During my college days, fashion shows used to take place during 'OASIS' cultural festival at 2am. We used to stand till the wee hours and get tired just to get a glance of the show. So, ‘Attending a fashion show’ was never in my wish list. But, I got a chance to reserve a seat for a fashion show that is free of cost with limited seats of 30. I reached the venue in Paris, 30 minutes before the show began. I glanced at a brochure and came to know that the show is conducted to promote the most luxurious brands in the world as shown below:
Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone, Diane Von Furstenberg, Burberry, COS, Zadig & Voltaire, Red Valentino, Armani, See By Chloe, Claudie Pierlot, Etienne Deroeux, Nina Ricci, IRO, Louis Vuitton, Sonia Rykiel, Kenzo, Delpozo, Manoush, Tara Jarmon, Mary Katrantzou, Isabel Marant Etoile
A momentary thought popped up in my mind “how about sitting at the end of the ramp where models stay for a while and turn”. Immediately, I rushed towards the entrance only to be stopped by a well-polished gentleman clad in a designer suit. He said “Wait! You have to reserve a seat to attend this show”. I replied “I already reserved one”. To command more respect from him I said “I am a software engineer from India”. Immediately he pointed his index finger towards the exit and uttered with a sharp voice “Go and sit there. I will call you when the show begins.” His gestures made me feel really bad. While coming back, I could only hold my head down but the not the ideas in my brain.
To look funky, I wrapped a posh scarf around my neck. I went up to him again and said “I have an appointment with your Manager”. He raised his eyebrows out of surprise and said “Excuse me!” Out of nowhere, a middle-aged French lady appeared in front of us and interrupted our conversation. The gentleman pointed his index finger at me and asked that lady, “He says that he has an appointment with you. Is it correct?” I never expected my ploy to backfire in a span of few seconds. I was dumbstruck and gazed at her, waiting for her response. She replied “No. I don’t have any appointments now”. Before the gentleman kicked me out, I raised my hand and my voice saying “Wait! I can explain”. French people seem to be good listeners. She asked me to come forward and introduce myself.
I introduced myself as, “I am an ‘international travel writer’ from India. I am travelling throughout Europe and writing an article to describe each country based on a unique aspect. I choose your fashion show to write an article and describe about France.” I showed my blog in my mobile. My blog has some good posts on various experiences across each country in Europe and this made my task easier. She replied “I am sorry. You must reserve a seat beforehand for this show.” I said “I have already reserved a seat for this show. But, I want to sit at the end of the ramp where models stop by and turn so that I can have a good experience and bring out a better article.” She said “I am sorry! Those are VIP seats and reserved only for VIPs.” However, I insisted, in an authoritative tone, that I get the VIP seat to produce a better article. She asked me to wait for a couple of minutes so that she can check with the Director of the show. She came back and said “You are lucky! For today’s show, we don’t have any VIPs. So, you are our VIP.” She escorted me to the VIP seat and asked me to stay comfortable. My feeling at that moment was beyond comfortable. With an air of proudness and excitement around me, I had no words to describe that feeling. I was unable to digest that I could get a VIP seat with a convincing conversation in less than 5 minutes. I thought “No! This is not enough! I want something more!” But, beyond this privilege, I can only think of a walk on the ramp show with international models. As soon as the thought came up in my mind, I stood up and rushed my feet towards that Manager who escorted me.
I gathered all my courage to ask, “I want to walk on the ramp with those models.” It really took me nearly four times to utter these words as I am unable to digest myself walking on the ramp with those international models. Her first reaction was “Whatttttt?” as if she got a 1000W electric shock. She asked me “Are you a model?” My response was “No”. She asked again, “Have you done this before?” Again, my response was the same, “No”. She shook her head in disapproval and requested me to go and take my seat. Her reaction only made my intent stronger.
My eyes turned towards that hollow chamber where the Director sits and waited for her to come outside. After five minutes, the Director came out and I ran towards her and introduced myself as an ‘International travel writer’. I came across this fancy profession (International travel writer) just a week ago, but I never expected that it would elevate my image gigantically. She approved my credentials upon showing my blog to her. She said “Yes. I heard about you. Please go and take the VIP seat and enjoy the show. You are our only VIP today.” I replied “Thank you. But, I want to walk on the ramp with those models.” Her response was also similar “Whatttt! Are you a model?” This time, I handled the conversation smoothly and confidently. I said “No. I am not a model. But, if I walk on the ramp with those models, I will get the real feel and can bring out a really good article.” She explained that models are already trained for this 30 minute show and she cannot disturb the sequence by introducing me. I requested her to think again so that it would help me get a really good article, to describe about France through this fashion show. As the nation’s pride is at stake, she took a deep thought and asked me to wait for a couple of minutes. She came back saying, “Good news! I spoke to the models and they agreed to walk with you on the ramp towards the end of the show.” My excitement knew no bounds after hearing this. While coming back to my VIP seat, my slow motion Rajinikanth walk gathered the attention of many eyeballs of the audience.
When I started thinking of my walk with the models, my imagination went blank because I don’t know how to walk on a ramp as I have never done it before. Again, I rushed to the Director and expressed my concern. She obliged and assured me to be comfortable and arranged a mock ramp walk with a model. She suggested that my posture is stiff and asked me to stay relaxed. After a second mock walk, she approved my posture. I went back to my seat with some confidence. Audience kept watching my anxiousness during my round trips to the hollow chamber. I rushed to the Director again and asked her “Do you think that I can do this?” She said “You look cool and confident. That’s what a model needs. We believe that you can do it.” My energy levels went manifold. I felt that I was blessed with the strength of 1000 elephants. While I adorned the VIP seat, models started to walk on the ramp and exhibited the apparel of the famous designer brands. When models stop by and exhibit apparel, it appeared as if they are walking the ramp to impress me. I did not realize that the audience is noticing this.
And the big moment has come! The Director signaled me to join the models. A model came forward and held my hand aptly so that I can express myself during the walk. As soon as I started walking, the audience gave a loud applause and it lasted throughout my walk. I thought that the loud applause from the audience was to the fashion show organizers, for allowing a normal person like me to walk with the international models. I was grateful for the audience for their kind gesture. Once again, I recollected the names of those most luxurious international brands, which I am promoting in this show. Tears almost rolled behind my eyeballs and my cheeks bulged with pride and happiness. Those 30 seconds are the most memorable moments of all my Europe trips.
After completing the ramp walk, I moved towards the VIP seat to collect my knapsack. To my consternation, I was thwarted by the audience. Everyone started applauding me, “We liked your designs”, “We like the color combinations that you used”, “We liked your contemporary taste”, “All your designs are amazing”. It took me a while to understand that the audience had mistaken my identity for that of a fashion designer, because of my chequered blazer and scarf. Now, I understood that the audience applauded my walk thinking that I am a fashion designer.
Looking at my uneasiness and confused state, one among the audience asked me, “Are you a fashion designer?” As I was not prepared for such an unexpected question, I unintentionally responded “Yes… Kind of...” Everyone started murmuring “Kind of..” Now, I got into the skin of the fashion designer and responded loudly “Excuse me! I have to catch a flight now as I have to organize another fashion show in Germany. Whoever has taken my pictures or videos, please take my mail id and send it across to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you everyone.” In no time, I collected my knapsack and left that room. The gentleman, who stopped me before the event, opened the door for me with his mouth wide open. I held all my excitement and bewildered laughs till I came out of that venue and vented out everything at once like a crazy soul. The audience might have gone back to their home and would have told their friends that they met a busy fashion designer. After a week, I even received the video of my ramp walk.