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Erika Bearman ’03: Inside New York Fashion Week 2014

New York Fashion Week: Intense, Glamorous, Inspiring, Fabulous. Who wouldn’t want to be on the guest list for all the amazing shows? Personally, if there’s one thing I could cross off of my bucket list it would have to be that. Erika Bearman, Senior Vice President of Global Communications at Oscar de la Renta, was in the midst of all the commotion at Fashion Week, as she oversaw almost every aspect of Oscar’s show. From the lighting, the DJ, and the stylist, to the guest list, where people are sitting, how people are getting in, and how they are promoting the collection online, Erika played an extremely impressive role in this year’s Fashion Week. Here’s Erika’s tell-all of her experience with Fashion Week 2014:

Catherine: I understand you were a part of Fashion Week. What was it like preparing for it with the schedule, process, etc.?

Erika: It’s a super busy time, and it’s also a lot of work. But, it’s one of the most fun things that we do. When we present a collection, it’s the start of a new season. It’s our DNA—you know, it’s who we are as a brand. While it’s super busy and easy to become overwhelmed and to be like, “Oh my God I have so much to do,” it’s also one of the most exciting times here at Oscar. There’s a ton of energy and creativity. Sort of like everyone is running at a high-octane level, which is why you always hear about how fashion has a reputation for being dramatic, and I think that’s why. Our blood is pumping, because this is what we do; this is like our lifeline. It’s a super exciting time.

Catherine: Do you know where Oscar got his inspiration?

Erika: I mean, you would have to ask Oscar. From my perspective, I just thought it was light, bright, fresh, young, and modern. It was just beautiful clothes. It was Oscar doing what he does best, which is beautiful clothing. It’s what you want to wear. You know, I was just going through the showroom and thinking about how I wanted to wear all the stuff. That’s when it’s right, when you want to live your life in it.

Catherine: Are there any trends we should look for in the upcoming Spring Season?

Erika: There are a ton of light colors, which is really beautiful. We used a beautiful blue color, and we called it Wedgewood blue, which I think is amazing. I want to wear everything blue for the next season. Oscar also did this really oversized gingham print, which I thought was amazing. And, we did two piece ensembles with a crop top and a longer skirt, which is right up my ally.

Catherine: Did you go to any other shows (during Fashion Week)?

Erika: I didn’t, because I didn’t have time. I’m so busy getting ready for Oscar’s show that I don’t normally go to any other shows. Sometimes I will go to my friend Michael Bastian’s show, because I love his stuff, and I think that’s what all guys should wear. But, I couldn’t even do that this season; I just didn’t have time.

Catherine: So were you preparing all throughout the summer for this (Fashion Week)?

Erika: We start getting things ready in June or July, but Oscar’s team starts even sooner than that. From designing what the color palette is going to be to what the silhouettes are going to be, and then they can start working with the embroideries, which take time, because a lot of our embroideries come from India. Also, a lot of our European factories close for the month of August, so that a lot of work gets done for the summertime and September.

Catherine: How exactly has your style evolved since you were in college?

Erika: I think it’s a constant evolution. I think it takes a little while to sort of find what you feel the most comfortable in and what looks best on you. Obviously, I’m a lot more dressed up now than I was when I was a student, which is to be expected. And you sort of find your signatures. You find the things that not only look good on you but the things that you really love. And then you sort of do variations on those things; that’s what I think personal style is.

Catherine: What do you think your signature (style) is?

Erika: I love long skirts. Like today, I’m wearing a skirt that’s narrow and stretchy, like t-shirt material, and it’s great because it’s comfortable for work. I love that silhouette. I usually show more skin on top versus on the bottom; I’ll show an inch of my stomach or I’ll show my shoulders. I like very clean silhouettes and classic colors. I think the color you’ll see most in my wardrobe is navy. You know, I wear a lot of navy, a lot of black, and a lot of white. I love beige, and I loved it even more when I had blonde hair, because I think beige is the perfect color for blondes. My favorite piece of clothing, I think, would be coats. I think I have forty or fifty-something coats; I just love them. Lightweight ones that you can wear with a tank top underneath or a big fur coat that you can wear in the wintertime; I just love outerwear. I always say that for people living in LA your car is so important, but in New York coats are the equivalent to that.

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