WEST CHESTER, Penn. -- Weather reports have been predicting yet another major winter storm for Pennsylvania, but at the QVC Network, the show must go on.
On this day, Tova Borgnine is scheduled to appear on an hour-long program featuring her color cosmetics and two fragrances. The day before, she focused on her hair care products, and the following day, she will sell her cactus-derived skin care line.
In the studio, from where almost all of the TV-shopping segments are broadcast, robotic cameras transmit images of the host, guest and merchandise. Computers alert the producer to the number of products sold and the number remaining.
Dozens of telephone operators are at work right in the studio itself, giving the host and guest the feeling of a live audience. In all, several thousand phone lines connect callers to QVC outposts in San Antonio and Chesapeake, Va., as well as to headquarters in this town outside Philadelphia.
Backstage, all of the day's merchandise is lined up on tables. A sign with the time of the product's scheduled appearance accompanies it. With each passing hour, staffers backstage move the item closer to the set.
None of the dialog will be scripted. Each product has its own blue index card, typed with a few lines of information for the host. The brevity of these cards, though, can be deceptive.
Emerging in her pink and black luncheon suit, Borgnine looks quite dressed up, particularly when standing next to most QVC staffers, who have chosen jeans and sweatshirts for a casual Friday.
Borgnine compares selling on TV to "having a 5,000-mile cosmetics counter." Indeed, Borgnine has managed to establish a rapport with the QVC viewer that Darlene Daggett, QVC's vice president of merchandising, says has enabled her to sell fragrance without the customer smelling it.
Before her noon show begins, a handful of Tova's makeup sets have already been sold. The sets are available in four color stories -- cactus pink, coral sands, sunset red and sunset red dark -- and are priced at $99. The TV screen advises that viewers can buy the sets in "three easy payments" of $33."This is Valentine's Day for yourself," she says, encouraging women to treat themselves.
Meanwhile, three models on the set are putting on the makeup, assisted by a makeup artist. Extolling the quality of her brushes, Borgnine says, "You may have looked at models and actresses and said, 'how do they do that?' A large part of it is the tools."
QVC keeps a product on the air for an average of six minutes. If it sells out or if it's not moving at all, the producer moves on to the next item. But if it's on QVC for the first time, the network gives it the full six minutes as a test.
With calls starting to pick up for the full makeup sets, Borgnine and Harfenist move on to her eye collections: Color-coordinated sets of mascara, liner, four eyeshadows and a brush that are priced at $39.50 with a retail value of $55.
Borgnine gives an application tip and takes a phone call. From there, the duo introduces a lip gift set and then more makeup.
In the final 15 minutes of the show, they turn to Borgnine's two fragrances, Tova and Body, Mind & Spirit. QVC begins with several thousand units of each. The 3.3-oz. eau de parfum of Body, Mind & Spirit, given a special introductory price of $35.87, sells out.
In the Green Room, one of Borgnine's business associates watching the program utters, "She is good today. I mean really. She is dead-on."
The final tally for Borgnine's three hour-long shows for the week: $761,415.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast