For the past couple of weeks, a group of TFS Forum members have been discussing some lost footage which shows model Abbey Lee Kershaw crying backstage at Lanvin Spring 2011, as a result of some unkind remarks by designer Alber Elbaz.
The video was finally uploaded to Vimeo late last night. The 20-minute behind-the-scenes clip was edited down from Dressed Up For with Mademoiselle Agnes, who also hosts a biannual fashion week program on French station Canal Plus.
It's worth watching the video in full, in part because Mademoiselle Agnes is one of the most wonderful humans who's ever been shown on television, in part because she gets incredible access to all the runway production proceedings. Yes, there's the Abbey drama — which I'll get to in a second — but there are also plenty of fun, more mundane moments. When Elbaz greets model Joan Smalls backstage, he smiles and pats her on the cheek: "You look to die for," he says.
So, the Abbey stuff: It's in here, but not particularly incriminating. The model seems like a stressed out, sweet girl who's under a lot of pressure. The designer seems like an exacting, demanding presence, but hardly cruel. Elbaz has the public reputation of being a teddy bear, but he wouldn't have attained such immense success — his work at Lanvin wouldn't have such an extraordinary reputation — if he didn't have a forceful personality to lead a team.
The sequence of Abbey/Alber events:
Things first go awry at 5:30 minute mark, during the dress rehearsal.
Elbaz: "I think we have to change Abbey's shoes. To make her more comfortable. She looks almost like she's drunk. I may take her out of this show."
At the 7:20 minute mark, backstage and scrambling to get everyone ready for the show:
Elbaz: "Abbey can't do the show because it's like she can't walk. She really can't walk. I don't know if it's the shoes, but…
Someone: "Do you want to see her?"
Elbaz: "Yes, because I'm canceling her from the show in 2 minutes."
[Abbey comes over]
Elbaz: "Abbey, I'm about to cancel you. You cannot do the show. I mean, I thought you were going to faint on us in there. I don't know what happened. Are you not feeling well?"
Abbey: "No, no, no, I feel fine. I have broken both of my ankles before and it's just…it's a certain angle. If I could just change the shoes to the other ones."
Elbaz: "Let's immediately try this on her. Try immediately this, because if not I'm canceling you from the show. Quickly. Abbey, when you're all dressed, you're going to show me how you walk with flat shoes. Are we clear?"
[Abbey is shown wiping away tears, and then picking up her things and running off to be on her own.]
Abbey ends up modeling only one look in the show, even though she was originally scheduled for two.
Other key moments: Freja Beha Erichsen comforting Kershaw right before they walk the runway, Mademoiselle Agnes writhing around an opulent room, joking about how she's the "Femme de Lanvin."
Image via Getty