What Do the PR Honchos Wear to Fashion Week?

| September 15, 2011 1:03 PM

Karen Duffy is a model, actor and journalist. She attributes some of her style to her friends in fashion. Photo courtesy of Karen Duffy.

Karen Duffy, “Duff,”  is a model, actor, bestselling author and journalist. She has been covering Fashion Week ever since she first walked down the runway in the mid-’90s.

I am lucky to have glamorous friends like Kate Doerge and Ridgely Brode, partners at Paul Wilmot Communications, the Tiffany standard of fashion public relations. They are unimpeachably glamorous and, when it comes to style, they are the Annie Sullivans to my Helen Keller. They are my “go-to gals” when I have a question or concern about beauty or apparel.

Ridgely has a terrific website called Ridgley’s Radar, where she shares her vast knowledge and insight on beauty, books, clothing and life style issues. 

The runway models get to wear the fun stuff but for the PR people backstage, Fashion Week attire is all about business. Here PR exec Ridgley Brode (center) walks the High Line in all black, the dress code for those working behind the scenes of Fashion Week. Photo courtesy of Karen Duffy.

She has a great post about what she and her esteemed colleagues wore this Fashion Week. They are at the epicenter of the fashion spectacle, and their dress code is all black.

Ridgley and Kate spend their days in the office doing all the heavy lifting in preparation for the fashion shows: stuffing envelopes, organizing seating charts and reviewing guest lists. When they get to the tents, the partners prefer a dress code of “professional dressy black.”

Here are Ridgley’s suggestions on how to dress like a pro for Fashion Week at the tents:

1. Black Dress with Pockets

The PR team needs to keep their hands free to greet guests, and to hold on to clip boards and walkie-talkies. They need to stash essentials like an i-phone, metro card, lipstick and cash. If Ridgely’s dress is sans pockets, she slips her necessities into her bra.

2. Black Belt

No, they don’t have a black belt in martial arts. Ridgley never knows if she will be wearing a head set, so she keeps a slim black belt in her bag so if need be, she can clip on the set and not ruin the line of her outfit with a big piece of equipment hanging off the back of her dress.

There's a lot of heavy lifting and running around during Fashion Week, so it's best to wear flats over heels. Here, PR exec Kate Doerge prepares for a show. Photo courtesy of Karen Duffy.

3. Flat Shoes

In honor of the shows being at Lincoln Center, the home of the Ballet, they suggest ballet flats for all the pre-show running around. When it’s show time, they slip into a luxe pair of designer heels.

4. Lint Roller

Ridgley’s tip to always looking fresh and pulled together is to keep a travel-sized lint roller in her desk. No matter how frazzled the day gets, she looks neat and tidy. Every piece of lint shows up on black attire but it’s nothing a quick stroke of the roller can’t fix.


  • Ridgely Brode

    Thank you Duff, for including us in this amazing article! Ridgely

  • SusanSands

    It’s fun to see what fashionable people wear behind the scenes. A bit more relatable that what’s on the runway

  • quintessence

    I just love Ridgely’s advice. She always looks great and is a pro at whatever she does – so listen up!!

  • Hilary Dick

    Duff, love the post!!! Especially since it includes my sister Ridgely and her great blog!!xx hilary

  • Katy Coakley

    Fantastic! I was wondering what to wear to a parent event at my childs school tonight. I was pondering all sorts of complicated options, but this article inspired me to pull the black dress out of the back of my closet! I paired it with a bright cardigan sweater and a black blazer over it all, with a knockout pair of black suede platforms I haven’t worn in ages. It was simple but so elegant and I got tons of compliments. Thanks for reminding us about the power and ease of the “lbd.”

  • jillz

    The behind the scenes people don’t get enough credit. I thought the professional women looked better than the runway attire. Classic never goes out of style.

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