It was an unlikely scene for a Manhattan Mercedes-Benz dealership on Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. Hair dryers, curling irons, and makeup kits were sprawled out over a table on a balcony overlooking sleek convertibles and shiny, new sedans. But that can be assumed since there's nothing normal Carrie Hammer's Role Models, Not Runway Models presentation. In fact, we'd call it above average — extraordinary, if you must.
For four seasons now, Carrie has shaken up the New York fashion scene by featuring the clients of her made-to-measure designs on the runway instead of professional models. This season, the 25-person roster encompassed CEOs, entrepreneurs, activists, international influencers, and our own beauty editor Lauren Levinson! Plus, for the first time ever the show was sponsored by Dove, another brand that supports individuality.
Picking the role models is actually an in-depth process. Every woman on the runway is nominated by a former participant (kind of like paying it forward). Right now there is a wait list with 500 women for next season — yes, this is an exclusive bunch! The most important thing to Carrie is diversity. "We always make sure that we're representing every woman on the runway. Research that shows that if she can see it, she can be it," Carrie explained. "So we make sure every young woman can see herself reflected on the runway. Everyone see's someone they can aspire to be." That means there are women of all ethnicities and industries on the roll call.
Now, Carrie has created a community of former runway stars who can easily connect. "They can talk about their mutual experiences and immediately have a bond," she explained. "So we're creating a network of power women globally who can support each other. Like the old boys network, we have the role model network." In October, that group will extend internationally to China, where Carrie Hammer is hosting a Shanghai show.
This season POPSUGAR went backstage exclusively (where NYIB was doing the hair and makeup) to get corporate beauty tips and amazing life advice from the catwalkers. Carrie's own secret weapon is her Hourglass lipstick ($30). Keep reading to get more beauty products approved by these boss ladies. And if you see a dress you love, you'll be able to shop the exact outfit this Spring. Each outfit is named after the role model wearing it (so maybe you can channel her powerful persona)! We'll take two of the LaNeice, please.