Last night, Lincoln Center welcomed 125 public high-school students to hear from top fashion designers and industry leaders at the second annual Life in Fashion Forum, moderated by Wall Street Journal columnist Teri Agins. Panelists included the Gap's Patrick Robinson, BCBG Max Azria CCO Lubov Azria, Saks executive vice-president Terron E. Schaefer, and celebrity sylist Lori Goldstein, who offered tips on how to land a gig as her intern. "If someone comes in for an interview wearing heels I get a little leery," Goldstein advised. "It's a down-and-dirty job. You have to be on the phone all day, you have to get the clothes in. Designers usually have one sample, and the whole industry is fighting for that one sample. This is not a nine-to-five. You need to have passion."
After the discussion, Goldstein, who just signed with William Morris Endeavor to explore book and television deals, was cagey about upcoming projects. She admitted that she "wants to," and has been gathering together all of her work and "going over things" for a book. What would said hypothetical book be about? “People always say, 'I want to be in fashion,' and that’s a great thing, but what does that mean? [People have] seen the glamorous side, but not the day-to-day wonderful grind. That real insider information about the fashion industry isn’t out there yet. I’m excited to tell people about it,” she explained.
The other panelists also had wisdom to share. Some highlights from Lubov Azria, Terron E. Schaefer, and Patrick Robinson:
Lubov Azria on dressing Angelina Jolie for the SAG awards:
We brought three gowns to Angelina Jolie, and she wanted Brad to pick the gown. He's an architect and he likes geometric cuts. She wore the blue gown that everyone thought was backwards, which it was. That was how Brad wanted it; he likes low backs.
Terron E. Schaefer on getting fired from his job at Harrods:
I thought there was this enormous opportunity in India to develop products, source products, and bring them to London. I had a whole team of people working with me on development in India, and Mohamed Al-Fayed [then the owner of Harrods] decided he didn't want "the smell of curry" wafting through the entire store. He was worried that Harrods would smell like curry. So while I was in India, he called and said, "Don't come back." And I thought, "I can't believe this." The whole project went off the rails and never happened.
Patrick Robinson on kids these days:
There are too many people who come into the office looking for jobs, and they really don't know their craft. They haven't studied design, or how to put together a collection. On an interview, everyone should be able to answer the question "What do you want to do?" So many people cannot answer that question. If you love eveningwear, and you come in to interview at the Gap, I will not have a problem with that. You don't have to play up the fact that Gap does more casual clothes, because there's a position we can find for you if you're passionate about that.
Lubov Azria on what not to do on an interview:
I hate when they start interviewing you. "So, how do you balance work and home?" One girl came in and said, "I'll do windows, floors, and serve you breakfast." I hired her.