Behind the Front Row: Leanne Marshall Tells us What it Really Takes to Show at Fashion Week

Photo Credit: Rebecca Glasser-Baker 

Photo Credit: Rebecca Glasser-Baker 

By: Caroline Vazzana

Most of your time during Fashion Week/Month is spent running around, to and from shows, and can honestly be quite exhausting. There are several times during the excitement (or craziness) that you can really stop, be present, and enjoy the moment. One of these special times being during the Leanne Marshall show at New York Fashion Week. Personally, I’ve been a fan of Leanne’s for quite sometime now. Since her start of Project Runway back in 2008, to attending her show every season at Fashion Week- her beautifully made gowns are something I always look forward to seeing. So, when I was given the opportunity to speak with her backstage right before her show, I jumped at the opportunity. Not only was I excited to meet with her, but the pre-show excitement backstage at NYFW is unlike anything else. The minute you walk backstage you can instantly feel the excitement, and when I arrived with my photographer, the models were lining up for a walk through, so we we're instantly thrown into the beautiful mayhem. With their hair and makeup done, but still in their sweats, this is the pure magic that goes on behind-the-scenes.  

Backstage, you would think that most designers might have a pre-show ritual or superstition (I mean, don’t we all have a lucky pair of underwear?) but to our surprise, Leanne doesn’t, “I mean usually the ritual is like the 'oh-shit' or 'oh my gosh.' I see the models are going out on the runway and I’m still in my jeans and I throw on some clothes. My girls help me- I have the best team ever. They’ll iron something up and sew me in if they need to. I don't know, there’s no real ritual, I just enjoy it. I’m not superstitious really.” So you could say she really lives in the moment and takes everything in stride. Upon meeting Leanne pre-show she seemed very calm, and from what I could see of her collection before the show she had every reason to be. From bright yellows to eye-catching pinks, I couldn’t wait to see the collection come down the runway.

But, before I could go take my seat amongst a crowd of eager eyes, I had to ask for some advice. Because here at, we are all about bringng you guys the best advice for following your dreams, starting a side hustle, or prusiing what lights a fire in you. So, when asked, “What’s some advice you would give to a young designer who aspires to one day be in your shoes and show at New York fashion week?” Leanne responded,

“I would give them the advice to sew constantly. I mean, I can’t emphasize it enough. The more technical capabilities you have as a designer, the better off you are. Designing on flat paper is one thing, but having construction and pattern making knowledge just opens up your world in so many ways and can really make you a better designer than your competitors.”

So there you have it. What they say is true, practice does make perfect. 


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