RAFW 2011-12: Before the show with our favourite Aussie model Rachel Rutt

Rachel Rutt backstage at RSFF

picture via The Sartorialist

We all know about the glamour and the glitz that goes on at a fashion show, but what about before the show? We speak to various industry experts about what it takes to do their job in the lead up to Rosemount Australian Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011-12.

Fashion Week isn’t always glamorous, especially if you’re a model. You’re basically there to be manipulated into whatever dream or creature the designers have envisanged and you dash from show to show just to have your hair scraped from your head and feet squeezed into shoes that may or may not be fit for walking. So we had to ask one of our favourite models, Rachel Rutt, what her Rosemount Australian Fashion Week (RAFW will be like.

Being a part of RAFW as a model

Models, as far as I understand, are very much in between. We receive the limelight; given the opportunity to showcase. We enter the scene often in the very last stages of its fine tuning. The concepts, which may have been months or longer in the making are projected onto our faces and our bodies. A model frequently morphs to fulfil the requirement of each role respectively.

It is a task which, for myself, at least, took a while to become accustomed to. Sure, there are many forms of employment eagerly, or perhaps begrudgingly, undertaken by people from all walks of life. It would seem the stereotypical illusion of a model’s life is waking and making a smooth transition straight to runway, and may appeal to most as a simply glamourous and effortless job. I won’t deny, there are a variety of perks, but naturally, with any joy there is consequence.

The world of Model Castings

Of course, it is not difficult to remember which foot to put before the next. The actual process of a casting is very simple for a model. You walk in, and you walk out.

Obviously, the rest is determined by a variety of other factors, but it is not worth discussing these since every casting director seems to have their own method, and to try and comprehend them en masse would be unnecessary.

The part I tend to spend the most time thinking about is exactly how to get to and from each location. Most models will rely on public transportation to get them from A to B, and, those of you who are familiar with Sydney’s brilliant public transport system will understand exactly what I mean when I say, there is thus plenty of walking involved.

Do you increase your fitness regime before RAFW?

Models’ fitness regimes are often inquired after, and I can happily say, we get a great deal of exercise on the job. I applaud those girls and women (and boys and men too) who are so inclined and driven to dedicate time to fitness regimes, when already there is so much physical strain. If I weren’t so lazy, I’d take it up myself, and perhaps it’s just me, but after a day full of castings and/or fittings all I can hope for is a warm meal and bed time.

Currently I am one day into shows, and my physical and mental faculties are beginning to wane.

Inside the world of fittings for RAFW designers

Fittings, too, though wonderful in the sense that we begin to actually see the incarnation of the eventual product, are tiring. A rookie model will soon discover that the majority of talent actually necessary relies on a great amount of patience. We wait, we wait, and we wait. Sometimes for hours, behind queues of both peers and friends, to be fit for one or two garments. I sometimes forget to appreciate the beauty behind the creation, being constantly surrounded by the efforts of other people’s ingenuity. I can easily become jaded to the aesthetics of our industry, but I suppose this is not uncommon. In this environment, in order to maintain focus, I believe one has to prioritize one’s thoughts. Models embody these aesthetics, but we cannot necessarily make them our own. We do for a short period of time, then it is over, and we move on to the next show. In a sense we are the packaged product; the spectacle, but we have only been involved in the final hours of the factory labour. I find it is important to remember this, and to appreciate exactly how many of our colleagues’ labours we have now the pleasure to present.

Rachel Rutt backstage at RSFF

RAFW Highlights

I suppose RAFW has its highlights… though for most of the teams involved, it is generally strenuous and exhausting. Perhaps I am only saying this because I have been awake since 5.30 a.m to work with some of those designers who choose to avoid the intense pace of the official “fashion week” and instead opt to show beforehand at a slightly more relaxed pace.

Maybe it’s just because it really IS strenuous and exhausting. Of course, the finished product is a delightful construction, beautifully proportioned to exhibit a sleek and modified version of the original prototype. The long hours spent by designers, stylists, hair and make up directors, and all the rest who perform so well the jobs which often pass unnoticed, eventually combine to present their explosion. That flash of excellence, like the tip of an iceburg, has so very much that could not exist without the scaffolding, so consistently underestimated.

Rachel Rutt’s all-natural beauty regime

As for personal beauty and hygiene, I almost always find this an absurd question. To me, everybody has their own niche methods and mysterious ways, and I say, to each their own. But one thing I do know, is that a bit of fresh lemon juice on a cotton pad swiped over a freshly cleaned face, and then washed off, miraculously cleans pores. Brown sugar, also, when mixed with some water into a paste, makes for a fantastic face scrub, which works! I’m generally opposed to most commercial hygiene products, being as, when I read the ingredients, I don’t understand what it is exactly I am exposing myself to. I get enough of that through work, so when I’m home I try and limit my exposure.

Rachel Rutt backstage at RSFFBoth backstage images via TFS

It’s almost show time!

I hope you enjoy fashion week as much as I will–or, hopefully a lot more! I’m happy to say I do love my job. I learn something new every day, yet it doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s a tiring business. Now for some sleep.

Stay tuned to SASSYBELLA.com for all Australian Fashion Week 2011 (RAFW) coverage and starting this week, running through to the close of official festivities on May 6, 2011.

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