SHE admits she was like a little schoolgirl. He was the first proper celebrity Alice Carroll had met since landing in the Big Apple.
Only two weeks into her placement with world famous fashion house Fendi, the University of Limerick student found herself styling the star of Pretty Woman, Richard Gere.
“He was really friendly but because I had only started, I was really shy and didn’t know how to handle it,” recalls the part-time model who has just returned from New York where she completed an eight months internship at Fendi’s landmark Fifth Avenue store.
Part of her working brief was dealing with well-known faces from the movie and entertainment world and making sure they put their best foot forward on the red carpet.
On the day in question, Richard Gere was looking for the perfect suit to wear to a red-carpet event.
“He tried on a couple of different pieces and we advised him on what suited him.”
Celebrity clients, Alice explains, were catered for on a separate floor in the Fendi store – a showroom, so to speak. Here they have the privacy to try on various items be it for a red carpet occasion or a more low-key event.
“I didn’t think that I would be dealing straight away with celebrities but they have a really small team in the Fendi PR department so you are more of an assistant from day one than an intern.”
While understandably nervous starting off, soon Alice grew in confidence and before long the 22-year-old found herself styling Pulp Fiction star Uma Thurman, in her apartment!
“She came into the store and had a stylist but it wasn’t until we were dressing her in her apartment that I was dealing with her directly and that was for Cannes,” explained the Parteen girl.
“She actually didn’t end up wearing the dress we gave her, she wore it to another premiere.” Uma’s apartment, she recalls, was very minimal with dark wooden floors. “It was very in keeping with her style.”
For an event as high-profile as Cannes, a stylist must have done their homework in terms of knowing what dresses and ensembles have already been worn by celebrities. A brand as exclusive as Fendi can’t afford a fashion faux pas such as two celebrities wearing the same dress– let alone on the same red carpet!
“With something as big as Cannes you know the exposure is going to be huge so you really have to do your research beforehand - see what style she likes and suits her. We had to see what celebrities had worn Fendi recently and we couldn’t obviously give Uma any of those dresses because nobody wants to be photographed in the same outfit.”
Actress Jessica Alba, she says was “absolutely stunning” and “so nice”.
“We dressed Jessica for a couple of her new book events. She doesn’t seem famous. We were chatting about the weather, just normal things.”
During her stay in the Big Apple, Alice was interning with Fendi three days a week and was also gaining experience with PR agency, Parish PR which she heard about from a friend.
“That was an added bonus that I wasn’t expecting.”
When she started with the PR agency, Alice was immediately assigned to cover the E! Upfronts for the hugely popular E! entertainment channel.
“I met all the Kardashians at that and Ryan Seacrest. I was well able for it at that stage,” she recalls.
“The Kardashians were gorgeous, absolutely stunning,” she says. “They are so tiny, they are like little dolls. I met them all except Khloe. It was around the time that all those photos were published and the press were being so cynical about Kim’s weight. I actually thought she looked amazing. I don’t know what it was with the photos, she looked incredible.
“Ryan was lovely – tiny as well but he had time for everybody and was so chatty.”
While initially Alice thought that at the end of the eight months she would be ready to go home, when the time came, that wasn’t the case at all.
“I was just getting into it. It is obviously a huge culture difference. I was just getting used to it and I had to go again.”
Alice who is studying Business with French is now getting ready to return to the UL campus to complete her final year.
The year out, in the city that never sleeps, she says, has focused her mind on what she would like to do, long-term.
“I don’t think I would want to go down the PR route. I got a taste of the marketing route when I was with Fendi and I definitely think I would like to do that more. I would love to do something in terms of their digital marketing and represent their brand online, definitely within fashion, I know that much!”
And will she return for another bite at the Big Apple?
“I can definitely see myself going back to New York, I definitely clicked with it. But it is nice to come home.”