By Chelsea Parker
The second annual SMU Fashion Week ended with student models walking down a catwalk created by students, with student fashionistas looking on.
This year the five-day-long Fashion Week ran from April 1 through April 5. The fashion show, sponsored by SMU Retail Club, began at 5 on on a sunny Friday afternoon on the Boulevard.
For my first SMU fashion show experience I chose to skip sitting as a spectator and went straight to playing the role of model.
As I stroll to my scheduled hair and makeup time, I expect to sit and relax as hairstylists teased and makeup artists work their magic. Surely it would be a breeze since each model had been sized and styled previously in the week. I quickly learn that this will not be the case.
Backstage preparations had begun at 2 that afternoon, but hair products are still flying and makeup brushes moving when I arrive. With nearly an hour and a half until show time, blood pressures begin to rise. Instead of falling in line with the rest of the waiting models, I make a quick decision to become a part of the process by grabbing a curling iron and helping the frantic hair stylist.
Twenty minutes later, the models who are ready start moving their second outfits to the tent. With only one hour to spare, I start to get as nervous as everyone around me. The show is fast approaching — and I still haven’t sat in the stylists’ chairs. I’m taking in the hurried looks on the faces of each coordinator as she runs back and forth between our makeshift dressing room and the event tent.
I grab my first “look” for the show off the clothing rack and gaze longingly at my contemporary Clover Canyon blazer the same way I had at my fitting session. The models’ “first looks” are all based on the theme of what SMU fashionistas will be wearing to their summer internships. My look included black strappy heels, white JBrand jeans with a blue pinstripe down the side, a white Equipment Femme blouse and a highlighter-orange Tory Burch bag — all pulled together with my new must-have Clover Canyon piece.
At the 15 minute mark before the show, most of the models have begun making their way to the tent, ready to walk to runway — which, for now, sits at the center of the Boulevard. I am dressed but still patiently waiting for hair and make up. I’m the last one in the stylist’s chair, and by the time my lips have been painted red and my hair has been braided into a Taylor Swift-style up-do, the rest of the models are long gone.
My run from the dressing room to the outdoor tent magically leaves my freshly styled hair and makeup intact, but as the last model to arrive in the tent, my nerves are frayed. Realizing I’ve arrived with no time to spare doesn’t help. The show is on!
SMU junior and life-long fashionista Lacey Crisler, who attended the show both to admire the clothes and cheer for friends on the runway, says there’s something almost magical about the first few moments of a fashion show. “As a spectator, the excitement rises at the start of the show,” she says. “Music pumps up the crowd as we get ready to pick out our favorite pieces off the models.”
After a quick announcement thanking the show’s sponsor (Tootsies boutique) and a brief introduction of the event coordinators, the DJ fired up and the first model took her step onto the elevated runway. The rest of us models danced in line backstage as we waited for our 10-second walk down the runway. My turn approached. I pushed aside my fear of tripping down the catwalk and stepped out of the tent to show off my first look.
Fifteen internship ready outfits down the runway later, every model was back in the tent changing into her second look. This time the theme was “summer play.” For instance, my second look was one piña colada away from a beach vacation. The combination of strappy brown wedges and a red-striped Parker dress left me feeling ready to spend a week in the sun.
I was relieved to end my modeling career after one short afternoon of catwalk chaos. The fashion show ended with a round of applause from the audience, the DJ playing an upbeat mash-up, and a finale walk of all the models’ second looks.
Mackenna Scripps was in charge of overseeing the SMU Retail Club’s fashion show for 2013. She says she has been working with Fashion Week event planner Daniella Lopez for months to pin down all the many details. The result: “Maybe I’m biased,” Scripps says, “but I thought the clothes were amazing, the models were great, and the weather was perfect. I loved everything about it!”