Kenneth Saenz and Jimie Machniak, stylists at K.Co Design Salon and Day Spa in northern Baltimore, worked New York Fashion Week for the first time last week.
Saenz worked at the Elle Fashion Next event, Jill Stuart and Monique Lhuillier. Machniak worked at shows for The Row, Theory and Libertine.
"I was just psyched," said Saenz, 55. "Monique Lhuillier is known for her wedding dresses. Jill Stuart puts clothing on the likes of Angelina Jolie, Anne Hathaway. Could it be any better?"
Saenz said he immediately called his mother when he learned that he had been chosen to be a part of the elite shows.
"She was out-of-control psyched. At the salon, we were absolutely thrilled," he said. "When you go to Fashion Week in New York, you can equate it with being in the Super Bowl."
The experiences of the shows were both pressure-filled and incredible, according to Saenz.
"At runway shows, there is always excitement," he said. "The pressure is all around you. It is an incredible thrill. People are always popping in. For example, Rose Byrne popped in backstage at Jill Stuart. Everything gets pretty intense. But the intensity is a lot of fun. It is what you do."
Machniak made some sacrifices to work at the three runway shows.
"I cut my vacation short about four days, but it was well worth it," said the 45-year-old. As luck would have it, he worked with an instructor from Kérastase in New York in the spring who happened to be recruiting stylists to work the Fashion Week shows. He sent her a couple of pictures of his work, and in less than a week received word that he was chosen to work three shows.
"I don't know if I was surprised — I was excited about these shows," he said during a break while working backstage at the Libertine runway show.
"You certainly don't do it for the money," he said with a laugh. "It's for the prestige of it. There isn't anything larger in our industry."