Where’s my fantasy storeroom?
The most common question I get about my job is: “So is there a storeroom full of awesome clothes and shoes?”
They’ve obviously watched The Devil Wears Prada - y’know the scene where Stanley Tucci leads Anne Hathaway through this super-sized walk-in closet, flings some Dior at her before muttering “Mmm…Chanel, you’re in desperate need of Chanel.”
I’ve always found this funny because as a junior beauty writer, I used to spend weeks in one such storeroom, itemising the hundreds of products we receive at the magazine. It was pretty humdrum work, and I used to put the radio from my iPhone on speaker while working. The storeroom’s located at the back of the office. You literally could get lost in there and no one would know until they opened the door and found your body impaled on a stray clothes hanger or something.
So, yes, there is a storeroom. And sometimes you’ll find a rack of designer labels in there. But that’s where the similarities end and Hollywood embellishment begins.
Firstly, ours actually resembles a real storeroom. A pokey space with cluttered shelves and an odd assortment of items - nearly-expired face creams, a mess of shopping bags and dusty champagne bottles from God-knows-which-photoshoot. Certainly not a gleaming, well-curated fashion library where you can breezily check out a pair of Louboutins.
Do we get to keep the clothes? No. If they’re for a photoshoot, they’re on loan. Once the model’s stripped off the last piece of garment, they’re packed up and returned to the boutiques - and if there’s a stain or tear, we foot the bill.
The only free piece of clothing I’ve gotten was a plain black t-shirt from an indie Haji Lane outlet. The owner was in a generous mood. (I still have the tee. It’s very comfy).
But people still look skeptical after I’ve explained this - “Really? You don’t get to keep anything? Or even ‘borrow’ it for a party?” Listening to them, you’d think brands were throwing Chanel purses at us left, right and centre.
I put it down to two things: one, people give the industry more glam brownie points than it deserves - sure, there’s the glam, but there’s also the mundane as with any job.
Two, people really just want to believe that somewhere out there, a fantasy walk-in wardrobe really exists - a portal to a happy, shiny world of make-believe and dress up. Where the people are photoshop beautiful and Madonna’s “Vogue” plays in the background.
Didn’t you cry when you found out Santa Claus wasn’t real?