When my friend Perla Porto asked me to bare my gams and don a pair of sassy stilettos for the inaugural showing of her new shoe line, The Girl from Ipanema, I didn’t hesitate. Help a budding and talented designer? Of course! Deprive the world of my modelling? They’ve already waited 26 years! (That initial enthusiasm was, of course, before I knew that the runway was a long, rock-solid flight of stairs at the Bata Shoe Museum—more on navigating the fun-way later.)
My call time at Lily of the Valley, the Toronto salon where Perla has been practising as an aesthetician since moving from Brazil five years ago. Lily (the salon owner and master hairstylist) is giving the models Brazilian beach-worthy waves.
After being shuttled to the venue, we’re being outfitted in (my favourite) Lilliput Hats and (the lovely) LuvPomelo accessories. There’s all the frantic last-minute action one would expect, but enough of Perla’s infectious positive spirit and overall female camaraderie (with a healthy dose of self-deprecation among the mostly novice crew) to keep everyone cool.
I begin my first tour down the runway: a steep L-shaped staircase that descends into the packed lower floor of the museum. Fashion editors—including FLARE’s Mosha Lundström Halbert and Caitlin Kenny—are all looking up to catch a glimpse of the summer-perfect sandals and shoes that come in an under-the-sea palette of bright coral, yellow and turquoise.
After four successful (read: I stayed on my feet) trips down the catwalk—one in a sky-high pair of tan strappy stunners, I might add—I can relax. Same goes for Perla and the rest of the girls. We listen to the live Brazilian band, sip wine passed around by cute waiters and delight in the fact that we’re part of what promises to be a hot new name on the Canadian fashion scene.