MATCH MADE IN FASHION Spending all your time procuring the latest, greatest Gucci wares while leaving your love life to languish? Help is here, single chicsters. Matchmaker Emily Holmes Hahn has founded a bespoke service known as LastFirst that aims to sends its tony clients on their last first dates. Needless to say, her ultra-2016 approach to this ancient art has become a fashion world fixation.
BY ASHLEY BAKER How on earth did you end up in this business? It found me by fate. I was living in Paris, working for Ralph Lauren, when a former New York-based matchmaker recruited me as his membership director. I returned to the States, realized that I had a unique ability for helping people find love, and became passionate about matchmaking. Obsessed with it, actually. What’s your approach? We are the most boutique and personalized agency in the industry. We intensely, but discreetly, screen and get to know both our clients and their dates. First, they have to be personally recommended to us—we don’t advertise or buy Google Search, so FA S H I O N W E E K D A I L Y. C O M
you’re unlikely to hear about us otherwise! Then they fill out a detailed application and finally, they meet us in person. We try to be as selective as possible when choosing whom to work with. Having impressive and often-recognizable individuals representing the brand helps separate us from mainstream matchmakers, and especially from the online market. Walk us through your process. The core component of LastFirst’s service is introductions to prescreened and hand-selected matches that fit each client’s criteria, but that also have certain elements that we think will cause romantic chemistry between the two parties. These elements are the X factor that can only be determined by the hands-on approach of our team. It could be the way someone sits, what makes him or her laugh, how he or she reacts to a sudden noise, which sparks the idea for a match. Beyond introductions, we’ve expanded to include coaching, concierge services, first-date styling, follow-up-textmessage composing—really anything that falls under the category of Dating 101. We also advise clients who are in relationships through us, often helping to talk out a fight, to break down the pros and cons of moving in together, or to choose a proposal scheme. What are the first steps? We set a time and place to meet and we thoroughly get to know each other! It’s important that I truly get to know each client inside and out in order to find him or her the best possible match. It is also equally important for them to get to know me in order to feel comfortable with the service and the process itself.
Your staff is stocked with experts—a life coach, a trainer, a stylist, even a former BFA photog. Since we’re a boutique firm, our team works closely together. Our membership director, Hannah Brookes, is a seasoned matchmaker with a talent for connecting with others on all levels. While sweet and personable, her discerning eye is the final decider on who we accept into the membership. We also have an amazing Services Team, led by Josephine Wear, that acts as our in-house concierges, selecting and coordinating date venues and times, and conducting interviews with potential match candidates. We also collect post-date feedback from both parties. How many clients do you take on at a time? Because of our personalized and bespoke approach, we work with about 20 clients at a time, while our network of potential matches for them is at around a thousand people. Working with a select number, we are able to put more effort and thought into each match, and as a result we experience a high client turnover. If we are getting two to three clients into relationships per month, then we are taking on two to three new clients. Other matchmakers try to massrecruit clients, which we feel jeopardizes the level of personalized service that they should receive. Does using a matchmaker have a stigma? In the digital age of apps and absolute insanity when it comes to finding love, the stigma of using a matchmaker has definitely faded, if not totally washed away. People choose to date through a matchmaker because they know that everyone is showing up to the table looking for the same thing— an honest and loving long-term relationship…a far cry from what you might find on dating apps. What’s wrong with popular dating apps? While technology can be amazing for optimization and efficiency, it comes from an inherently nonhuman place. True love and partnership are completely adverse to technology! It is impossible for real human contact to transpire when you have hundreds of options in the palm of your hand, as with Tinder and other apps. At LastFirst, we take these distractions away and curate opportunities in real time and space for two people to connect. Our clients are all actively looking for serious relationships, and their time is too valuable to be spent swiping, meeting, and repeating at random. What do you love most about the job? Aside from getting couples engaged and married, the best part is encountering all different kinds of people. As a matchmaker, you maintain hundreds of professional relationships that are highly intimate, without being romantic. People open up to you about love in a way they might not to anyone else, because they know it’s in their best interest to be candid about their romantic past and ultimate goals. Protecting these secrets and using them to uncover what makes people tick, seduced, and fall in love, is a fascinating study of humanity. You have a lot of clients in the fashion industry. Why do some of us have trouble finding love? It’s a combination of long hours on the job and typically working with more women than men. Also, the workday continues into the evening at events and other social engagements. It’s a tiring lifestyle, so nights at home often are more appealing than an evening out with someone you’ve never met, and thus dating can take a backseat. How did you meet your fiancé? We met out socially! I so wish I could say we were match-made! I suppose there is always that one exception to the rule. ß