Bronco previews the career of a journalist abroad
THE SANTA CLARA
October 9, 2014
Santa Clara upperclassmen told me to study abroad. They didn’t explain why — they just said I had to. Studying abroad in Paris, the international fashion capital, soon became one of my college goals.
Fast forward to late September, I was in Paris and Fashion Week had started. Editors, bloggers and celebrities had flown in for the events. I didn’t have any invitations or industry connections, but I figured I would try to attend anyway.
On the Tuesday, I arrived early to the Junko Shimada show. Shimada has been in the Parisian fashion scene since the 1960s.
Two men in black suits guarded the door. In French, I asked, “Hello sir, I’m a journalism student from Santa Clara in California. Do you know if there’s any invitations?”
They didn’t understand, but told me to use the other entrance. I walked in, rehearsing the question in my head. Before I could think I heard “Pardon” from two people trying to walk out the door. I moved aside. A photographer instructed me, “Turn right. Yes.”
Then it hit me — I was backstage.
My heart raced as I scanned the small room. Camera lights flashed at models. Behind the makeup artists, tables were stocked with beauty products. On the left side, assistants hung up the designs on a silver rack. People reached behind me for pieces of equipment.
After a couple of minutes, a woman asked me who I was. This was it. I told her I wrote for The Santa Clara in California, and her face lit up. I proceeded to take photos around the set.
Later, we entered the stage. Unlike typical catwalks, the room was dark with no chairs. Designs hung amid a chandelier made of glass sardines. Turquoise lights swirled around on the floor. It felt like I was in a secret cave, not a runway.
People’s chattering mixed with the soundtrack of howling winds and tinkling wind chimes. In an instant, the tower lit up.
The first model appeared in a bright, red skirt with cutout mermaid scales. Her skin glistened under the florescent lights. The people in the room held their breath, frozen in the moment.
One after the other, the models circled the tower like dolls in the Nutcracker ballet. There were shorts, jackets and dresses made of transparent nylon and tiny pearls strategically placed on fishnets.
As the color palette darkened, it was as if the room submerged deeper underwater, until the submarine spectacle sank to the ocean floor. This was “World of Silence,” Junko Shimada’s Spring-Summer 2015 collection. Finally, long silhouettes featuring a red octopus print ended the catwalk.
Shimada, beaming like a bride, came out to a roaring applause. When asked what her inspiration was, she said, “I love the story of ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.’ Everything I imagined in my head — the strange fish scales, the strange creatures— they’re all strange, no?”
The event gave me greater clarity for my career path. I experienced a day in the life of a jouralist. Before that day, I never would’ve thought I’d be reporting on Fashion Week.
Now I understand the advice I was given when I first attended at Santa Clara and it is my duty to tell you: Study abroad. You won’t regret it.
Contact Christina Hoang at email@example.com.
Edit: Christina is a senior, not a junior, as originally published.