Celebrity Hairdresser Hits The London Catwalk Part 2
Back in June 2011 I was approached by a London based designer Danish Wakeel, I was asked to be one of his catwalk models for a London venue show, although this was a big compliment my first initial thought was no, as this would be stepping a little too far out of my comfort zone but on the other hand thought it would be good fun, so I decided to go ahead. Must admit I was a little nervous walking on the catwalk but by the time I walked off I was on such a buzz that I wanted to do it all again!!
Four months later the same designer approached me and asked if I was happy to model for another one of his shows, this time I never had to think about it, it was a yes! For this show I didn’t realize that Danish was about to push boundaries even further by asking me to co- host the show with another presenter. Although I’m used to going on stage for cutting hair or public speaking, hosting a fashion show in a top London venue was something I’d never experienced. I did think to myself how does one control a crowd of people in a club, I guessed it would be down to confidence, personality and a good projection of voice on the mike!! I definitely had the first two (if you don’t mind me saying) not sure about the third! Anyway I said yes to Danish and he seemed very pleased.
The next step was to meet up with him and discuss exactly what I was going to do. Two weeks before the event we met me in my salon, we had a very productive meeting and I was happy with my contribution for the show. This wasn’t just going to be a fashion show but also a slide show showing off his past few collections, a short 10 minute film which Danish and some of his models filmed in Kent, he named the film “Demise By Temptations” this showcased his latest collection which was called “Death Being Eroticized” Finally there was going to be a model competition, I thought the latter would make the evening quite difficult to organize, (as there was so much going on) luckily for Danish he had a great fashion show organizer for his event, Michaela Harewood, I worked with Michaela on the last fashion show that Danish produced and I remember her being hard working and the lady that get things done!
It was now the morning of Friday 21st October 2011 and it was “Showtime”! The first job of the day was to look at some of my script that I’d be reading out while the slide show was being presented and generally go through the layout of the evening! An hour or so later, I headed for the underground station and began my journey into the salon. First part of the morning I was cutting hair and then at 3pm I hailed down a taxi and made my way to the venue.
When I arrived at the Mayfair venue (Aura club) most of the models were already there, including my friend Charleen Armitage (who’s in a band and has a great voice by the way) and BařBØd Mayřiž, both are fabulous people. I then sat down, relaxed for a few moments knowing that very soon it was going to get pretty hectic! While I was sitting I was observing some of the designs that Danish had created, some of them were really unusual, I think Danish has a deep imagination but I suppose he would have to considering the collection was about death, decay, cruelty, dark glamour and fetishism.
I thought now was a good time to check if there were any changes to the evening, therefore tried to find Danish and Michaela; Danish was busy dealing with his outfits and some of the models, so I headed for Michaela. After chatting to her she explained that there was going to be a few minor tweaks but nothing major, “PHEW”
I would be hosting the show with another presenter Haylan Hall; Haylan would be interviewing the artists, judges and some of the models, she would also have the first task of introducing the judges for the model competition, I happened to know all the judges as they were my friends (small world) so naturally I was pleased they were judging. There was Ilda Di Vico, who is a world class hat designer, Lilian Kristensen, who owns a fabulous model agency called Vibe International models and Tiger Lily, who’s a singer and climbing the ladder very fast. This would be followed by the girls walking out one at a time in front of the judges and of course the audience. I would be waiting back stage at this point! Between all three of us we worked everything out.
Haylan Interviewing Lewis Dunkan Weedon, Lewis is also a fashion designer and was one of Danish’s guests. Lewis held a very successful fashion show a couple of months back!
At around 7pm the audience started to arrive, therefore all the models were needed to go back stage but as my make-up wasn’t yet applied it was OK to mingle for a bit. At around 7.30pm it started to get quite busy, so I decided to go back stage.
While all the models were busy getting into their outfits and having their make-up applied, I decided to find a nice quiet corner to sit and run through once again the running order of things, strangely enough I wasn’t nervous yet but I knew that inevitable moment would come!
Around 7.45pm the make-up artist Clare Smith approached me, Clare applied my make-up last time so I knew that I was in very good hands, I just said to Clare do your stuff and that’s exactly what she did! There was another make-up artist working with Clare, Mehwish Alma, Mehwish also styled a lot of the hair. Last but not least there was Tamara Gitter, who created all the body art on the male models.
At 8.15pm Haylan was on the catwalk announcing the judges for the show, while this was happening I was backstage talking to some of the models from the competition, they were all looking very nervous, almost to the point of not wanting to walk out in front of the hordes of people, You couldn’t blame them I suppose, so thought I would intervene and speak a few words of wisdom!
Michaela asked the girls to walk out one at a time, although now they all seemed to look fairly confident, must have been my magic words of wisdom!!
There was going to be a 15 minute wait for me, unfortunately it turned out to be half an hour, I just wanted to walk out and get it over with, all I was thinking about was the 300 people waiting on the other side of the door, which was obviously the wrong thing to think about, lol.
It was now time, the music changed, Michaela looked at me and said let’s do it, the doors then opened and I made my first step onto the catwalk, my heart pounded about twice as fast but before I knew it I was half way across the catwalk accompanied by two tall models, Jennifer Baker and Alba Sanchez, there really nice girls and have known them both for a couple of years, the club was so full that it was really hard for all three of us to walk next to each other as we did in rehearsal, so Jennifer walked slightly in front, once we walked to a certain point we all stopped and posed in front of about 10 photographers, the flashes of the camera continued for about 10 seconds then Jennifer and Alba turned around and walked away.
Jennifer, Alba and me Posing to camera! I would never normally dress like this but what can one do when the designer gives you material and says put that on!!
From my rehearsals earlier Haylan was supposed to walk towards me and introduce me to the audience, what actually happened, once the music died down I turned round and couldn’t find Haylan anywhere, she was trapped in the crowd but at the time I didn’t know this, I decided to improvise, I started walking to the front of the catwalk hoping that I would find her, luckily I saw Haylan trying to approach me from the hordes of people, once she approached me I was then introduced!
I read out a brief history on some of Danish’s past fashion shows and at the same time slides of that particular fashion show were being viewed on a big screen, Haylan also spoke about some of his past collections, (we took it in turns to read it out) this was followed by Danish’s 10 minute film called Demise By Temptations, this was the first time I had viewed it and was quite taken back by how good the production quality’s were, in-fact it was excellent, well done to Danish he should be proud!!
It was now time for the fashion show, Death Being Eroticized; I announced it to the audience and the show began!
Here’s the man of the moment, Danish Wakeel!
Now for the unusual and theatrical!
While the tall female models and muscular male models walked on the catwalk, I was watching the faces of some of the women in the audience, they seemed to get excited over some of the male model physics and this did amuse me for a while! The show seemed to be popular by the reactions of the people watching, Danish certainly knows how to entertain a crowd with his creativity!
When the show finished I read the credits over the mike then Haylan thanked everyone for coming and officially announced the beginning of the party 🙂 Although I was really tired I decided to stay a little longer and relax with a glass of wine before catching the last train home!
Winner of the model competition with Michaela and me at the after party!
To watch the video of behind the scenes and fashion show, press the link directly bellow. Enjoy!!
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