How do you go from being just another girl on the metro in the morning to a glamorous model walking down the runway in front of throngs of cheering people in the evening?
Step 1: Choose from one of four themes (City Slicker, Tea Time, Cocktail Time and Night Owl) and submit your application for the World's Largest Fashion Show organized by Galeries Lafayette in Paris.
Step 2: Receive an email from Galeries Lafayette for a casting call in front of a panel of experts, including the casting director, the Deputy Chief Editor of Glamour Magazine, a make-up stylist, a hair stylist, Galeries Lafayette's fashion experts and two fashion bloggers.
Step 3: Bedazzle the panel and join 400 other people at the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild on September 18, 2012 for one of the most thrilling days of your life.
9:00 am: The arrival of the lucky participants is staggered according to their chosen look. The City Slickers are the first on the scene in over-sized jackets, flat caps and trench coats followed by Tea Time models in prints with a touch of fur or embroidery to create a fusion of luxury and pop art. As all of the models are wearing their own clothes, it's fascinating to see the outfits that they've selected for the big day. Those who are in the Cocktail Time category shimmer in silks and satins, while the Night Owls in leather and lace are all about drama and mystery.
Makeup: 50 professional makeup artists from Guerlain and StudioMakeUp are on hand to work their magic on the participants. A bit of blush, a dab of lipstick and lots of dramatic color above her eyebrows completely transformed this young woman.
Hair: Eric Bachelet, an Ambassador for L'Oreal Professional and a celebrity hair stylist who travels between Paris and Los Angeles, was one of the 50 talented hairstylists teasing the tresses of the participants. If Eric looks familiar, it's because he also made an appearance in my post about Fashion Night Out in Paris.
Lunchtime: Even models get hungry and need to eat! Lunch was a sandwich, cake and a bottle of water.
Training: If you ever thought that it's easy to be a runway model, think again. Fortunately, the participants were in the competent hands of Ludmila Mikhailova, the owner of Trend and Tendance, who is renowned for coaching successful models. Microphone in hand, she instructed the participants to walk to the rhythm of the music, take large steps and keep their eyes on the horizon rather than the photographers or their friends. But most importantly, Ludmila stressed that each of models were stars even as she encouraged the men to stride not swagger down the runway.
4:00 pm: With only three more hours to go, the 400 participants are assembled and put in the order that they will appear on stage.
5:00 pm: Stomachs churning and feeling slightly nervous, models gather in the lobby of the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild as groups are called to board the buses that will take them to Galeries Lafayette.
Bus ride: The atmosphere is solemn as the participants snap photos of each other with their cell phones and discuss the items in their goodie bags.
6:00 pm: A large crew is hard at work transforming Rue Gluck into a shimmering catwalk.
6:50 pm: Spectators gather in front of Galeries Lafayette to see the third edition of the World's Largest Fashion Show.
Almost 7:00 pm: Stars and fashion industry professionals are in prime positions to admire the models as they strut their stuff.
7:00 pm: Showtime. Congratulations to all of the models. Each and every one of you shone like stars last night!
Many thanks to Galeries Lafayette for allowing me to take behind-the-scenes photos. Your entire team was warm and welcoming.
In tomorrow's post, I'll introduce you to a couple of the models whom I met. In the meantime, I'll upload some more photos in an album on Out and About's facebook page.
All too soon, the magical day was over. It vanished like the hairspray that the stylists spritzed in the air when they made their appearance on stage at the end of the show.