November 09, 2015
Charmed by the Runway: An Ugly Duckling Story

First introduced to fashion shows as a business journalist, she was soon charmed by the glamour of the catwalk, despite happily continues to be a "plain Jane".

by Detski
Lifestyle // Health and Beauty
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I dress like a plain Jane and rarely wear make up. Even when I go to the office I only wear face powder and lipstick to comply with the minimum requirement for my workplace. But I have a thing for the fashion show.
It started few years back, when I was still a journalist. I got invited to cover the Jakarta Fashion Week (JFW), although I was working for a foreign newswires and my coverage was company business and economic. I thought it would be interesting to do a feature on the fashion industry. So with the blessings of my bureau chief, I registered to the event as I planned to do a piece on Indonesian young designers.  
I had seen fashion shows at the mall before. The T-shaped runway stood 50-70 cm above its spectator with high-beamed lightings, and models catwalked like they’re the most beautiful goddesses. I'm no big fan of Fashion TV, but I expected something like Victoria’s Secret annual show with their lingerie-clad angels. I expected the same with the fashion tents of JFW, but, boy, was I wrong.
The fashion tent looks way simpler than I thought. T-shaped, yes, but it's only 3-5 cm higher from the floor. The runway was made of glossy white boards, which might help with the reflection of the models who were walking on it. The seating was divided into four to five sections on each side of the runway, with four-tiered high black, cushioned wood benches. The lightings were not as blinding as I had thought.
However, the runway was treated like a sacred place. It was covered at all time with a plastic cover, to prevent being stepped over by the audiences before and after show. After the audience were seated and right before the show began, they uncovered the runway in a ritual sequence and covered it again as soon as the show ended. After each use it was cleaned to prevent slips or incidents during the show.
At first I didn't know what to expect from covering the JFW, except to learn about a few Indonesian designers who were supposedly hip and upcoming. I didn't really know what made a dress good or bad, boring or breakthrough. But I found a few designers whose dresses I like. 
Ardistia NY and Kleting had a nice, simple and clean cutting style. If I had the money and a lean figure, I would get the glamorous party dresses from Barli and Albert Yanuar. And Tex Saverio's designs were very sexy and provocative costumes – a feast for the eyes, though they might easily weigh 10-15 kg.
And the models, who definitely won't eat nasi goreng kambing for supper, looked so lean and tall. Not everyone had a pretty face as the ones on TV, but the way they strutted on the catwalk wearing the designer dresses seemed so effortless (deceptively, I’m sure). I was especially charmed by Dominique and Karenina, whom I saw in a couple of shows and who seemed to really own the dresses.
After I shifted job last year and can no longer get a press pass for JFW, I still frequent the shows, thanks to invitations from some friends. This is my third year going to the annual event, but every time I come to a show, I still get a little high.
 



A plain Jane me never purposely dress up for a fashion show, however.  Compared to the socialites or fashionistas who are all prepped and dolled up to attend the show, I feel like an ugly duckling. I'm the one who usually plays it safe and wears either black or office attire. I'm amazed how they can pull off wearing something edgy or unique, if not expensive, to come to these shows. 
I guess at the end of the day, I'm always going to be the girl who is charmed by the glamorous runway, but happy enough to enjoy it from afar.
 
Detski is a mid-30 single female, who has a committed relationship with 8-hours/day sleep. She is aspired to be Charlotte, rather than Carrie, of SATC.