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Workers Scramble Behind-The-Scenes to Save Fashion Week From Blizzard

By  Janet Upadhye and Jude Domski | February 8, 2013 3:53pm 

NEW YORK CITY — Rain, hail and snow fell outside the tents at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on Friday, but inside it was warm, dry and glamorous.

"You would never know there was a blizzard coming," said fashionista Sylvia Taddei. "Everything is running exceptionally smooth."

That's all thanks to Fashion Week's unsung heroes — snow plowers, tent architect crews, technicians and snow and ice maintenance workers. Because of these behind-the-scenes workers, runway shows are starting on time, the lights inside are bright, tents are well heated and fashionistas are happy.

And in stark contrast to the glitz and glam inside the temporary tents of Lincoln Center, outside workers with wet hair, red faces, muddy boots and numb fingers tinkered behind-the-scenes to keep Fashion Week on track.

Zarhar Washington, part of the snow crew, has been at Lincoln Center since 5 a.m. When the snow started to fall, he was there to shovel the steps outside the entrance to Fashion Week.

"We have to make sure that everything is safe for Fashion Week people," he said. "It can be dangerous out here in high heels—someone could really get hurt."

And Washington wasn't alone.

Keith Conod, a freelance video technician, was on the other side of Lincoln Center coddling cables as he stood outside in the slush.

"We have to keep the wires clean and dry," he said. "Things could go wrong pretty quick if certain wires were to get wet."

In addition, Fashion Week organizer IMG Fashion recently hired extra crews to work into the night.

"We have a proactive plan in place to deal with Nemo," spokesman Andrew Serrano said in a statement. "That includes extra crews onsite to help manage our structure during the storm."

IMG Fashion also confirmed that all Friday night shows at Lincoln Center — Tommy Hilfiger, Nicole Miller, Charlotte Ronson, Academy of Art University and Parkchoonmoo — would continue as scheduled.

But "IMG will continue to monitor the storm, and make changes to the schedule if they are needed."