artists, stylist and pedicurists surround a model who has arrived late from the fashion show before. She calmly listens to her iPod while BBM-ing on her BlackBerry, seemingly oblivious to the army tending to her.
At other times, after long check-in lines, members of the press collectively sigh in disappointment when they arrive backstage to find that artists and stylists have disappeared to watch models strut the catwalk during dry runs. While it may allow one to take a breath, it's simply the calm before the storm of models returning to change into the clothes and get final hair and makeup touch-ups.
But in the midst of the mayhem, a debonair Oscar de la Renta took time away from camera crews backstage before his show last week to compliment Gucci Westman on the makeup look she created.
Even backstage, there's always room for levity.