Last weekend, I did something unusual.
And I don’t mean dumping flour or frosting all over kids’ heads, getting run over with shopping carts by mentally unhinged housewives, or witnessing a brutal beat-down in a McDonald’s parking lot at midnight–those are everyday occurrences for me.
No, I went to my very first fashion show.
To my great surprise, St. Louis has its own Fashion Week here in the Midwest. It’s a week-long affair, sponsored by ALIVE magazine, that hosts Missouri models, designers, and draws the die-hard fashion savvy crowd to places like Plaza Frontenac and Hotel Lumiere for its shows. I opted for attending Saturday night’s all-out bash, Liquid Style, a runway show where the fashionable crowd mixed and mingled with their stilettos and furs and sparkly headbands and watched exclusive collections from the most posh boutiques in St. Louis grace the runway.
My husband and I ended up being the first to arrive at the hotel, the first people photographed by the professional photographers in the lobby, and the first people asked to step onto the red carpet for our photos to be taken against the “official” backdrop.
That’s right–two people who regularly shop at Goodwill and live on a dime are currently gracing the event headlines at the magazine’s website.
We definitely stood out from the crowd, as I suspected we might as we dressed for the event. I wore a multicolored Trina Turk top, and Tyler wore a bright pink Robert Graham shirt with a dapper vest and fedora (and I only slightly hinted at putting that particular outfit together–he’s a natural on his own). Many of the people there wore standard black, so apparently they aren’t picking up on the trends that scream, “Color is in! Black is out this season!”
Ironically, as I scored incredible seats right next to the runway–mere feet away from where the photographers and videographers set up, Tyler wandered away in search of hors d’oeuvres and ended up getting asked to be put in the magazine. He had started chatting with another guy, who asked where he got such a bright shirt, when a photographer approached him with release forms and a large camera and had him pose. Apparently, they started asking Tyler what he did for a living (assuming he was in the fashion industry), and their jaws dropped on the floor when he told them he was studying to become a pastor.
Hours after the show, once we had finished with dinner, we had couples coming up to us as we strolled around, asking if Tyler had something to do with Fashion Week. We laughed as one guy came running up and proclaimed that he had seen Tyler “from five stories up” in the hotel and was banking on the fact that Tyler headed up the whole event.
Of course, the man who normally lives in Rays t-shirts and flip-flops would end up getting these kind of compliments all night long.
While Tyler was gallivanting around with photographers, I was chatting with the mother and aunt of one of the models, who had driven several hours to attend the show. I listened to them talk about the girl so much that I felt like I nearly knew her, without even ever seeing her. They pointed out every time she was going to walk the runway in the program, and were so excited that it was infectious–I couldn’t help but root for their daughter, and was eagerly anticipating her stepping out to strut her stuff.
The music blared so loud you couldn’t hear anything but a pulsing beat, the VIPS swung their furs and luxurious leather handbags over their shoulders and took their seats, and the lights dimmed and focused in on the stage, and the show began.
I loved it all–the exquisite clothes, the models gliding down the runway, the crowd saying, “Oooo” with delight.
The model’s aunt and mother started getting visibly antsy, as we neared the moment when their precious teenager would sashay out onto the stage.
“Three more to go,” her aunt whispered to me, “two more, one more….there she is!”
And then I became positively speechless, for one of the first times in my adult life:
The model–their little sweetie with a heart of gold–was prancing down the runway in a teeny black top, sheer fish net tights, and towering black heels.
Very sheer tights.
Her whole bum was hanging out for all the world to see.
I managed to muster up a confused smile as her aunt jammed her elbow into me, saying, “Oh, she looks great, doesn’t she? And that’s really her bottom–it’s not underwear or anything!”
I found myself wondering, “What on earth is the proper etiquette of complimenting someone else’s rear end?”
The model pranced down the runway, with her shoes clip-clopping across the surface. She came within feet of us, flashed a smoldering look at the cameras, and then flipped her hair and whirled around and–um–flashed us once again.
As she disappeared behind the curtain, her aunt leaned over and said, “Oh my goodness, she was amazing! What did you think?”
I gulped and said, “Wow, she’s really…brave.”
And then, fearing I had just unwittingly insulted her niece, the words just started pouring out of my mouth, “She had a great walk–so confident and graceful. Oh, she was wonderful. A true natural. She has a future in this. Oh, wow. I’m stunned. Amazing.”
Finally, the next model was upon us and I used the momentary distraction as a welcome excuse to shut my yammering mouth.
Go figure–of all of the models, I had to sit next to the family of the one who was dressed the most risquely of them all.
So, enlighten me, my fellow fashionable friends. What is the etiquette of complimenting someone’s derriere?
That’s right. You’re as flabbergasted as I was, too.
All in all, it was a great night. We had a blast, we talked to a ton of great people–despite what you’d think about the fashion world, they’re some of the most genuinely happy and friendly people I’ve ever spent time with–and we enjoyed the show immensely.
Just don’t expect me to be stepping out in sheer tights anytime soon.
I think I’ll be scarred by that one for a while…