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Human Hangers (06/12/21)

The Center for Global Art is not only known for its stunning and unique galleries filled with art from emerging global talent, but also for its musical venues, concerts, and fashion extravaganzas. If someone is up-and-coming in any medium of the creative world, and presenting something new, the Center is the place to present and be seen.

One of the most sought after venues is the outdoor amphitheater. Accommodating 5,000, it was modeled after the Roman Colosseum, and designed to accommodate nearly any form of entertainment, with special technical features that draw in artists and creatives from around the world.

Located at one end of the Center, it is built up from the rooftop garden that extends the length of the Center. Rising like a giant rock protrusion, the seating forms a three-quarter circle around the edges all facing into a large circular stage, and proscenium that can vertically raise and lower from floor level depending on the production needs.

Because the weather where the Center is located is always moderate, outdoor fashion shows, especially for designers ‘summer lines’ are a frequent occurrence.

For this year’s season, four of the world’s most prominent fashion houses chose the Center and its amphitheater as their venue to unveil their new summer fashion lines for the following year, with four shows staggered over a two-day period. An additional unique and technically challenging ‘collaborative’ show was scheduled for the last day, highlighting the best from all four fashion houses, combined into one specially designed show.

It would be a battle of the best summer fashions. Tickets for all five shows were sold out months in advance, and arrangements had started immediately to begin the detailed process of presenting such an enormous collection of fashion royalty.

Several weeks after the Center had booked and confirmed the events and completed all the necessary contracts and legalities, we began work on the implementation of the technical aspects, which would stretch the abilities of our event team to the max.

During that period, I also received a couple of emails from several of my friends, who had been chosen to be some of the ‘human hangers’ for the clothing being shown. I have never used ‘human hangers’ as derogatory, more a humorous term of endearment for the models that were used to show a designer's clothes at their best.

Over the years I have acquired a long list of these ‘beautiful people’ in my life and have become close friends with many of them. I was more than elated that a half-dozen or more that I knew personally and considered friends would be part of this fashion particular extravaganza.

And as I was thinking about this group, I thought, “yep, these would be some of the people I would choose for a summer fashion show!” Human hangers or not, God consistently creates some extremely beautiful creatures!

Now, don’t get me wrong, the human species in general can be ‘beautiful,’ taking into consideration personalities, humor, and general treatment and respect for others. Models can sometimes be, well, challenging. But when you mix a person with a great personality, a caring attitude, a stunning body, and overall good looks - the complete package becomes even more impressive.

Those were my friends—not only aesthetically pleasing, but more important, just great people!

Through my friends I’d found out that they were being paid for both a full day’s rehearsal, and for the full two days of shows. Many times, a model is paid relatively little, but gains exposure to some of the best fashion designers, and photo and video coverage, and usually ends up with what they wear - beautiful clothes—but not necessarily much in the way of money for paying the bills. A show can simply be a great means of advertising and exposure for the model, in the hopes of acquiring ever more lucrative events and shoots.

For this show, they were getting all of that, plus being well-paid. And considering we had 5 shows, sold-out, and an audience of 25,000, this would be some serious ‘exposure’ for a summer fashion line—pardon the pun.

After much anticipation, and weeks of technical challenges all worked out, and tested, the day of the first show arrived. With a full house, all I could do was have faith that my technical team had everything taken care of as needed.

I was reminded by my team that the first four shows were relatively simple, as far as technical needs. The models would parade in and around the circular stage—pretty straight forward.

It was the fifth show that would stretch the limits of my team’s technical skills and of the imagination, and would stretch the abilities of the models, to say the least. A very select group had been selected for the fifth show, three of which I knew personally.

Our team had done their jobs perfectly, with the first four shows going off without a hitch—sound, lighting, and talent all performing flawlessly. The attendees were happy, and so were the owners, and creative directors, of all the fashion houses represented.

Now we had to pull off the ‘special’ combined last show. It was slated for late in the afternoon, so the sun would be out but not in the faces of either the attendees nor the models. Serious attention had been made to ensure this detail was timed exactly.

I arrived early, and was happy to see one of the custom details that had been incorporated in all five of the shows. The amphitheater seating was concrete, and was not the most comfortable place to sit for an hour of entertainment. Depending on the venue, removable seating was put into place.

But for these shows, that removable seating was not used, and in its place, the designers of each fashion line had created custom-made seat cushions that echoed their new fashion lines. They were a sight to behold-colors, patterns and textures covering the bland tones of the concrete structure.

These cushions were special perks for the attendees. Each attendee got to take home their custom seat cushion, all of which were made of fabric unique to the fashion house. They were a collectors item in themselves.

It was quite entertaining watching the attendees come into the arena, find their seat location, and sit on the concrete while clutching their designer seat cushion. There were replacements available for ones damaged or lost, though we didn’t advertise that fact.

As we would find out after these events, there was a market for those designer seat cushions. Who would have known?

The guests for the final show had finally filled the arena, taken their seats, and the anticipation for this final show was evident, especially after the social media coverage the first four shows had been intense. They would be in for an additional shocking surprise.

As the music began, the head designers for the show were introduced, each giving a few words about themselves and their designs. As they left the stage, the music crescendoed, and the circular stage in the middle of the amphitheater began to spin open.

It was designed like a rotating oculus, and as each piece rotated towards its open position, the sparkling blue water of the vast circular pool began to shimmer in the afternoon sunlight. As each circular section of stage opened for its section and slid under the neighboring section, a fountain of water would jump into action, sending further ripples through the surface of the water, and sending reflections of the sun beaming on the water dancing around the arena.

With all the sections finally spun open and pulled under the seating, the circular pool sat empty for a few moments, allowing the audience a chance to move further to the edge of their seats in anticipation of what was to come.

The first model began to appear. Still underwater and walking up a large staircase constructed completely below the water, each model would finally emerge and break through the surface of the water walking up and out of the pool and onto the remaining circular ramp that encircled the entire circumference of the pool.

The audience gasped as one after another the models magically emerged from underwater to show off their designer's chosen apparel.

I recognized two of my friends as they made their way up the stairs and began to materialize above the surface of the water. As they both continued uninterrupted up the stairs, their heads and torsos slowly appearing, both of these stunning young ladies spun their long hair around in unison, and slapped it against their backs like a whip. They were both wearing brilliant gold and black complimentary two-piece swimsuits and definitely drew the attention of all in attendance.

Shortly after, another friend I recognized strutted up the stairs, and as he surfaced out of the water in a stunning pair of gold and black swim trunks, he stopped for just a second on the top of the stairs and shook himself off like a wet dog. The crowd went wild as he continued his way around the stage with his beaming smile and radiant personality almost overtaking his stunning physique—and a nice pair of shorts.

Model after model emerged from under the water with their own interpretation of the act, while showing off their designer swimwear, and continuing their journey around the outside of the circular stage.

As the final model completed the cycle, the crowd was on its feet in applause, and the models began the journey back into the depths of the pool. Two by two, side by side, they walked from the circular stage turning onto the stairs, and effortlessly walking down into the pool until they disappeared under the waves into the bottom of the stairs.

The audience crooned their necks in an attempt to see where they were all going and how we had managed to pull off such a challenging feat. As the applause continued, the final models disappeared into the pool leaving nothing but gleaming water and dancing fountains.

Moments later, from an entrance under the seating on the circular ramp, all the models came running out and jumping into the pool—pool party gone wild. It was a fitting end for such a magnificent show.

To this day I am still not sure how some of the swimsuits ‘stayed’ in place on the models during their water walk, but they did.

I talked to several of my friends after the show and their complete excitement was evident—they all agreed it was the best ‘runway’ they had ever done. And it had been flawlessly executed.

From a particular angle, once the fountains had been turned off, you could see the underwater room they emerged from and submerged back into. It had been built in a similar manner as a caisson was built for underwater construction.

Also in the bottom of the pool were support team members in scuba gear to assist if there was an issue, each of them sporting wetsuits that were the same color as the tile at the bottom of the pool, almost completely masking them from view.

In addition, the purpose of the dancing fountains was to create surface tension and distort the view down into the water, hiding not only the ‘changing’ room, but the support team, and the models.

After I had said hello to models I knew, thanked other models I didn’t know, schmoozed with both designers and influencers in the audience, I went back down to the staging area below the pool and arena to thank my staff. They beamed with excitement that they have pulled off such a show.

By that time, one of the videographers from the show had come down to the staging area and was showing the team the raw, unedited video of the show. They were astonished how beautiful the entire show had been, and knew the videos and photo converge would soon go viral on social media.

One of our technical team laughed at the end of the video exclaiming “So, what do we do next?” Knowing our technical team, what came next would be even more stunning than what we had just experienced. It always did.


#hangers #models #fashion #pool #Colosseum