Marchand's view of top model Gigi Hadid backstage at the Proenza Schouler show. Photo courtesy Caroline Marchand.

Fashion forward: Insider Caroline Marchand talks NYFW moments, upcoming trends and standing out

When 23-year-old Caroline Marchand moved to New York last year, she was taking the leap she had been waiting her whole life for. For this longtime lover of all things fashion, a position in fashion public relations seemed like the perfect fit in the perfect city at the perfect time. Fast-forward a year and she is the girl behind the scenes at fashion shows rubbing elbows with the fashion elite.

We caught up with her to learn a little more about NYFW highlights and trends and why standing out should be a priority.

1. Tell us a little about who you are and how you made your way to NYC.

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, I was constantly trying to find ways to stand out in an environment where everyone tried to be exactly the same as the person next to them. I was always sketching outfits for events (terribly) and spending time with my grandmother and her sewing machine. She took me to New York for the first time when I was 10, and that was it for me. I instantly felt like that’s where I belonged.

In high school, I resolved that I was going to get myself to New York either through dance or fashion, and fashion is what took flight. College in New York didn’t work out, so I found other ways to fulfill that goal in the meantime. I was a fashion merchandising major at LSU, took a summer class at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, interned in Los Angeles the next summer, and took a job with that same company’s New York office a year ago. So here I am!

2. How would you describe your personal style?

My style changes daily! It’s very eclectic; it depends on my mood. My style has changed a lot since moving to New York, becoming less girl and more sporty/edgy with a feminine touch here and here. I love to play with voluminous shapes and monochromatic color schemes.

3. What were some of your favorite moments from New York Fashion Week?

I worked the Proenza Schouler FW20 show as part of the production team, so I got to actually build the show and watch it come to fruition. I was backstage while the models were getting dressed, and as I stared in complete awe of Gigi Hadid and Doutzen Kroes four feet away from me, I got word on my walkie talkie that Queen Anna Wintour was entering the dressing room. I think I blacked out. She and the Proenza designers ended up talking about the collection while standing right next to me. It was euphoric and epic!

My favorite show this season was Rodarte! It was at St. Bartholomew’s Church, filled with candles and greenery. The collection was romantic and gothic, with a 1950s and vampiric inspiration behind it.

4. What are some of your favorite trends that will be coming to consumers next fall?

Some of my favorite trends for fall are layering sweaters, shearling coats and feathers. I want feathers on everything.

5. What is your advice for adapting runway looks to real life?

Many of the runway looks are meant to be exaggerated versions of the ready-to-wear look, so if it’s too extreme for your taste, find a small detail in the piece that you connect with. It’ll be more comfortable to take the trends in small doses and play with that in your style. Fashion is fun, so never be afraid to experiment!

6. How do you suggest people in Baton Rouge keep up with what’s going on in the fashion world? Do you have any favorite designers or Instagram accounts?

NYFW actually live streams shows, so that’s an easy way to stay in the loop! I also think it’s super important to pick up a magazine every now and then. Otherwise, I follow accounts like The Business of Fashion (@bof), Vogue (@voguemagazine, a.k.a. my Bible), Diet Prada (@diet_prada) for all the fashion drama, and influencers like Leonie Hanne (@leoniehanne) and Aimee Song (@aimeesong). My favorite designers to watch are Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Zimmerman and Jacquemus.