Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Return of the angry little red-head * Aug 1998

Another week, another casting and another foray into the big bad city... That's all I remember thinking when Storm told me to attend a casting for SA Fashion Week at designer Jenni Button's studios. I recall being boggled by the one-ways around Glynn street and weary of the warehouse type building where I seemed to be headed. This couldn't be right? But I found a parking spot somewhere and followed other gangly-looking girls into the industrial building and up the narrow staircase.

At the top, I walked smack-bang into my old friend, the 'angry little lady with a villainous red severe bob' also known as Lucilla Booysen, show director extraodinaire. She gave me a half-smile that made me wonder whether she could possibly remember me from five years before, when I'd last appeared in one of her fashion shows. But the smile disappeared as suddenly as it had arrived and she shoo'ed all the models from the entrance to the other side of the big loft.

As usual, we had to line up before strutting from one end to the other. The collection of girls present was as varied as ever and I felt a twinge of the old nerves and uncertainty as the first tall blonde sashayed her way down the make-shift runway. But by this time I'd been around the block once or twice and I suppose I'd started realising that it's nothing personal. You either have the look they're going for or you don't, so I felt slightly less intimidated than before.

When my turn came, I tried to ignore all the high-stepping pony walks I'd seen and just walked from one end to the other. Well, I walked as normally as is possible in six inch high, chunky heeled platforms! My friend Nightingale and I had found these most incredible black, strapped and buckled shoes and we both wore them non-stop, but listen, they were high! Added to my healthy 1.75m (5'9") frame, I am sure I must've looked quite more than less like a giraffe.

Lucilla frowned, Jenni Button frowned. Lucilla stared at me in confusion and then said, "dear girl, please remove those ridiculous shoes, I can't fathom how tall you really are!" I dutifully removed them, and took my place next to the other girls who hadn't been let go yet, in my stockinged feet. Their frowns lessened somewhat. They made us all walk up and down a few times more, all the while whispering and gesturing to each other. A few more girls were sent home with regretful smiles and then we were ten.

The ten of us then had to try on Jenni Button's show samples, roughly finished dresses in beautiful, softly patterned silks... I loved them. Stepping back onto our pretend catwalk in a Jenni Button gown, I felt like I was floating and by Lucilla's growing smile, I knew I'd cracked the nod.

Before we were dismissed, Lucilla gave us a list of venues and times when we had to meet with other designers being showcased at fashion week. Lucilla and Jenni chose the biggest group, then the other designers could choose however many girls they needed from the original group. I was excited to find Michelle and Lisa-Marie had made the cut too.

On my way out the door, ridiculous heels back on my feet, Lucilla glowered at me. "Throw those damn shoes in the river my girl, and that lipstick too, while you're at it!" I was a little bit shocked and offended, but managed an unsure smile with my Vixen-dark lips. Lucilla stepped closer and took a good look at me. "Also, you need a haircut. Make an appointment at Carlton Hair and tell them I sent you." I mumbled thanks and made for the door.

A few days later I showed up at the further castings with a gorgeous shiny new head of hair. A sweet soul at Carlton had given me a colour treatment in a warm, solid chocolate shade and chopped a half fringe across my brow. I felt super confident with the edgy new cut, sans ridiculous heels and even forgoing my standard dark berry lip. I got picked for every show I cast for, and a darling young designer, Natalie for Juniper, said I had just the look that she'd hoped for: a vintage, porcelain doll. I didn't quite know what to make of the compliment, but felt super excited to be a part of only the second ever South African Fashion Week.

Fashion Week '98 Casting

1 comment:

Leanda said...

Hi Girl...
Ek was in Selection Park saam met jou gewees, maar ek twyfel of jy my sal onthou.
Anyway... Ek het jou blogs ontdek en is nou gehook.....
Keep it going ! Great job !