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Arts & Entertainment

From the Runway to the Web

BU alum Gina Kelly blogs from New York Fashion Week

Gina Kelly (COM’91), the fashion director at “Seventeen” magazine, is blogging throughout Fashion Week for the magazine’s Web site. Photo courtesy of “Seventeen”

When Gina Kelly (COM’91) graduated from BU, she headed straight to New York to make her mark on the magazine world. She had no job, no money, and no apartment, but after a few months of interviews, she landed a secretarial position at Seventeen magazine. She was eventually promoted to fashion assistant, and since then has helped women around the country decide what to wear — and more often, what not to wear — as a fashion editor at Elle, Mademoiselle, and Lucky magazines.

Now back at Seventeen as the fashion director, Kelly is entering new territory this week with the “Runway Insider” blog she and her colleagues are writing for Seventeen’s Web site during the industry’s annual Fashion Week. Close to 50 designers descend on Manhattan for nine days of celebrity-studded fashion shows and parties, and Kelly will be bringing readers along for the ride with her descriptions of the shows and the collections, and the famous people who wear them. “I love getting dressed up for the shows,” she wrote in her first blog entry. “I have an addiction to shoes — everything from beat-up Frye boots to supersexy Manolo Blahniks — and I plan to bust out all of my best pairs this week!”

Kelly spoke with BU Today about her blog and the fun and frenzy of Fashion Week. Read her reports on this year’s collections at Runway Insider.

BU Today: Does New York go crazy during Fashion Week?
Gina Kelly: It’s a really great time in the city, but the schedule’s pretty grueling. Most of the shows happen in Bryant Park, but there are off-site shows that you have literally 10 minutes to get to, and all that running around makes the models late and everyone late. So the days are pretty long. I actually started shows last Thursday night and worked all weekend, and I can go literally from 9 a.m to 10 p.m., every day. At the same time, we’re blogging for the first time on Seventeen.com, so I have to file my stories every day, and I’ll be doing it from my BlackBerry, very guerrilla-style. The advantage is our readers get almost to go to the show with me. If I go to a show in the morning, by the late afternoon they get to read about it.

But it’s actually my favorite time of year, because that’s when all the ideas start coming for the new season. My job is to see all these types of shows and decide what’s right for our readers, figure out what makes sense in their lives.

What have you seen so far?
The Miss Sixty show, which is kind of perfect for Seventeen. It’s a great denim line, and the styling was really kind of cool and rock ’n’ roll. For the weekend, I had Lacoste Saturday morning, then some smaller designers like Karen Walker and Sass & Bide. Sunday I had DKNY and Tracy Reese and Diane von Furstenberg.

How do you adapt what you see on the runway for your readers?

Our readers aren’t necessarily ruled by what’s happening on the runway. So after the week goes by I look at patterns and trends, whether everyone’s showing purple or everyone’s showing minidresses. In the weeks after the shows we start to see junior companies and what they’re doing. I kind of wait to see what’s translated to the brands that a girl can buy in the mall, because very often what we see on the runway is too expensive for our girls.

This is Seventeen’s first time blogging during Fashion Week — how’s that going?
It’s great — we’re really psyched. We want it to be like a diary. This may be the 500th time I’ve been to a fashion show, but there’s the excitement, the music, going to a really beautiful space, and it’s really fun. Last night I saw Pink and took a picture of her, and that’s the kind of excitement you want to convey to the reader. You could be at your desk, and still here at a fashion show listening to great music and seeing cute clothes. We want to convey the whole experience.

What are your favorite shows?
I always love the shows that are fun and very theatrical. I love going to Heatherette — the energy is crazy, and the show doesn’t start until 9 and I don’t even care. On the other end of the spectrum, I love going to really beautiful shows like Carolina Herrera. The clothes are really exquisite, and it’s nice to see someone who’s so good at her craft.

Is there a downside?
It’s completely exhausting. I’ve done it enough to know that on really busy days I have to wear flats. But still, it’s going to be 20 degrees today, so it’s like, what warm sweater can I wear and still look cute? You’ve got to represent!

Jessica Ullian can be reached at jullian@bu.edu.