WHAT FASHION WEEK IS LIKE FOR A BACKSTAGE PHOTOGRAPHER

ANY FASHION WEEK PRO KNOWS THERE’S A MILLION-AND-ONE THINGS GOING ON BEHIND-THE-SCENES, OFTEN ALL AT ONCE. DARIO CASTILLO CAPTURES IT ALL. WE SPOKE WITH DARIO ABOUT EVERYTHING FROM HOW HE GOT HIS START IN FASHION TO HOW HE  PREPARES FOR NEW YORK FASHION WEEK AND WHICH MODELS HE EXPECTS TO SEE EVERYWHERE THIS SEASON. 

BACKSTAGE \ DARIO CASTILLO . BOSS by Hugo Boss Backstage 2.  Vestal Magazine: You document backstage scenes at Raf Simons, Hugo boss, Linder etc… Can you describe what the mood was like backstage at these shows?  Dario Castillo: The mood backstage at Raf Simons, Hugo Boss, Linder all have been different in my opinion. Linder, backstage was hosted in an East Village complex, the feeling was very rushed and intimate. I was elbow to elbow with every photographer shooting backstage. I managed to still isolate and highlight each look, model for Document Journal’s online platform. Hugo Boss was hosted at a huge venue in the Financial District which was very calm and more paced oriented but more of a pep rally high school approach. There is always stress in the air but all in all it is great fun.  VM: Did you always know you wanted to be a photographer?  DM: I have always felt I had a passion for taking pictures. At 14 that is when I really developed my craft in it.  VM: When did you realize it was something you wanted to pursue professionally?  DC: When I moved to the New York City metro area after a retouching internship I knew I wanted to go out there and I start doing model testing to grow into editorial publishing; and now backstage is my personal preference. For many reasons, but my work has been described as voyeuristic and unfiltered in either genre. I love it and won’t stop!  VM: How and when do you start preparing for New York Fashion Week each season and what does that prep look like for you?  DC: My prep is short. I make sure I am equipment ready... (Memory cards, charged batteries for flash, lenses are clean). January for the February shows, August for September and meditate. And most important there needs to be a calmness in me when everything around is going 100 miles per hour!  VM: How did you get your start shooting backstage?  DC: A stylist I worked on an editorial a week before asked me if I want to attend a few shows in place of him because he was too busy so I did. Turned out to be the best fashion decision of my career to date.

BACKSTAGE \ DARIO CASTILLO. BOSS by Hugo Boss Backstage 2.

Vestal Magazine: You document backstage scenes at Raf Simons, Hugo boss, Linder etc… Can you describe what the mood was like backstage at these shows?

Dario Castillo: The mood backstage at Raf Simons, Hugo Boss, Linder all have been different in my opinion. Linder, backstage was hosted in an East Village complex, the feeling was very rushed and intimate. I was elbow to elbow with every photographer shooting backstage. I managed to still isolate and highlight each look, model for Document Journal’s online platform. Hugo Boss was hosted at a huge venue in the Financial District which was very calm and more paced oriented but more of a pep rally high school approach. There is always stress in the air but all in all it is great fun.

VM: Did you always know you wanted to be a photographer?

DM: I have always felt I had a passion for taking pictures. At 14 that is when I really developed my craft in it.

VM: When did you realize it was something you wanted to pursue professionally?

DC: When I moved to the New York City metro area after a retouching internship I knew I wanted to go out there and I start doing model testing to grow into editorial publishing; and now backstage is my personal preference. For many reasons, but my work has been described as voyeuristic and unfiltered in either genre. I love it and won’t stop!

VM: How and when do you start preparing for New York Fashion Week each season and what does that prep look like for you?

DC: My prep is short. I make sure I am equipment ready... (Memory cards, charged batteries for flash, lenses are clean). January for the February shows, August for September and meditate. And most important there needs to be a calmness in me when everything around is going 100 miles per hour!

VM: How did you get your start shooting backstage?

DC: A stylist I worked on an editorial a week before asked me if I want to attend a few shows in place of him because he was too busy so I did. Turned out to be the best fashion decision of my career to date.

Raf Simons Spring:Summer 2018 Backstage 1, Chinatown Dario Castillo.jpg
Raf Simons Backstage 1, Chinatown

Raf Simons Backstage 1, Chinatown

The mood backstage at Raf Simons, Hugo Boss, Linder all have been different in my opinion. Linder, backstage was hosted in an East Village complex, the feeling was very rushed and intimate. I was elbow to elbow with every photographer shooting backstage. I managed to still isolate and highlight each look, model for Document Journal’s online platform. Hugo Boss was hosted at a huge venue in the Financial District which was very calm and more paced oriented but more of a pep rally high school approach. There is always stress in the air but all in all it is great fun.
BOSS By Hugo Boss, backstage 4.

BOSS By Hugo Boss, backstage 4.

VM: Which shows did you shoot during your first season?

DC: I started with Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown, Asher Levine, and Siki Im Fall/Winter 2013

VM: I’d imagine that you have a really good read on which models are going to be super-buzzy any given season. Who should plan to keep on our radar?

DC: DNA Models I always have on my radar. AI keep up with Dazed & Confused, I-D, Instagram’s feed for the latest news. Dazed Korea/Italian Vogue as well.

VM: How do your fashion week gigs differ from what you might work on normally during the year?

DC: New York Fashion Week pushes me out of my comfort zone (In a good way), It is very different and crowded. Meanwhile my editorials and other photo projects I love a closed quiet set with my trusted team.

VM: What are your goals for any given show season?

DC: My goal is to better at my work (stronger, graphic images) from each previous show, previous season in documenting and encapsulating for the next generation/readers and consumers of fashion to reference to, a part of fashion history. And its turning points.

VM: What’s your main piece of advice for newer photographers looking to do what you do?

DC: Practice, practice, and practice. Make sure when you pitch to editors to have a similar portfolio/events that you want to shoot. Be passionate about what you do and always remember its for everyone use. Not only for your NYFW Portfolio. Be mindful of what you focus on and what you don’t focus on when covering a show. Time is ticking when fist looks are done backstage but always have fun. Don’t be lazy on turn around times! Be on it! Pace yourself! Keep it 100 to yourself. It’s okay to say no and its okay to experiment with photo styles, just don’t take too long.


BOSS by Hugo Boss 6 Backstage.

BOSS by Hugo Boss 6 Backstage.


BOSS by Hugo Boss 6 Backstage.

BOSS by Hugo Boss 6 Backstage.


LinderSS2018Presentation2.jpg
Linder Presentation 2.

Linder Presentation 2.


BOSS by Hugo Boss Backstage 13.

BOSS by Hugo Boss Backstage 13.

BOSS by Hugo Boss Spring Summer 2018 11 Backstage Dario Castillo.jpg
BOSS by Hugo Boss Backstage 11.

BOSS by Hugo Boss Backstage 11.