My weekend at Anime Central (ACEN) was even more wonderful than I could have imagined! ♥ It was a really fantastic time, despite crazy things like full hotel evacuations that coincided right with the end of the independent designers’ fashion show. (Yes, that really happened. Yes, it was absurd. Yes, chaos reigned in the streets around the hotel. YES, all frilly folks were accounted for and okay!!!) I was astonishingly lucky to be able to not only take part in the Angelic Pretty fashion show, but also to help out at their booth in the dealer’s hall and attend the formal tea party. It was magical~ ☆
Although the convention itself began on Friday, the fitting and first rehearsal for all volunteer models occurred on Thursday evening, from 4:00pm until 7:30pm. I felt very lucky that I had taken Thursday off of work when originally planning my time off–before I knew anything about the open call for the fashion show. Taking the train to the convention center isn’t difficult, but it can be time consuming. I doubt I would have made it to the fitting on time if I had work that day, unless I had left early. I wasn’t the only one–there were a few girls who couldn’t make the fitting due to their travel arrangements. I did my best to plan for it, however…and wound up getting there an hour early! XD Whoops!
I feel like I should add a disclaimer at some point stating that I am not a model nor have I ever proclaimed to be one. The extent of my “modeling experience” has been helping out friends when they are involved in fashion shows for school-related or independent projects–and even that is something I’ve only done a handful of times. I’ve helped with a few local community-organized lolita fashion show in past years, but most of those occurred when I had first started wearing the style. It’s been quite a while since I was involved in anything like that. Although I’m kinda scrawny and am pretty easy to zip up in a dress and direct to walk across a room, I don’t have the skill (or talent) of a model. (I’m also utterly the wrong height.) I applied to model in the Angelic Pretty fashion show on a whim, just because I love the company so very dearly.
It’s hard for me to find the right way to express how I feel about Angelic Pretty. Many lolita ♥love♥ Angelic Pretty, so it isn’t as though I have some attachment to the company that no one else has. I’m not their most devoted customer or fan. I don’t collect the newest prints or aspire to the styling featured in magazines. I don’t know all of the tidbits of trivia about designers or models. I’ve never visited one of their stores. I simply adore the clothing. Wearing a lolita outfit from Angelic Pretty makes me feel like a truer version of myself–happier and more self-confident. I don’t disdain any of the other brand companies, but I’ve always been more partial to the designs and inclination of Angelic Pretty. Their presence at ACEN was more than I could have ever hoped for. I applied to model because any opportunity to interact with the company sounded amazing to me.
Thankfully, it was amazing. The reality of it out-shined anything I could have dreamed.
Waiting far too early with my luggage at the designated meeting spot, chatting on the phone with my younger brother to pass the time, I spotted Maki, Asuka, and RinRin. That moment sparked recognition that this was real; while I was planning for the trip or reading the email with instructions or traveling toward my destination, there was always a hint of, “Maybe this will be cancelled,” or “What if it doesn’t work out.” I didn’t jump up and chase after them–I continued my phone conversation and started chatting with the other girls as they arrived, but there was so much more excitement! ♥
Watching the designers and model at the fitting and practice increased my admiration for them. They are all very dedicated, professional, and inspirational. All of the models selected from the model call were volunteers, and we were both treated with confidence that we would perform suitably and provided with direction and instruction to compensate for our lack of experience. (I don’t mean to discount any of the other girls’ talents or abilities; I simply feel that it would be unfair to classify any of us as professional models.) The designers treated every detail with seriousness and consideration that demonstrated their adroitness. I really enjoyed witnessing their passion for their work.
At the fitting we tried on the outfits the designers had preliminarily assigned to us and they made comments and minor adjustments styling or accessorizing. Discussions and notes with hair and makeup volunteers followed. (I particularly adored that Maki and Asuka had drawn sketches of the hairstyles they wanted for each model; very simple and very charming!) Models were asked to bring wigs and most of the hair styling was performed on wigs rather than actual hair. I don’t own a wig, and rather than fit a borrowed one on me they decided to pin curly fake hair to my head in two voluminous pigtails. Watching Asuka and Maki try to describe what they wanted to the hair stylists to do with the false hair became utterly adorable when the Japanese explanation was punctuated with “Mickey! MIC-KEY!” and gesturing like the iconic round mouse ears.
While other logistics and arrangements for the fashion show were discussed by those directly involved, the participants practiced with the hand props for their outfits. Every coordination came with props of some kind to accompany and accent the outfit: cupcakes and forks for those wearing Sugary Fairy Cake, lollipops and candy for models wearing Toy Drops, parasols or purses for outfits without a print, and birdcages and flower baskets to coordinate with the newest birdcage series. The layout of the stage involved five different places for each look to stop and pose. Finding five different ways to pose with a give set of props could be pretty difficult! I was definitely not as original as some of the other volunteering models; I probably repeated the same motion quite a few times. ~_~
Every last minute of the scheduled time for the fitting was used. In fact, I believe we ran over our allotted time. There was always some other instruction to add, another notice to announce, more critique to be delivered, and such~ I wasn’t working terribly hard, but I felt exhausted by the time it was over…although my evening wasn’t over yet and the convention had yet to begin!