The Label spring presentation, held during the first day of The Collections in Toronto, was, for me, a rush. Designers Shawna Robinson and Natalie Sydoruk asked me to walk in their show, and I, never one to turn down a chance in the spotlight (especially in next season’s clothes), had to oblige.
Like many aspects of fashion week, modeling in a show involves a lot of waiting followed by adrenaline-inducing activity. We models gathered backstage as manicurists from Tips Nail Bar adorned us with diva-worthy metallic finishes. Meanwhile, M.A.C makeup artists gave me a bright lip, and Aveda’s hair stylists pulled my hair back into a tight twisted ponytail that I wish I could replicate on my own. Even with all the runway shows I’ve attended in the past, this time I was exposed to just how many people it takes to make it happen: for only 14 models there must have been almost twice the number of hair and makeup artists, a dresser for each of us, stylists and music producers, along with the designers and their assistants. The space behind the runway is tiny, and, as I change into my first look with the help of my dresser – yes, someone dressed me – the anticipation mounts.
Natalie, a former model herself, leads us on a walk through. “Walk slowly and take your time,” she councils. Secretly I fret about my runway coach’s – I have one of those too – warning that I rush when I walk. When the moment comes, and I step in front of the lights, all former teachings go out the window and all I can concentrate on is one foot in front of the other (“Just remember: left, right, left, right,” texts my ever-patient boyfriend when he receives anxious messages) and most importantly, do not look anyone in the eye, something that would certainly throw off any semblance of confidence I hope I’m portraying. Before I know it, I’ve closed the show in my second look, walk the finale, and it’s all done.
The greatest thing about Label is that the clothes are the ultimate in wearable cool. This outing was all light, sporty separates with a distinct It-girl element. Pops of tangerine and Kelly green along with geometric prints were scattered amongst the otherwise neutral pieces. All were styled through the lens of ‘90s grunge, with waist-tied shirts and sweat suit material as streetwear.
Thus, my turn on the catwalk ended, frightening and fantastic all at once. I will return to my spot in the audience, where the thrills are more of the sensory variety than blackout dazzle, but the headiness of those ten minutes is something I’ll never forget.