Secrets of a Publicist: Megan Maguire Steele on Fashion Week Planning

fashion week lit runway

What boils down to less than 10 minutes of fashion under bright lights is the result of months of meticulous planning by PR armies. From guest lists and seating charts to models and backstage access—we asked the industry's veterans to share some of the invisible logistics that go into the week.

Megan Maguire Steele runs her namesake public relations outfit with an unfussy air that jives well with a client roster that includes Billy Reid, Richard Chai, and TImo Weiland. Despite a rather massive pre-fashion week checklist, she and her team strive to, above all, keep their cool.

Fashion Week Workload:
- Three runway shows: Doo.Ri, Richard Chai and Timo Weiland.
- Three presentations: Bespoken, Billy Reid and Duru Olowu.
- Four Fashion's Night Out events: Bespoken, Billy Reid, JBNY and Odin New York.
- One Paris Fashion Week event: Billy Reid.
- One potential event for London Fashion Week.

Fashion Week Team:
"The amount of staff dedicated to each show or event varies, but, in terms of preparation work, it is approximately a team of four and, on average, a team of eight at the actual event."

Two Weeks Out:
"At this point, sponsors are finalized, invitations are finalized and being sent out, RSVPS are being tracked, hair and make up tests are being tentatively scheduled, and pre-show press placements are being secured and confirmed, including exclusive content for specific media outlets. The list goes on. Essentially, each event has a clear time and action plan which is executed in full and includes all aspects of pre-show, day-of-show and post-show follow-up work."

Fashion Week Survival Tips:
"Be proactive and be thorough. Stay calm and work it out. Challenges always arise, so it is all about how you handle the situation and persevere to achieve your goals. On a technical level, always have a back-up charger for your Blackberry, your iPad and any other electronic devices that you need to function at an event."

Post-Fashion Week Recovery:
"Every season, at the end of New York Fashion Week, we have a company dinner. This season we are going to have dinner at Marcus Sameulsson's restaurant, the Red Rooster, in Harlem."

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