Lidia Muñoz Robledo is the Event Manager at XXL COMUNICACION – Brands in Action – one of the leading companies in Barcelona that offers global communication services in the areas of Fashion and Accessories, Beauty, and Lifestyle. This agency specializes in fashion press relations to help brands establish their image through the media.
Events have become a valuable tool in communication, with the ability to connect the audience with brands through a unique experience.
Fashion shows, openings, press events, with influencers, product launches, tastings… and this is where our guest, Lidia Muñoz Robledo, comes into action. As the events manager for XXL COMUNICACION, Lidia Muñoz Robledo is responsible for overseeing everything from the creative development of the event to its production, as well as inviting press, guest socialites, influencers, and even celebrities who will give the event the visibility and impact that explains the reason for its celebration.
How long have you been at XXL? XXL Comunicacion is one of the communication companies in Barcelona and in Spain. Can you explain a bit about it?
In April I will have been at XXL Comunicacion for 6 years.
Wow! You must have experienced so many things already.
I believe the experiences I’ve had at XXL Comunicacion are countless and have been a source of gratitude and reward. In terms of production, you never know what challenges you’ll face. People often think it’s just about organizing a few things, but unexpected situations always arise. However, my years of experience have equipped me to solve problems quickly. Production is something that you only truly learn by working in it and facing those unexpected challenges. This is why they call us the «firefighters of events» because we put out fires wherever we can. Although I’ve worked in hospitality in international countries, which is a great foundation for production, it requires a vocation. You need to have the right personality, energy, and a well-organized mind to handle everything in seconds and not get stressed.
What is the field that XXL Comunicacion works the most in? Do you do more events, photo shoots, or fashion shows?
XXL Comunicacion is a fashion communication agency, and we have a fashion and a lifestyle department. We also do things like hotel openings, restaurant openings, influencer campaigns, photo shoot productions, events, and fashion shows. For example, during Fashion Week, 080, or Bridal Week, we sometimes work in international departments and collaborate with international designers and brands that participate in the shows individually, and we have to produce them.
Do you also produce Custo’s fashion show?
Yes, exactly. We do the production for Custo Barcelona’s fashion show. I am responsible for the production from the beginning, traveling with him. We have gone to Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, but mostly in Spain. Most of the fashion shows have been held in Madrid and Barcelona, such as the Mercedes Fashion Week in Madrid and the 080 in Barcelona.
How does the process of a fashion show begin? What is the starting point? Does the designer tell you how they want to do it, or do you propose a location?
First, we locate the venue.
But does the designer give you some input, or do you propose the locations yourselves?
Yes, a mood board is sent, and based on what the designer likes, a trip is organized for the designer. Based on this mood board, we send some locations, and we take a tour with the designer to see which locations may fit better. From there, the entire process begins, but the very initial process, apart from the location, is organizing the trip for the person who comes to scout the locations. And the first moment of event organization for everyone is when they leave their home: the transfer, the flight, all the organization from the very beginning.
Okay, and how do you choose the models for the fashion shows, for example?
It usually depends. Sometimes the client asks us to do castings, and other times there are castings that are already done by other companies. If they are done by other companies, I send the casting to the designer, and he chooses based on the looks he wants.
And if we can’t do the castings ourselves, we schedule a meeting with all the model agencies with the requirements we want and the fee we have, and we make a call to do a casting basically in our XXL office. From there, with the designer and the composite, we decide on the models… or also through mailing.
So, first you locate, then the casting of the models, then the fitting which I suppose is trying on the clothes, so they fit correctly.
Then look for makeup?
Yes, generally the head and makeup when a fashion show is held is already provided, if we talk about Bridal, 080 … because they have sponsorships such as MAC, Kevin Murphy, etc. We give them, for example, makeup references and there is a team that does makeup tests that are checked days before or on site, taking advantage of the fitting session. Makeup tests are reviewed and if something needs to be adjusted or changed, it is done until it meets the designer’s preferences.
Then, the fitting begins, which usually lasts two to three days, depending on the designer. And we already know how the fitting works, it’s trying on the clothes and starting to do the line-up.
Checking the models’ exits and from there, seeing if there is a production within the chosen location. Because while you are doing the fitting, you are also doing the production of the location that has been chosen. Depending on the location, you must talk to all the providers of lights, cameras, carpets, seating… You have to build a space from scratch. You also need to create the catwalk. In a virgin space, for example, the equipment, lights are checked, this process is done before the fitting. Generally, much earlier if we start from scratch. If you go to a Fashion Week, a bridal…everything is already set up.
Do you do a rehearsal before?
Of course, there is a rehearsal of the fashion show and a test of lights and music.
Okay, but with or without the models?
With the models. Always.
With the actual models?
Yes, the rehearsals depend on the designer. There are rehearsals that they want with music, lights, and models. And sometimes they separate them. They do a test of the route, because depending on the designer the routes could be diagonal or a “u” route. Tests are done with the models without music, and then the technical light rehearsal can be done without the models. But as I said, this depends on the designer.
Do you also have to arrange the invitations for the VIPs and all the transfers, communication?
Yes, obviously, that is another thing. With Communication, it generally depends on the designer, sometimes the organization does it and other times we take care of it. If we do it, we are given a fee and with that budget, we invite celebrities, influencers, in addition to inviting the influencers that we already know to come to the show without any cost.
And from there, we do the production for those influencers and VIPs: we have to contact the bookers, know where they are staying, their flights, pick them up with transfers, take them to do their makeup, or if the head and makeup artist goes to the hotel, book a place to do their makeup. If they want to wear the designer’s clothes, we ask for their sizes, which dress they like, take it to the hotel, or have them do a fitting in the same space…it’s a whole cycle. Producing an event with a celebrity or VIP person requires the same effort as fitting a model. Or the same as doing the production with the designer, for us, our clients are very important and we want them to be happy, that’s why we must organize everything so that they don’t have to do anything. When the show ends, everyone claps, it really is beautiful. And then…
The party, right?
Yes, usually there is a party with catering afterwards.
In another place normally?
It can be in another place or at the location. But of course, this also needs to be produced. While you are doing everything for the designer, you are also in charge of the catering, checking the menu, checking if you need hosts, cooks, waiters, if there is a cava sponsor or not. If there is a cost or no cost. You also need to consider the decoration, if there is floral decoration, the concept of lights, the music.
Wow, there’s so much that goes into a fashion show that seems to be just 20 minutes long.
It depends. There are fashion shows that can take a week to prepare, just like there are fashion shows, like the one I worked on with Viktor & Rolf, which was the biggest one I’ve ever done, and it took me 2 months to organize before the show.
Always emailing the person in charge of Viktor & Rolf, especially about the location, dresses, the influencers, celebrities, models, everything… so it’s a production that takes 2 months remotely, and then also taking care of them. I mean, how the collection is transported, how it is moved. See if they need a truck. See the logistics obviously…
Of course, how the dresses arrive…
Sure, how the dresses arrive, what type of dresses they are, what capacity they have, how many looks there are. If they bring mannequins or not, sewing machines. What equipment they bring, there are 15 of them. Logistics for all the flights of the 15 people, and each one going to the airport and picking them up on the different flights and having their transfer waiting for them and taking them to the hotel and accommodating them in the room they get. And then the transfer from the hotel to the location, and well, treating them like VIP people, they don’t have to do anything, they are guests. Accompanying them all the time, telling them which are the best restaurants in Barcelona, everything!
Thank you so much Lidia, for all this information you just gave us.
You’re welcome if you need any questions I’m here.
Thank you. Big kiss!