Words by Aisha Alvarez
Any student at TFI knows how important it is to secure as many new opportunities that are presented to us by Bryce. What’s more important is to make the most of your experience, take home invaluable skills and create the best memories along the way! Well… That’s exactly what I set out to do, without knowing that I would walk away with much for then I anticipated.
To start off, let me tell you how my day begun.
I was confirmed for the second session at 1PM, so naturally, I meticulously planned my trip the night before. Oh, and for more context, I don’t drive. So, a trip that could’ve taken me 25 minutes, took me 1.15hrs! Everything would’ve been fine if the trains weren’t delayed that day, so in a $40 uber I went (after trekking it half way to the location) to make sure I was there on time. Fast forward to arriving at Baker St. Studios with 2 minutes to spare, I was already taken back by the energy inside of the room. All of us TFI girls were eagerly waiting in our seats, ready for any instructions to be yelled our way. After our small induction, we entered studio 1 where we met the styling team, production team and of course Christopher.
One thing you will learn quickly when entering the fashion world is to throw out every expectation you have of what a renowned fashion designer would look like. For some reason I thought they all resembled Pierre Cadault from Emily in Paris, barking orders at their interns with a crème brûlée in hand… Always.
Unrealistic I know, but all the movies make it seem like a marvellous narrative to believe in.
Instead, I met with a regular, hardworking man. Someone so focused and consumed by his work that he was adjusting his garments right up until the models were being pushed onto the runway to walk. Someone so particular that everyone’s shoulder he looked over, they knew that their attention to detail needed to be beyond perfect. I realised that he didn’t need to be wearing anything over the top, designer or stylish to be recognised. I knew exactly who he was before he introduced himself because he of how focused he was on his work. You could cross paths with him on the street and be completely oblivious that he has attracted a global reputation amongst some of the world’s best designers. Witnessing how he works and moves on set was an experience that I will always remember and try to match whenever I’m assisting on set too.
Before volunteering as a dresser for the Christopher Esber x Mattue show, I hadn’t had any experience in being behind the scenes of a fashion show, EVER. So, you can imagine how starstruck I was when I met the models. I thought that running my little paws through racks and racks of his new collection was as good as it was going to get, but little did I know how captivating the models were going to be wearing his clothes.
When we entered the studio where the runway had been set up, us dressers stood into a single file line and waited for further instructions. The head stylist called us up one by one and assigned us our own models. I was too eager to wait, so as she got closer to me I counted down the line of models to see which one was mine.
When I realised that I was responsible for dressing Roberta, my tiny cold heart skipped a beat. If any of you are into chic, French, beautiful runway models, Roberta is your girl. When I introduced myself, I was like a shy school girl shaking in her boots before accepting an award. That’s exactly how I felt because I thought I had just won the jackpot.
Fast forward to her first outfit change, it was my time to shine. Her first look was paired with the most luxe, tight fitting (emphasis on tight fighting), R.M. Williams boots. I also had a pair of sockets in my hand that I had to attempt to put on her. All eyes were on me because she was one of the first models who had to walk on the runway. So of course, I pretended to know what I was doing – took a wild guess at how to put on sockets – and failed. To top everything off, my thumb got stuck in between those tight-fitting shoes we talked about and her ankle. It wasn’t subtle, it was long and painful. Lucky for me, Roberta was really nice about it. We both laughed and moved on quite swiftly, but my face was definitely red – and my thumb purple.
Roberta was one of many models that I was so mesmerised by. When they all first entered the room, I couldn’t take my eyes off them. Their beauty was captivating and it was a really wonderful feeling knowing that I was admiring so many young women.
All in all, everything was magical. The runway was transformed into a whisky, white, tunnel of draped goodness and the day ran smoothly. I’m so grateful to have been a part of this experience and humbled that my first time assisting on a runway show was for Christopher Esber.