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Fashion Spread in The Encounter (jan/feb 2015)

Omaha stylist, Nicholas Wasserberger, is doing some seriously phenomenal work.  I love when he requests my pieces for any of his upcoming photoshoots because I know I’m going to turn into the heart-eyed emoji when I see the final fashion spread in print.

Yesterday I got the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of The Encounter and Nicholas has done it again.  I have the heart-shaped eyes to prove it.

 

Encounter jan/feb 2015 fashion spread featuring Audio Helkuik blue-violet pleated satin pants.

 

Encounter jan/feb 2015 fashion spread:

Photography: Bill Sitzmann

Stylist: Nicholas Wasserberger

Hair & Makeup: Sandy Butt, Victor/Victoria Salon & Spa

Model: Jordyn

Clothing/Accessories: Audio Helkuik, Hello Holiday, Wallflower Artisan Collective and stylist’s own

 

 

To view/purchase my blue-violet pleated satin pants: https://www.etsy.com/listing/130462597/blue-violet-pleated-satin-pants 

 

 

Links to other wardrobe pieces:

Hello Holiday

Wallflower Artisan Collective

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Kabarett of the Absurd

“Kabarett of the Absurd” photo collection by Blacksheep Photography features clothing and accessories from my sugar.skin.circus collection.  Here are a few of my favorite shots:

Model wears Circus Sun Goddess Headdress, Carnival Kimono Shrug, Sunburst Circus Tank and Avocado Velvet Cuffs.

 

Model wears Three Ring Militia Hat & Circus Bustle Jacket.

 

Model wears Three Ring Militia Hat & Circus Bustle Jacket.

 

Model wears Circus Sun Goddess Headdress, Carnival Kimono Shrug, Sunburst Circus Tank & Avocado Velvet Cuffs.

 

 

To see the rest of the “Kabarett of the Absurd” photo series, click here: KABARETT OF THE ABSURD

To shop the clothing & accessories you see, click here: sugar.skin.circus collection

 

Photography: Blacksheep Photography

Clothing & Accessories: Audio Helkuik

HMU: Ash Robinson

Models: Chrisane Jarosz, Sammy Greer, Chelsea Hanna Nielsen

 

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Fashion Show Trolley Ride

At the Omaha Fashion Week finale runway show last August, the large main backstage area was several blocks away from the small actual-backstage-to-the-runway area.  They had a trolley bring models back and forth when they needed to be on deck for the runway.

My rainbow models entering the trolley (followed by Ellene McClay’s warrior models).

Under different circumstances, this trolley ride would’ve been a super fun time.  Unfortunately, everyone was exhausted from prepping ALLLLLL day and waiting ALLLLLLL evening, and hopping on the trolley meant you were about to hop on the runway, so nerves were high.

Glam-blur models.

Even with the exhaustion and the nerves, my models still seemed to have fun.  They always do.

Chillin’ on the trolley.

The model in blue, Nick, thinks something about the trolley ride is HUH-larious.

It was a short trip, but for some reason the trolley ride made quite a memory for me.  I’m sure a lot of people that rode it just hopped on and didn’t think about it again, but I thought it was cool.  I love taking blurry pictures (sorry! it’s a random hobby!) so a trolley ride over cobbled brick streets gave me the perfect setting for vibrating, blurry pictures.

Rainbow models say goodbye to the fashion trolley.

 

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Omaha Fashion Week “Best of the Week” Runway Finale Show

Omaha Fashion Week had themed runway shows Monday-Friday and held a “Best of the Week” finale show on Saturday of their week of fashion.  I was invited to show my collection at this runway show.  TWO RUNWAY SHOWS IN ONE WEEK = crazy and exciting.

I’ve already posted the photos that g thompson higgins gallery took at the midweek show with all twelve looks from my monoprismatic collection.  You can look at them here.  I decided to show just six looks at the finale runway show.  I showed a pared down version of the color spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet.

Here are the photos by g thompson higgins gallery from the OFW Finale Runway Show.

Model: Symieon Harrison
Hair/Makeup: Sirens at the Loft

Model: Aaron Steward
Hair/Makeup: Sirens at the Loft

Model: Dawaune Hayes
Hair/Makeup: Sirens at the Loft

Model: Domy Alai
Hair/Makeup: Sirens at the Loft

Model: Nick Watson
Hair/Makeup: Sirens at the Loft

Model: Chikadibia Ebirim
Hair/Makeup: Sirens at the Loft

g thompson higgins gallery: http://www.gthompsonhiggins.com

 

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Oh, the glamour of runway rehearsal . . .

I love this snapshot of my the six models I featured in the Omaha Fashion Week finale runway show.  They are lined up and waiting to rehearse on the outdoor runway.  I think I love this photo for few reasons:

1) I have awesome models.  I love them so much.

2)   Models look so different when they show up for a fashion show then when they are on the runway.  The contrast is fun to see. I should have taken a picture of all the girls in their pajamas-with-heels outfits rehearsing, but I only took pics of my own models, who tend to show up in clothes.

3) This pic was snapped early in the morning and the glamour of the evening clearly hasn’t settled into the scene yet.  Port-a-potties.  Yep.

The glamour of the runway show kicks in later in the day. Trust me.

 

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mid-rainbow model march

I love this shot of my models doing a final model march on the runway at Omaha Fashion Week.  g thompson higgins gallery captured them in a mid-rainbow arc so you can see the end of the rainbow entering and the beginning of the rainbow exiting the runway.  Such a great image.

mid-rainbow model march

 

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Behind-the-scenes: Wolfgang Kaufman sugar.skin.circus shoot

My sugar.skin.circus collection just begs to be part of themed photoshoots.  A really great photographer named  Wolfgang Kaufman was coming through town and wanted to do a photoshoot while he was here in the Omaha area.  The creative director for this shoot, Cherisse McCoy, contacted me to see if I was interested (yes, duh) and for details about my latest collection.  When I described my sugar.skin.circus line, she got really excited to create a very dramatically themed photoshoot, including a custom built set, props, and she even brought in a fire performer and aerial artist.  If anyone knows how much I LOOOOOOVE circus themed stuff, you’d know how much I was nerding out at this point.

Watching all my models get styled at the salon was really exciting.  I let my makeup artist, Amy Burns, go to town.  She painted on mustaches, sprayed on some lacework, airbrushed stylized pink cheeks, and applied glitter lashes.  She’s great at taking an idea and bumping it up about 16 extra levels of awesome.

Makeup Artist: Amy Burns
Model: Makayla Torrez

Makeup Artist: Amy Burns
Model: Makayla Torrez

Makeup Artist: Amy Burns
Model: Nicole Keimig

Once all my models were styled, I finally got a chance to see all the props that were made for this shoot.  It was like a circus dream come true. It took all of my concentration to keep from running and playing with EVERYTHING.

Custom made set and props.

SECRET: The “strongest man in the world” barbell is actually made of balloons.  I was tricked every stinkin’ time I saw anyone pick it up.  I am always worried about overworking my models, so I kept telling them that they could set it down between shots to rest their muscles.   Balloons.  They are a clever illusion, especially for a gullible kid like me.

Model requirements: good-looking, hard-working, easy to get along with, and oh yeah……you must be able to lift one ton without breaking a sweat.

Wolfgang Kaufman was great to work with.  He was so committed to getting the best possible shot:  he climbed on ladders, crawled around on the floor, hopped up on all the different furniture, then hopped down, then did it all again.  Wolfgang is awesome.

Model: Aaron Steward
Photographer at work: Wolfgang Kaufman
(See what I mean about how convincing the balloons are?!?)

Model: Nicole Keimig
Photographer at work: Wolfgang Kaufman

This photoshoot was a dream come true.  Cherisse McCoy, the creative director, imagined a fantastic circus world for my collection to play in for the day.

Hair/makeup: Sirens at the Loft

Creative director: Cherrise McCoy

Wolfgang Kaufman: http://www.wolfman-photo.com/

sugar.skin.circus collection available in my store: http://www.audiohelkuik.etsy.com

 

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Choosing Faces

Decision-making is not my strongest skill.  Quick decision-making is DEFINITELY not my strongest skill.  Sometimes my partner picks restaurants for us to dine at based on how short the menu is.  Short menu equals less time waiting for me to decide.  And those ice cream shops with a bazillion flavors? So yummy!  But choosing a flavor takes me forrrrrrr   — evvvv —  vvveerrrrrr.

So, when I say I’m in the midst of choosing a model line-up for my fashion week runway show in August, you should know it is a grueling task for me.  My show is four months away, but I’ve been thinking about it for weeks already.  This decision (like all decisions) will take alot of effort to make.   Even though I’m pretty swamped with costume work right now and could really use all my time on stitching and sketching, I spent an evening at a model call last week.   I invested my precious time in hopes that I would see a face or two that could someday become a face for my brand.   And, you model hopefuls out there will be pleased to hear that I did, in fact, find a few models at the audition that I think would be great!

Clipboards keep me focused. Crazy carpet does not.

I only get to show twelve looks in my fashion week runway show, so the role of each of the twelve models that I choose is super important.  Each face will be given a lot of exposure.  They represent my brand that night, of course, but much longer than that.  The photos and video from that night will represent my clothing for pretty much forever.  Thinking about this makes the decision really tough for me.

Often, I have to balance the loyalty I have with models that I’ve worked with before with the specific needs of my current collection.  I have a core group of local models that I love to work with, but sometimes I am going for a very specific look.  I’m already picky with who is on my model list as far as personality/vibe/look goes, and on top of that I have to make sure my models are up to the standards of the fashion week producers.  I’ll be trying to balancing all these things: loyalty, look, runway standards.   Know that I am agonizing my way through this decision, and we’ll see what I come up with for August.

Two local models that I love to work with: Imagine Uhlenbrock and Nick Watson. They are waiting, waiting, waiting in line to audition.

But, anyone who auditions once and then turns around and immediately auditions again with their “drag queen walk” is a winner to me.

Nick Watson being too fabulous and fast for my slow camera skilllllls at the model call.

 

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Be a great model….be my model….

I am not a model scout.  I do not coach models.  I am not an agent.

And, I have never modeled. (Except for that time when I had to stand in for one of my own models during a dress rehearsal/run-through while she was vomiting in the bathroom. Due to illness, not lifestyle. There was zero people in the audience, but that sure didn’t stop my stagefright.)

Anyways, Omaha Fashion Week is hosting its final model call for their August 2012 runway shows: http://www.facebook.com/events/215024305266182/ Whenever Omaha Fashion Week has model auditions, I get bombarded with messages and emails from hopeful potential models.  Mostly they want to know how to get chosen. OFW has some helpful tips here: http://omahafashionweek.com/2012/02/ofw-model-call-2012/  Since I work with models on a regular basis, I’ve dealt with the good, the bad, and the super-beautiful-but-ugly-on-the-inside.

But what do I look for?  I really look for four basic things:  Responsibility.  Confidence.  Distinction.  Fun.

(Notice how my criteria has NOTHING to do with size, experience, age, or even gender.  Reeeeeeally not that picky about those things.*)

*Although, I am hoping to cast alot of male/masculine models for Omaha Fashion Week 2012.

1) Responsibility: I don’t care how good-looking you are, how well you move on the runway, how perfect your hair does that flippy thing that I want to be part of my styling for the show, if you are not going to show up then I don’t want to bother casting you.  When I cast a model, I’m trusting that they are prepared to be at the model meetings, rehearsals, the long salon hours, the and backstage waiting marathon.  There’s at least 12 hours of waiting for maaaaaayyybe a minute and a half on the runway, tops. It’s boring, but it’s part of the gig. So, SHOW UP.  And email me back. It’s simple.  Paid or unpaid, it’s a commitment.  You’ve been chosen over hundreds of other people to represent my brand.  And let me tell ya, my brand SHOWS UP.

(Okay, sometimes real life things actually come up and you have to back out……I get that.  Look at me being reasonable.)

Omaha Fashion Week 2011 runthrough

2) Confidence:  Can you handle the fact that your role is to be judged by a gazillion people at once while you are alone on the runway?  No?  Then get out of the kitchen.  I look for people who have loads of confidence.  Sometimes I dress people WAY over-the-top for the runway and I need models who can handle THAT MUCH LOOK.  Some models wear the outfit, and some outfits wear the model–and it’s all because of their level of confidence.

Model: Dawaune Hayes
Photography: C. Phelps Photography
Makeup: Amy Burns from Sirens at the Loft

3) Distinction: This is the most vague and indescribable quality I look for.  When I go to model calls, I see hundreds of pretty faces walking down the same runway.  Just walking.  Pretty face…..walking….done.  Pretty face…..walking….done.  Over and over.  You have to have some sort of distinction to get noticed..  There must be something to set you apart.  When people say “Some models just have it.”  It’s that elusive THING that sets them apart that is hard to describe and probably frustrating to develop.

I often choose models with prior stage experience.  Sometimes they are musicians, sometimes they are dancers, sometimes they are actors.  The “stage presence mentality” is what makes my models stand out.  Also, theater background or the past experience of creating a stage persona is helpful because I like to describe the vibe of my collection to my models before each show.  This helps me to give them direction about how they should carry themselves, or what they should be thinking, or what sort of attitude they should exude.  It’s more of a character synopsis for a theatrical performance than your standard runway modeling instructions: walk, pose, don’t fall.  Sure, they look like they are runway models, but they have an extra layer of subtle theatricality infused into their runway presence.  This ability is the particular distinction that I look for.

I also like someone with a distinct look.  Some designers cast models that all look the same.  They might hope to cast an army of pale-skinned, brunettes that are a size 0-2 and are 5’10”.  They are all about consistency.  As you can see from my run-through photo, I don’t do this. Tall, short, dark, light, thick, thin…..whatevs.  You just gotta look good.  And you most likely have something very unique about your look.  I’m a sucker for interesting bone structures.  And androgyny.

Model: Dawaune Hayes
Photography: Dillon Gitano
Makeup: Amy Burns from Sirens at the Loft

4) Fun:  Why would I want to work with un-fun people?  If I’m going to spend 12 hour days with a group of people, I want to combine a bunch of mega-awesome personalities into an epic team of FUN.

Model: Dawaune Hayes
Photography: Dillon Gitano
Makeup: Amy Burns from Sirens at the Loft

Other last minute tips gleaned from Audio’s real-life experiences for your runway audition:

-Dress simply.  This isn’t a runway show.  If I remember your outfit and not you, you’ve done something wrong.  “Remember that girl with that weird hat?”   Fail.   “Remember that guy that wore the aviators on the runway?”  Double fail.  I don’t care how fashionable you are, do NOT let your outfit overpower your audition.

-Don’t wink at me (or the judges) as you pose on the runway.  It will not get you brownie points.  It will not schmooze me into casting you.  In fact, I have NOT casted excellent models for just this.  It’s unprofessional.

-Don’t jump and squeal with your audition buddies when you step off the runway. Nailing your audition walk is awesome.  Managing not to fall is also awesome.  Ruining all your professional model cred with a girly jump/squeal session?  Not so awesome.

-Have a decent online portfolio.  You don’t necessarily have to hire someone to take a thousand photos and create a website…..but, c’mon….give me something!  Just put a few decent quality pictures up, even if they are just in a separate folder on your facebook.  Face shots and full body shots are helpful.  If I can go home and be reminded of your great look when I facebook stalk you (and I probably will….who doesn’t?), it will be in your favor.  I’m a visual person, so I’d be way more likely to choose you.

Best of luck to all you model-hopefuls!

 
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Posted by on 04.24.12 in Fashion Industry

 

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Backstage at Omaha Fashion Week spring 2012

Omaha Fashion Week spring 2012 just happened.  It was awesome.  I’ve been busy doing some costuming projects, so I opted not to show a collection at this fashion week.  However, I have a lot of backstage experience and I happened to have the week free, so I volunteered to work backstage all week.

Omaha Fashion Magazine spring 2012 edition

Backstage there’s a constant buzz of models continually of getting dressed, styled, touched up, and accessorized. It’s just hours and hours of this each night.

Backstage, I saw some really fantastic hair and makeup.  I loved watching Kirby Nostradamus Keomysay’s avant garde hair pieces on Donna Faye Couture’s models.  I love when things are over-the-top.  He’s famous for his crazy hairpieces that he created to win Hair Battle Spectacular on the Oxygen Channel.  For Omaha Fashion Week, he put one of the Donna Faye models in a wig/hairpiece/headpiece/whatever that was probably taller than me.  Granted, I’m tiny elf-sized…..but that’s still alot of hair!  It was funny to watch them try to quickly dismantle it afterwards to relieve the neckpain.  After the giant, heavy hair was off her head, the stylists gave her a long scalp massage while she sat in her undies trying to recuperate a bit.  This model is a champ.

Model: Makayla Torrez
Hair: Kirby Nostradamus Keomysay

One of the special guests that Omaha Fashion Week hosted was Jerell Scott.  He’s a designer from L.A. that has been on Project Runway and Project Runway Allstars.  I’ll admit it, I don’t watch the show, so I didn’t have a chance to be starstruck by his celebrity presence.  But, I did enjoy meeting him and chatting.  Cool guy.  He’s self-taught and his attitude about making things happen by going out there and MAKING things happen was good. He doesn’t sit around and wish.  He does stuff.  That’s cool.

Jerell Scott talks to Omaha designers.

After he talked to the group I chatted with Jerell a bit about the menswear market.  He gave me some ideas about where I could find some receptive markets.  He was super easy to talk to.

Audio Helkuik and Jerell Scott

There were so many great things at OFW Spring 2012, and that’s not even taking all the great collections into account. I got to see Princess Lasertron’s final clothing collection up close.  Leah Casper had a crazy cool black-on–black line with hoop skirts and bloomers and lace.  Nuevintage Apparel had suh-weet runway show on Saturday.  I loved Loved LOVED christianMICHEAL’s menswear collection.  So much happened in just a few days.  So much exhaustion.  So much enthusiasm.   Have I mentioned that I love Omaha?

Red carpet shot after working backstage at Omaha Fashion Week spring 2012.

 

 

I mentioned some designers and stylists.  Go look at their schtuff:

Kirby Nostradamus Keomysay: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kirby-Keomysay-aka-Nostradamus-Fan-Page/216691305044316

Jerell Scott: http://www.jerell-scott.com

Princess Lasertron: http://www.princesslasertron.com

Leah Casper: http://www.facebook.com/leah.casper

Nuevintage: http://nuevintage.com/

christianMICHEAL menswear: http://www.christianmicheal.com

 

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