Back when Brazilian-born Australian fashion photographer Lee Oliveira began shooting street style, it was a relatively new phenomenon. He remembers working his first fashion week where he was one of only 10 or 15 photographers shooting the sartorial talent.
“[Back then] there weren’t too many people doing street style,” he recalls. “Now there are hundreds!”
Lee’s managed stayed ahead of the ever-growing pack by taking what he knows and loves about street style and using it to diversify into other areas of the industry, from styling to creative direction.
“Often, people think the only thing I do is to chase editors and models around shooting street style,” says Lee. “These days, I have expanded into styling and consultancy for brands and individuals. Some of my clients attend fashion week so I need to be there for them and also connect with brands that I work with.”
Needless to say, his schedule is jam-packed as he travels from one fashion week to the next. Read on as Lee gives us a glimpse into a typical day at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year.
I start my day with my partner, who is also my manager, along with my assistant with a quick breakfast meeting. This is so important as often time slips away and you need a tight agenda to stick to. And coffee, so much coffee!
Head to a client’s hotel to assist her with getting her looks together for the day. Brands generally deliver clothes to me to give to my clients to take advantage of the street style opportunities during fashion week. From my experience as a street style photographer, I know what works and what doesn’t.
We all head to the Emanual Ungaro show which two of my clients are attending. Before taking my seat, I generally spend a short time getting some street style shots outside, which I still love doing. I work for the New York Times producing and uploading Instagram imagery for their feed as well, so I am lucky designers tend to allocate great seats for me to get the best shots from the runway. Instagram is the best way to communicate as-it-happens images with a global audience, and after the show, I head backstage to congratulate the designer.
1.00pm We stop for a quick bite to eat at Café Flore in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. This is my favourite area in Paris and I now have an apartment there that I have come to love so I stay here all the time.
2.30pm I jump on the Paris Metro to attend a show by Diogo Miranda. Diogo is a friend of mine from Portugal and it’s his first show in Paris so it was important I supported him. Oh and yes, I do take trains in Paris. The traffic can be a nightmare sometimes and it’s often quicker than by car.
3.30pm I jump in an Uber and head to the Chloé HQ for a fitting with one of my clients who is attending their show. From there, we go together straight to the Chloé show. No time for street style outside, so we rush in and take our seats.
5.00pm Off to Angelina Café for a meeting with the head of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week for Kazakhstan and Ukraine. We wanted to chat about the logistical possibilities of attending their fashion week. Angelina Café is a meeting spot for the fashion week crowd so it is an easy place for meetings.
Attend the Lanvin re-see. I always love getting the opportunity to go to re-see’s when I can to get up-and-close to the straight-off-the-runway garments. Of course it’s also great bumping into people you miss due to busy schedules, like my dear friend Layla Yavari from Stylebop. We chatted and laughed a bit as we always do.
Having dinner with my New York friend. We meet at a restaurant on top of the George Pompidou centre with amazing views toward the Eiffel Tower. She is opening new showrooms in New York and Paris and wanted to pick my brain over drinks and dinner. We always try to meet up in Paris at least once for dinner and chat.
I’m back in my apartment uploading the images I shot for the day. My assistant always gives me a brief of changes to our agenda for the rest of the week. Like fashion, your day changes at a moment’s notice! Then I hit the sack, so I can mentally prepare to do it all again the next day.
Read more about Lee in Issue 22 of The Collective, on sale now.