Not Your Typical Monday -- Art Hearts Fashion Week 2016
A snippet from my grand adventure in the Golden State
Hollywood, Calif. — “Kate Miles,” I said, peering over a pair of black aviators.
The security guard standing outside the window of our black jeep studied me for a moment. “You are on the list.” His grin followed the removal of a velvet rope that was separating me fromthe magical moments to come.
It was falling in love; slow at first and then all at once. If not for the sound of my black stiletto heel against the pavement I would have believed that I was floating. Until this moment Los Angeles Fashion Week was something that I had prepared for, but I had been so busy with school and fundraising that I hadn’t come up with any expectations or even given it much thought at all.
But here I was, on Monday, March 14, unloading 15 garment bags into the kitchen of the Taglyan Cultural Complex -- one of the most fabulous event centers in Hollywood. From models to dressers to hair and makeup artists, there were at least a hundred people fluttering about the crisp white tents and sterile kitchen area that was designated for crew members.
The all-pervasive smell of hairspray and alcohol filled the staging space, infused with both laughter and tears as the final hours ate at everyone’s nerves. Models shuffled from one designer to the next, mostly naked, but too rushed for anyone to notice.
As my team and I steamed the garments and the models were fitted, hundreds of people circulated the premises, catching other shows and taking red carpet photos.
My time slot was the opening for the 9 p.m. show — A prime position on the opening night of Los Angeles Fashion Week. By the time 9 p.m. rolled around I hadn’t even found all of my models, but luckily in the fashion world 9 p.m. really means 10 or 10:30 p.m., so there was time.
Television reporters and journalists scoured the backstage, asking questions and taking pictures as I zipped the last model into her dress. I sputtered quick replies through my braces, too caught in the moment to think about “how I got started?” or “what inspires me?”
Good thing I don’t have T.V. I won’t have to see me making a fool of myself that way, right?
People with purple hair, electric eye glasses, and fur trousers spilled though the front-of-house while the D.J. got them moving.
The models got in line and the lights went off.
“Think chocolate,” I said, passing around a bag of chocolate covered pomegranate seeds to the models. “Feel beautiful.”
Makeup artists swarmed each models’ face by threes and fours for touch-ups, and hair stylists ran up and down the line tweezing each hair into place.
As we stood in anticipation, a red-headed model in one of my tulle skirts started to dance. Before I knew it all fifteen girls were breaking it down and movement spread backstage like a sunrise licking up a spring morning, with dew-like rays bouncing off the chandeliers in strobes of magenta and violet.
I had my eyes closed in a belly laugh when the first model took to the runway. It was when I opened them that time stopped. I saw each and every dress in a row for the first time, each one beaming with the joy spilling out of the women within their seams.
Before I knew it I was ushered onto the runway. It was all I could do to not to fall from my pointy-toed shoes as an eruption of camera flashes and the throb of exhilaration flashed in my brain.
It was beautiful.
The room was swirling with colors and excitement and in that moment I could see the joy that I poured into my art from my own soul had multiplied and spread across the blurred faces in the audience.
My segment of the show was exactly six minutes and 47 seconds. That may not be enough time to change someone’s life or impact the world, but in those short minutes, there were people that were able to receive a small sip of joy from what they saw, and it tasted sweet.