Following my interview with Gaudet earlier in the day, I ran into a familiar face backstage, a friend of mine, Elise Helene Gatschene. Elise and I go way back, having danced together for three years when we were younger. Now, tall and gorgeous as she was, Elise was preparing to walk the Comrags runway (which I later proudly saw her open) and was awaiting maquillage and to have her fiery red locks tamed by the L’Oréal Beauty Team backstage. I joined her in the model waiting area, feeling like a feverish child at a walk-in clinic awaiting my name to be called by the nurse. To both sides lay tables carpeted with healthy snacks and coffee machines, neither which I found myself able to nip from as they were strictly for stylists. At the very back of the tent we sat, the models and I, joking together and making light and friendly conversation. Although many tend to be intimidated by them, these darling models were cordial and companionable, and after a few minutes I had realized just how much I was enjoying myself. Elise introduced me to a few of the other girls, many being from her agency at Elmer Olsen Model Management, and soon enough I knew all the girls by name.
After what felt like an hour, Elise was called upon by a handsome stylist to have her hair started on for the show. She beckoned for me to follow and I came and stood next to her to watch intently. The sociable stylist, Alex, flashed me a congenial smile and pulled out the next chair over for me to sit in. Such a gentleman. Beaming, I took a seat and dove into a lengthy, enthralling chat with Alex who had me completely captivated in his stories. Clearly it was natural for him, he continued to chat animatedly, filling me in on the details of his life as a stylist. Enraptured, I scribbled furiously into my notepad, making a mental note to do a piece on it later. Distracted for a moment by a loud ruckus across the table, I glanced up from my notepad, observing the small group of stylists who had crowded around a timid-looking model and the head stylist, Eddie. Curious, I asked Alex what it was that they were doing. Evidently pleased at the interest in his expertise, he explained that each show had their specific way of styling, and that beforehand there is always a demonstration to ensure that it is being done exactly as requested by the designers (who were, as Alex pointed out, standing in the inner circle). Now on my feet and craning my neck, I wandered over to the circle, interested in what they were saying. I stood timidly next to the two marvelous masterminds behind Comrags, who seemed to be deep in thought while analyzing the look of the model before them. Eyebrows furrowed and pressed together, they were clearly put out by something. Listening carefully, (though with them next to me it was not hard) I overheard them fretting about whether or not the hairstyle was good enough, whether or not it would be liked. Taking my chances, I bravely put my two cents in, leaning over and whispering that I thought it looked absolutely incredible, and looked exactly how they had planned for it to. They ogled me for a moment, scrutinizing my words, then relaxed when they realized my sincerity, that I had meant it.
“Do you really think the hair is alright?” one of them asked me, “It’s not too much then?”After all, the look they had in mind was spectacular and I knew the crowds outside would whole-heartedly agree. They looked at each other and shrugged, relaxing. Overjoyed that I had just comforted two designers whom I absolutely adored, my stomach flocked with tiny butterflies. Curious appetite whetted, I turned back to where Elise sat patiently, focused intently on her iPhone, texting (or should I say tapping?) away. She looked up as I snapped some shots of her current hairstyle-in-the-works, making attitudinizing faces at me with her beautiful features, chiseled-to-perfection. Elise looked absolutely ablaze as her fiery red hair was being manipulated into what the stylists called “a lovely mess”. A beautiful disaster, I thought to myself as I recorded a clip for my media library, brilliant.
“Of course not!” I replied, “Honestly, I think it looks down-to-earth and pretty cool.”
At twenty-past-five, models scrambled to get backstage as the Director of Hair and Makeup, Phillipe, ushered them gingerly out of their seats and into the backstage area directly behind the runway set. Comrags was scheduled to start in a mere ten minutes!
“Ze models ‘only ‘ave ten minutes, please ‘urry with zem!” he cried out to his team of hair and makeup professionals, in the darling French-Canadian accent that I loved.
The remaining models stood up and scurried where their names were posted on the clothing racks, delicately guarding their finished hair with their hands by their heads. I followed, documenting it all in my notepad with a smile playing across my lips. The backstage adventure was just about over, but now it was time for the real thing.