Chapter IV: Charlotte Fashion Week - PT II

September 30, 2023: Runway Day  

I’m in the car outside the fabric store as it opens at 10:00 am. Had to have one more pair of pants. Race back to the studio. Cut, pin, sew.  Cut, pin, sew. One more custom OMARI debossed “O”. Check off the piece on the model sheet, and fold gently, into giant rolling bags. 25 complete looks. Don’t forget my outfit. Pack up the sewing kit, leather needles, and spray starch. 86 degrees already as I load up the car. 

3:30 p.m. - Unloading. Dripping with sweat. I should have brought a towel. “Good. You’re the first one here. Grab this spot in the front.” My daughter is coming to help backstage. No air conditioning back here, it will be roasting hot. Tell the models not to wear the jackets until the last possible second. I brought a whole case of water. Heatstroke is no joke… 

4:30 p.m. -  “Hello daddio!” “Beeblie!  How are you, Hannah? Gimme a hug!” “Sorry I’m late, but you knew I would be. How can I help?” I pass her the moodboard from our brand team. “You’re the hair and makeup liaison. Sleek hair and subtle, natural….well you know, the OMARI athletic look.” 

5:00 p.m. -  “Peter, I like that you grabbed your territory, but we have 16 designers. You can’t have three racks…” We’ll make it work with two, Rita. Our model Adaline arrives - we have a small and a medium for her to try on. I hand her the Mau Meow Suit and she squeals with delight. (Nobody says that anymore, but that is the only way to describe what she did.) “You aren’t getting this back. You’ll have to fight me for it. Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me wear this!” “Check out the collar, fox fur.  And the huge hood, also fox trim. It drapes over your shoulders when you put it up.” She almost bounced off the ceiling. “I made you custom fur boots as well”  “OH MY GOD!  I love them!  You’re not getting those back, either…”

5:30 p.m.  - “Attention!  Everybody!  Quiet down! We’re starting Cocktail Hour. You have two hours until lineup for the runway.  It’s hot and crowded back here so make sure you eat and drink something!  And try to keep the noise down; sound travels.” 

6:14 p.m.  “You guys got this?”  I have to get the rib trim on the pants for Dylan.  “First, fix the pants on the stretch suit.”  OK.  Where are my pins?  Right, about half inch on each side at the bottom of the front rise, quarter-inch in the back.  I need my stupid glasses.  Where is my backpack? Why does the light keep going out? “That’s me unplugging it to plug in and iron your pants.” “Ever iron linen with spray starch before?  Well, it’s a great time to learn.  Just go slow and touch them as little as possible.  That’s it! You’re promoted.”  

7:00 p.m.  - “Morgan, you look splendid!  Thanks for wrangling the guys' outfits.  You got your walk down?  Yes, do your turn and swing the coat onto your shoulder as you walk away.  It will be epic!  I zipped out the powder skirt already.  Let’s zip off the hood too.”  The grey camo leather is great with the Natural Waffle Knit Sweater.  The suede stripes pick up all the colors from the print.  I’m wearing those goggles next time we go skiing.  

 7:45 p.m. - “I’m going to change into my suit for the finale.” “Good idea, those outfits for the models doing a quick change are right here.” “The cape is a quick change? Oh boy.” We moved the White Moto and Flared Pants to number 22 so she has time.  And she will wear the white helmet because there’s no way to get all the gel and spray out of her hair from her first look. OK.”

8:35 p.m.  - SOS! “Olivia, no!” One of our models, Olivia, came off the runway from her first walk put on the Linen Suit and then fainted from the heat! They caught her before her head hit the floor. “Get some water! Wet some paper towels! Ice! Get the ice off the floor so nobody slips! Back up, give her some room! Give her some room!” She’s OK.  Her eyes are open. “Get her outside! Call 911!” “She’s OK.  She’s OK.  We’re on next. “Go. Wait. Go. Wait. Adaline, here’s the suit. You are after Sydney.”  She’s not off yet. “Here, Sydney, the Brown Nubuk Shirt jacket and Striped Knit Vest, and the Fuzzy Knit Skirt. You after Victoria – she has the Brown Vest and White Ruffle Skirt. OK now you Adaline. Where’s the model for the Cape?  She’s not going to make it.  Just changing now. Go Adaline!  Here she comes. No! The Mau Meow Suit was supposed to be the finale” It’s fine, she’s fine.   “Look, see, it's great. Hear the crowd? It’s ok. Line up for the final all-walk – Here, take my arm. We’ll go out together.” 

As I walked out on the runway, a billion flashes went off,  I couldn’t see. I didn’t hear the music. I stopped at the mark hanging on to Adaline in the magnificent Mau Meow Suit, and then she was pulling my arm to turn and walk off. I grabbed her hand, raising my arm and hers to the sky.  She jumped for joy. “Take a bow.” I turned and did a deep bow, straightened up, and threw in a mock curtsey just for good measure, enjoying a smattering of chuckles. 

“OK , head out to the red carpet for your interview.”  “Tell us your name and your company!” “Peter Menaker, OMARI leather skiwear.” “How do you feel? “Relieved!” 

10:09 p.m.  -  After party? Not me. I haven’t slept in two weeks. Goodnight, all.

OMARI - Handcrafted Leather for the High Born Spirits