Celebrity Hairdresser Hits The London Catwalk Part 1
It all started after receiving an email from one of my friends who’s a fashion designer, Danish Wakeel. I met Danish on the London scene around two years ago. He asked me if I would be interested in modelling at one of his fashion shows that he was planning for June 2011, the show was to be called Dandy Meets The Metrosexual. Danish is also a professional model and models his own catwalk shows along with his other modelling assignments. He also has a degree in air transport studies from city university London, clever man!
Anyway, my first initial thought was yes but on reflection, I became a bit indecisive the reason being; although I’ve been on camera a couple of times as a model, I’ve never modelled on a catwalk, and the last thing I wanted to do was to let the side down, so to speak. Danish explained that there’s no problem, he would make sure that I looked the part and I would be taught how to walk properly on the catwalk, when you get to know Danish he has a very calm and reasoning manner and makes you feel good about yourself, so I agreed to take part.
Although I had the date for the show written in my diary, what I didn’t think about was the rehearsal time and make-up etc, the problem was I had quite a few hair clients already booked in, I presumed that if I arrived at 4 pm, that would be enough time but Danish asked If I could arrive around midday! This stressed me a little as a lot of my clients are regulars and I didn’t want to let them down at such short notice but also knew how important this was for Danish and didn’t want to let him down either, so I put my negotiating powers to use. After phoning all my clients, to my surprise they agreed to come in a lot earlier in the morning and then Danish agreed for me to arrive at around 1 pm, all sorted!!
There was one more thing to sort out and that was organizing my own photographer, this would be for behind the scene shots and of course the all-important show itself.
The photographer’s name is Lee Collie, Lee has done a few jobs for me in the past and was also recommended by Ross Cambell who’s one of the directors from Sky’s Angels magazine. Lee is a very experienced photographer so I was very happy for him to cover the event for me and he was equally as happy to be my photographer for the whole event, perfect partnership.
My day of crimping started at 8 am in the salon and I worked through till 1 pm, I then jumped into a taxi and head down to the venue.
When I arrived at the venue, The Runway Club that’s situated in New Oxford Street, London, there were about 20 models already there, with another 10 to arrive. One thing I noticed was that the majority of male models were quite muscular, usually, they’re just tall and slim, so lucky for me I’d been training hard in the gym. The first thing I did was introduce myself to some of the models then within 30 minutes Danish asked me to try on some of his outfits, I was to wear just one outfit for the show. Around 3 pm some more models arrived and one of them was a lady that I’d previously met on Facebook, Kat. As well as a model Kat also runs her own business’s “Explosion PR” and an events company “Secret Sundays”, (clever girl) it was nice seeing a recognizable face even though I hadn’t actually met her, she was very friendly and down-to-earth, which I liked.
Some of the models now started to practice on the catwalk, I watched very closely, taking in as much info as possible, (I didn’t want to show myself up too much when it came to me practising you see!) I managed to watch for about an hour and then I was asked to have my make-up applied, this was going to be interesting as the make-up design would be white on half of my face (vertically) and the other half with blue lines, the lines would start from my eye and work outwards. I questioned the make-up Danish asking if I had to have this creation rather than just going as me, I asked him because I was about to have lots of photos taken by Lee and all the other photographers and I wanted to be completely recognizable, as you never know where all the photos will end up! I felt bad for asking because Danish had enough on his plate and I didn’t want to add to the tension, (besides I hate prima donnas and didn’t want to become one of them, lol). Danish promised that I would still be recognizable and if not he would get his make-up team to remove it, OK, so I felt a little bad for asking!!
Backstage there were two make-up artist’s Clare Smith and Dimple Patel, they worked on 30 models and two presenters, they did a fantastic job on creating this extensive artistic make-up, they really did the job of five make-up artists! Clare did my make-up, it took her about 30 minutes which was very fast considering that this was no ordinary make-up job. When Clare had finished she convinced me that I was still recognizable, in fact at this point I didn’t even care because I thought the make-up design looked great. Well done Clare and Dimple!
A few of the models had the most amazing body art, which was created by Aliya Khan and three of the male models (one of them Danish) had a corset painted on them, very impressive Aliya!
Last, of the artists, there were two hairdressers that styled 31 of the models, Lina Varaniene and Kim Lomax again very impressive because I felt they did the job of around five hairdressers, (which is extremely tiring) I was the only one that they didn’t style, for obvious reasons of me styling it myself. They did a very good job of everyone’s hair.
It was now time for me to practice walking on the catwalk and show the choreographer Reuben Joseph what I was made of. Remember I had previously been watching Reuben showing the other models what to do because it wasn’t just the case of walking up and down, he wanted to make it more theatrical and therefore had to choreograph it to perfection.
Anyway back to the part where I was about to show myself up, as I started to walk down the catwalk I was concentrating on holding my head up high, walking fairly quick, shoulders pulled back, thinking I was doing at least a half-decent job, he looked at me and said, “mmmm, I think I’ll need a good 15 minutes with you”, well what can one do! I gave it my best shot!!
For the next hour or so I sat back and watched all the professionals walking and doing their theatrics on the catwalk. At around 6 pm Reuben got back to me and then showed me how it’s done, (he was just brilliant and like myself a total perfectionist) after about 15 minutes of practice he did seem quite happy with me, although time will now tell as I only had a few hours to go!!
Just before the show started Rae Lim and her dancing partner put on a spectacular Salsa dance routine.
The next group of photos are some of the models at work, the first being the main man himself Danish Wakeel, with his corset body art designed by Aliya Khan, to his trousers and long asymmetric jacket both designed by his own hands (along with his entire collection)
The next few hours passed very quickly indeed and it was nearly time to strut my stuff. Danish organized my catwalk debut near the end, which would be the closing of the show. I was to walk on with two of the models, Masha Bogdanova, who I previously met on Facebook but this was the first time I actually met her (same as Katusha) and Marta Dobrowolska, who I met for the first time from an introduction through Danish, both Masha and Marta were really lovely girls, easy to chat to and very friendly. The idea was for the three of us to walk on together, then I would walk one way and the girls the other, we would meet on the way back, then all three of us would stand and pose for the camera’s (and boy there were lots of them), then Masha and Marta would try and yank my top off and I’d be stopping them from completely taking it off, so as I mentioned earlier a bit theatrical!!
One of the presenters Emma Hall, announces my name, the other presenter standing next to her was Fiona Ogedegbe.
A few seconds later I was walking the catwalk, as I walked out I heard people shouting my name and whistling from the 300 audience, which obviously was music to my ears but I just concentrated and tried to remember everything that Reuben taught me, my stomach did churn a little but all in all was great fun to do.
After the last pose to the camera, all three of us turned around and kept going until we reached the end of the catwalk and then walked off. Phew, overall think it went quite well!
As I walked off the catwalk the first thought I had was one of relief but a minute or so later just wanted to do it all again, crazy what adrenalin does!!
Well here was my chance to do it all again, as I would now walk the catwalk one more time, this would be with a friend of mine who’s also a fashion designer Lewis-Duncan Weedon, I’ve known Lewis for many years and felt good to walk with him, Lewis and I walked with the main man himself “Danish”, this was to congratulate him for such a successful show. When we got to the end of the catwalk we all posed to the camera for about 30 seconds, turned around and then walked off.
Now it was time to relax and enjoy the after-party!
Photographic credits: First photo taken by Charlie Hustle, three credited photos by Alan Harbord, one credited photo by Dan Harley, rest of Photos by Lee Collie.
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