There’s always some sort of disaster backstage at a fashion show. Same goes for a theater performance. Even though I always pack an emergency sewing kit, sometimes the mishaps are beyond what my sewing kit can handle. A disaster of this non-sewing nature happened to me at Omaha Fashion Week this year. I had planned for all of my models to wear a pair of oversized glasses on the runway. I talk about they were tedious to create here. Since each pair had quite a bit of time invested in them, I didn’t make any extras. (Oh, regrets!)
So, when a pair of these glasses snapped right in half shortly before my models were supposed to lineup to go out on the runway, all of my experience dealing with backstage theater emergencies rushed forward and I went into hardcore theater mode. I started flying through this list immediately:
1) Determine the situation’s WORST CASE SCENARIO and start coming to terms with that, just in case it is reality. (Also, make sure you actor/model is focusing on THEIR job and not getting caught up in a guilt/apology cycle.)
2) Assess the damage.
3) Sift through all supplies/tools on hand.
4) Brainstorm all supplies/tools that could be acquired QUICKLY.
5) Disperse all hands on deck to start taking action.
6) GET TO WORK!
For this, the worst case scenario was we’d be short one pair of glasses. Or one model would wear a regular pair of prescription glasses that didn’t match the others. In reality, really not TOO horrible of a situation. In the moment of panic after months of months of prepping for this, it felt like a bigger deal.
We tried the standard masking tape over the broken bridge of the glasses like the classic nerd-style,which would’ve worked okay with my collection’s theme but tape didn’t hold. I sent my partner out for Super Glue, and that didn’t work either. (Although I can cross “Super glue your fingers to a pair of broken, handmade glasses” off my bucket list. And then maybe make a cooler bucket list.) This is when another model pointed out that the pair of frames that I was wearing that night didn’t have lenses and could used as part of the solution. We located some black stretchy elastic thread from another backstage designer and started strapping the two broken pieces onto my lens-less frames. It looked like a sad, haggard mess of a repair when you were up close, but at that point it was time to throw the glasses on the model and step up to send models out onto the runway.
I am so committed to great craftsmanship, clean stitching, high quality, etc, that this was really hard for me to put on the runway in front of an audience! Luckily, I really only had about 12 seconds to hesitate and then I had no other choice! Although, I will admit that I’m pretty impressed with the overall result. I asked a few friends that were out in the audience if they noticed and not even one of them had a clue. And, check out this photo from g thompson higgins gallery! The model looks amazing and you’d never know there had been this huge flurry of repair brainstorming going on minutes before my models stepped out on the runway. (Except for the fact that I blogged all about it…..) There are definitely no hard feelings between me and the model. He was assured MANY times of that fact, and he looked great on the runway even with a pair of makeshift glasses. Actually, I suspect his were far more comfortable than the other models’ anyways.