Mark Tango and Estel Day are two of the most kickass designers to hit the main tents at New York Fashion Week this season. They started out as a rock band, and that, combined with their hip Malibu edge, made their fashion line, Mark And Estel, a collection that is equal parts glamor and sophistifunk.
The brand has shown at New York Fashion Week three times, including this year, and each collection has packed the Lincoln Center location with hoards of celebs and industry elite.
Known for their signature edgy vibe and penchant for basing their collections off of their own rock music, Mark and Estel showed us a behind-the-scenes peek at what it takes to put up a show at one of fashion’s most iconic locations.
Full disclosure, we've interviewed Mark and Estel during their last collection showing at the Fall/Winter 2014 presentation, where we decided they were the coolest people we had ever met and would harass them into getting a ticket for this season’s show.
Little did we know, they would be completely gracious and offer to give a sneak peek into their pre-show preparation, backstage access and front-row seats. The Monday before Fashion Week kicked off, we spoke with the dynamic duo between model castings in their bright and modern Chelsea studio about what it takes to throw together such an epic display in their months of hard work.
When asked how far in advance designers plan their next collections, Estel quipped, without missing a beat, “As soon as one collection is finished.”
This collection was inspired by the designers’ home base of Malibu, with fluid shapes that are reminiscent of the area’s famous beaches — but in the designers’ signature black and white palette, of course. Their song, “Malibu Anthem,” began the concept, and here in New York City, everything was brought to life in the final days of careful planning.
First, the designers’ hand-selected models for the runway. When asked what they look for, Mark said that since all of their girls are gorgeous, it is really about the attitude that draws you in. With about 30 looks to style, the duo picked models who give off a rocker-chic vibe that can also translate into elegance.
Between packing goodie bags for VIP guests and styling accessories, Mark and Estel explained the emotion behind putting on something so uniquely representative of their passion, work and life. I assumed the main sentiment was nervousness, just because that’s how I would feel.
Mark explained it well, saying,
It is about 49 percent nerves and 51 percent excitement.
After the models were selected, the chaos of fitting and tailoring each look to perfection, as well as rehearsing and tweaking the show, filled the last few days preceding the performances.
When we arrived backstage at Lincoln Center, there were models running, hairspray flying, news crews chasing down everyone, and above everything, you could hear Mark tuning his guitar with energetic chords that seemed to enhance and compliment the glamorous and crazy surroundings.
Backstage, "Gotham’s" Erin Richards and "Mad TV’s" Erica Ash tried on last year's runway looks to sport in the first row. Between interviews and sound checks, we ducked out from the side of the stage to steal some seats front-row, center.
Dramatic, yet wearable capes, swing dresses and draped maxis floated down the runway in black and white, with touches of deep blues. Our favorite pieces included a blue maxi dress that showed off some serious side-boob and an ethereal high-low, white, strapless gown.
A mix of menswear, sexy leather and boho-chic dresses made up the collection, which was paired with trendy accessories and messy-wavy hair. Mark and Estel make looking cool seem easy, while also creating an offbeat glam palette of unique and versatile pieces.
After the collection showed, the designers took the stage. They marched down the runway to the beat of the collection’s theme song, “Malibu Anthem,” and closed out the show in their signature style: Mark on his guitar and Estel on vocals.
It’s amazing to see the whole process of a show come to life, but even more so to see one as unique as theirs.