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For the second year running my job at the Graduate Fashion Show was a dresser. I’m sure you’ve all watched lots of fashion shows and marveled at the composure of the models but it’s the complete opposite backstage.

Think of it like a duck floating across a pond with it’s legs frantically paddling underwater. Backstage we are the legs.

duck

It’s hot, it’s sweaty, it’s totally manic and within a hour or so of meeting your model for the first time know them so well there is no embarrassment. Shoes on, shoes off, shoes on….. bra on, bra off, bra on… nipple plasters on… you get the picture. My model was lovely and didn’t complain once even though she was mostly wearing Autumn/Winter clothes and it was definitely Spring/Summer weather.

Here’s some backstage pictures to give you an idea of what it’s like.

Meeting the models and sorting out which model station is having which clothes – this is the worst stage, you think it’s never going to come together.

The next step is model try-ons to make sure everything fits. There are lots of swap rounds at this stage if something is too long, too tight or too loose for a model or if the shoes for that outfit don’t fit. It’s the time the dressers and models start to lean what shoes and accessories go with which outfit and how best to get the clothes on and off in a hurry. Also now is where you find out whether any alterations need doing or whether a few safety pins will work well instead!

            

The colourful outfit below was originally intended for a female model but no one was tall enough for the trousers so luckily we had a mega-tall male model who fitted into it instead.

The models queue for hair and make-up …

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… which gives the dressers time and space to organise their rails making sure the shoes are lined up in order and all accessories are close to hand.

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There is always a lot of waiting around.

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And then it’s time for the dress rehearsal which picks up any further problems with the clothes or shoes particularly the fit – this means there may be more swap rounds. Of course the dressers then have to familiarise themselves with the new outfits before the first fashion show.

Then the real work begins. Normal changes are a rush but if you have any quick changes that usually means no more than 30 seconds to change a model from head to toe. For these you have to have help and there are usually 3 or 4 dressers on each model.

Here you can see models running across the room already undressing themselves ready for a quick change.

DSC02377There’s always time for a quick tweak and a hair and make-up touch up …

DSC01911DSC01921… and in the blink of an eye, the models compose themselves and step onto the catwalk.

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This is my lovely model Sarah-Jane strutting her stuff on the catwalk.

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