5:00 pm, I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard passed the Chinese theater and various street performers towards the Roosevelt Hotel, the latest venue for the Wolk Morais fashion show. This would be their sixth collection and my second time having the privilege to see the clothes walk down the runway. After meeting up with Simon in the lobby of the hotel, we took the lift up to the penthouse floor where the fashion show was being held. As soon as the doors opened, the rush of make-up artists, hair stylists, and models preparing for the show confronted us. The smell of hairspray intensified as we came closer to the largest room backstage, which held a plethora of vanities whose mirrors were surrounded by bright bulbs with light that was perfect for selfies. I was surprised to find a friend of mine who had graduated a year before me, rushing up to hug her while attempting not to crush her elaborately cool 80’s style Mohawk. She was one of the models who would walk tonight.
After a bit of what felt like aimless wandering, I met up with some fellow Teen Cancer America ambassadors; Keaton in a beautiful blue blazer and Jairo in a stylish combination of a vest, tie and jean jacket each adorned with their own Wolk Morais/ Teen Cancer America pin. Together, we explored the venue, watching the zebra stripped carpet unroll to become the aisle between the setup chairs. The runway was on the rooftop of the hotel, giving us a fantastic view of the city around us. I looked up and saw the red neon lights glow with the words “the Roosevelt Hotel.” On the other end of the backstage area, we entered a room with a few chairs and Champaign glasses lined up neatly on a table. A treat for those over the age of 21 I guess. Soon enough, guests started trickling in. One of the first was, to my surprise, Heidi Klum. I am a project runway enthusiast (I’ve seen every episode that I have been able to download on iTunes) and stood awestruck and far too embarrassed while Jairo and Keaton, the brave souls, took a picture with her. As we slowly made our way back to the runway, we saw others like Adam Lambert and Elizabeth Henstridge, an actress on the Marvel TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I was, again, a bit too shy to go up and ask for a picture (I left it to my more camera and Instagram savvy counterparts), and sat down in one of the front row seats next to Simon and Geraldine. This is why I’m the one writing about the event, I thought to myself jokingly.
Around 7:00 pm the lights around the walkways dimmed, and bright spotlights flashed onto the center of the balcony. A hush slowly caught on throughout the crowd. The show was about to start. With what I could only describe as futuristic, electronic beat music the first model appeared on cue, walking straight-faced and elegantly down the center of the aisle. She was followed by her peers, all wearing a myriad of brightly colored tailored suits, dresses, and jackets, all of which I wanted to purchase immediately. All the models had bold, dark eye makeup and elaborated updos like my friend, contributing to the overall 80’s references of the collection. I must say, the bright pink power suit that passed me toward the end of the show was my favorite. Before I knew it, all the models came back out in line for their final walk, people clapping and smiling all around. The designers followed shortly after and took their bow, pride visible on their faces.
People rose from their seats, speaking excitedly to one another, and making their way towards where the Champaign and treats were newly laid out in the reception area. I looked around and saw the Teen Cancer America team gathering around Elizabeth Henstridge again. Gathering my courage (and trying desperately to rein in my unabashed passion for Marvel comics and films) I walked over and joined them. She was, of course, incredibly kind, putting all of us on her Instagram story and offering her support to the TCA organization.
After seeing beautiful clothes, being star struck by celebrities, and spreading the word about the TCA cause, it was time to take the lift back down to the lobby. It was a school night after all. I said my goodbyes to some of my favorite people and walked back through the hotel lobby. A successful night all around I would say.
– Mafalda von Alvensleben, TCA survivor