Trashion/Refashion 2011

W00t! That about sums up the Trashion/Refashion 2011 experience. What a fabulous time!

I volunteered to be a model for this fundraiser for the Center for Sustainable Living. It features clothing made from materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Refashion focuses on taking existing clothing and making something new out of it. Refashion tends to be more practical and Trashion is more wild and creative.

Due to my social anxiety and persistent dissociation, I alternately obsessed over the event and put it out of my mind entirely. Reality hit last Sunday, however, when we had our first rehearsal. The dress I was supposed to wear went to someone with a taller torso. The next dress went to someone with a bigger bust (sniffles). I was finally given a white slip of a thing with a few rows of lace tacked around the bottom. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed, especially considering the complexity and creativity of a lot of the other work.

My first and second walks down the runway were pretty lame. Yael Ksander told me to get the “eat shit and die” smirk off my face—is this how I’m viewed by the world?? 🙂 I really wanted someone to coach me as I walked the runway but I was too chicken to ask. It was made all the worse when I saw two or three of the women who looked like they were professional models. Eek!

Thursday was a dress rehearsal and it was then that the white slip was settled on. The designer (Stephanie Matsell?) had dropped it off before I got there and couldn’t be at Saturday’s show, so I never got to meet her. Never had a chance to discuss her vision. So it was up to me, and I was determined to liven it up! It was entirely too virginal for me.

Saturday was dress rehearsal at the convention center, where we got one practice run down the walkway. While waiting (and waiting and waiting) for everyone to get ready, I made a few practice runs myself. I’d decided to try my pointy goth boots, but my Docs were in reserve in case I fell over. Success!

After our part of rehearsal was over, I scooted over to Hair Arts Academy for make-up. The stylist I got said she hated doing make-up, then proceeded to do an outstanding job after I requested a Black Swan eye treatment. We debated lip color, but I was really already set on doing my blue lipstick, bought long ago but still serviceable.

The challenge then became to keep from smudging my make-up and getting my hair under control. The dress is a size 4, and while it mostly fit, I couldn’t get it over my hips. It was hard to get the hip line down past my bust (the one time in my life I actually felt like I had boobs), so I had to do all sorts of contortions to get it on without mussing everything. I should’ve asked for a dresser but was too self-conscious.

The show itself was great. I wasn’t nervous before going on, due to a combination of meds and dissociation. While I had practiced my model walks and poses, I wasn’t really in my body, and I’m sure that came across. (Oh, I forgot to mention, I spent Saturday morning watching the video of the fashion show we did at Nottingham Polytechnic in England back in ’92 to get ideas for walks and poses. The women were so graceful and polished in their movements. The men just schlepped out and stood around looking manly. The women sashayed and actually displayed the clothes to their best advantage.)

Right when I stepped onto the stage, I realized in a flash that an open-mouthed smile would ruin the whole look because my teeth are so ugly, so I was left without a clue as to what to do with my lips. Perhaps I settled for a glower, or worse, a rictus of pain.

I sort of blacked in and out during the runway walk. I do remember the sort of gasp that went up when I first appeared, and the very generous applause as I went through my moves. I couldn’t coordinate my body when I hit stage right, which is where the official photographer was, so I don’t know how that will turn out. Fortunately I ran into Julianna Burrell backstage and she was kind enough to take some shots of me there.

At intermission I’d planned to flee backstage and hide until the Trashion runway show, but it turned out that I could chit-chat with lots of people and I ran into many that I knew. I spent the bulk of the time chatting with Yelena about Paganism, of all things, mostly comparing notes between my practice and what she’s familiar with in her native Belarus. Several people took photos of me with their camera phones.

That was one thing that was weird—I’d expected to have lots of flashes going off during the shows and the sound of apertures whirring shut. But everyone was using their camera phones, so it was pretty quiet on the western front.

I sat next to Dena El Saffar for the Trashion show, and she kindly fed me M&Ms from her kids’ stash. It was such a pleasure to set with her because we got to gasp and applaud and comment together on all the creative stuff coming down the runway. The work was just outstanding.

I’m so proud of Jeanne for pulling all this together. This really is her vision and it’s a beautiful one. I loved all the creativity on display—I was soaking it up like a sponge. It’s like love on display. A pure jolt of energy.

Epilogue: I went to the Irish Lion afterwards for fish & chips and chocolate cake & ice cream and was pleasantly surprised to find that no one made a reaction to my Black Swan look. I was unmolested. It was lovely. I then came home and spent 15 minutes tackling the beast—getting the make-up off. I had to resort to using this plunger to get a contact off my eye—it’s a rubber cup that you stick onto your eyeball and it suctions up the contact (if you’re lucky—sometimes it just hurts your eye). I then got most everything off with a combo of lotion and soap. How I suffer for my art! 😉

I don’t know if I’ll model again next year but this year was certainly a great learning experience. I’m really glad I did it. Thanks and love to Jeanne.

Cairril Adaire Trashion/Refashion 2011

Photo by Julianna Burrell

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