Life of a model

Designers prepare for the ‘cosmos’ spring fashion show

When it comes to fashion shows, designers are not the only ones working long hours in preparation to showcase their art. Models, too, are exerting their talents to assure that the designs are presented in a way that expresses themselves as well as the designers’ visions.

Flashback — Models strutted on the runway last year after many hours of practice. Photo credit: Courtney Wheeler

Flashback — Models strutted on the runway last year after many hours of practice. Photo credit: Courtney Wheeler

With Liberty University’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) 10th annual spring fashion show quickly approaching, designers and models are gearing up to illustrate this year’s theme of “Countdown to Chic: Cosmos Fashions,” featuring collections inspired by the galaxies.

While the modeling industry is known for its glamorous styles and fierce runways, it is also known for its strict body-type and lifestyle requirements. Although the FACS fashion show is currently progressing toward meeting the industry’s high standards, it is not restrictive of diversity, according to Fashion Show Director Rebecca Floros, a Liberty graduate and last year’s “Best in Show” designer.

“There are no exact specifications for our models, especially because every design in our show is so different,” Floros said. “It is really all about the clothes. If the designer is preparing something that would look best on a pear-shape, then we would need a model with more curves, not necessarily the industry’s preferred slender frame. We also have models that are on the shorter side that are all still fabulous.”

According to fourth-year FACS model and Liberty senior Corinn Keene, the designers choose their own models depending upon the needs of their collection. The models then spend several hours training in weeks prior to the show in workshops that will prepare them for the big debut.

These workshops include a basic demonstration on the layout of the runway as well as perfecting a model’s ability to walk smoothly, pace and pivot while wearing heels.

“You do walkthroughs over and over and over again until everyone gets it right,” Keene said. “They show us where to come in at, where to walk, how long to hold a pose and stuff like that, just to show us how it’s going to work. It really is like a finely oiled machine… If one person is even slightly off, it messes up the whole routine.”

Floros expressed her excitement for the many changes coming to the fashion show this spring, including the addition of modeling coaches Eddie Tyler and Leah McNamara, both of whom have extensive experience in runway modeling for events such as the Richmond and New York fashion weeks.

cosmos couture — The fashion show will take place April 2 at the Schilling Center. Photo credit: Courtney Wheeler

Cosmos couture — The fashion show will take place April 2 at the Schilling Center. Photo credit: Courtney Wheeler

“I want the models to feel even more invested than they already are,” Floros said. “These (coaches) aren’t just students that have walked in maybe one runway show. These are experienced, high-fashion models. I think it will inspire them more, having someone with such high stature instructing them.”

The show annually displays concepts from approximately 30 designers, each of which can have up to three designs worn by three different models. This year, the show has gathered 41 models to flaunt everything celestial, from a Star Trek theme to the sun.

According to Floros, the day of the show is usually the most challenging due to the amount of time it takes to set up the stage, get prepped for hair and makeup as well as undergo the dress rehearsal for the models.

“The dress rehearsal before the show is about four hours long,” Floros said. “So, their feet are probably going to be hurting by the time they are finished with everything.”

Although it may seem like a lot of strenuous work, both Keene and Liberty junior Emily Stokes, who is also a FACS model, assure that the event is an enjoyable experience that leaves them with fond memories and a sense of accomplishment.

“I love seeing how it all comes together,” Stokes said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking when you first walk out and see all the people, but it’s also really exciting and fun. It’s really important because you feel the responsibility of getting to showcase all of the designer’s creativity. You really feel the honor of getting to represent someone who has put hours and hours of work into their designs.”

The FACS department welcomed students of all majors to audition during November and offered modeling as a fulfillment for students’ Christian Community Service requirements.

According to Keene, the show is a great way to network with other models and agencies while building up a resume. The models also have the opportunity to win awards at the fashion show, such as “Best Runway Presentation.”

“It is really good to have this kind of experience on your resume,” Keene said. “But the best part is getting to work with the other models and designers. Plus, we can win awards, too, so it is nice to be recognized. The show really is a lot of fun, and I’m excited to see how it turns out this year.”

The event will take place Saturday, April 2 at the Schilling Center. Tickets will be available online closer to the date of the event.

Elliott is a feature reporter.

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