At the Beauty and Bras Fashion Show
It was a grey Friday evening. I had just finished work at 6PM and I was exhausted. I hit the buzzer and my partner let me up.
“What’s for dinner, baby? Chicken Schnitty sandwiches?”
“Umm hmm.” I nodded in reply as I kicked off my tan kitten heels and headed toward the computer.
I had one and a half hours to cook, have a shower, figure out what to wear, do my makeup and be out the door. Yes, I was dead, but for fashion I push myself.
So I got to work and was out the door on time, selecting a black balloon sleeve shimmer top, my favourite black Bardot ruched shorts, cosmetic tights from Wolford, my vintage beige round toe heels and a red coral necklace my Opa gave to my mother, which I subsequently “borrowed” for my collection to wear.
As I walked down Granville which was flooded with Friday evening hob-nobbers doing the usual scene, I pulled out the Google map I’d printed uncertain whether I’m going in the right direction.
Then surprise, surprise there it was the Caprice Night Club highlighted by the giant, velvet blue neon sign dully throbbing like the Coco Cabana coolly promising a suave experience.
I crossed and looked about for Mark the photographer. He’s about 50 paces behind me. We hug and head straight toward the security guards. There’s four of them all looking stern and manly while two cheerful festively plump ladies sit inside the tiny box office holding stamps in their hands, the low watt light framing the pair in a living picture of womanly warmth. They’re delighted to meet me and brand my right hand as Mark gets patted down and his backpack checked.
I open my Mary Poppins-esk handbag and security confiscates my water bottle, a situation which I felt okay about until I hit the gym the following day.
We headed inside to see Shea’s designs which were both on display and for sale then we were asked by two sales models if we wanted raffle tickets.
The runway was set in the middle of the dance floor coming from the stairs as the violet and magenta spotlights roamed over the spectators lining the edges afraid to get any closer than company permitted.
I sat on a bar stool directly in front of the catwalk and noted the brassy jazz beats, the two storey layout and the golden light boxes of the mezzanine booths behind me.
The crowd was eclectic with a variety of ladies and gents ranging in all sizes, shapes, demographics and ages. Some were here to support and some to drool but all were in good spirits and the atmosphere was communal.
A whiff of marijuana smoke curled through the air when a petite girl wearing a Shelley’s Angel’s ribbed tank approached me and inquired about my notepad and Mark’s camera.
“Hi, I’m Laurie, the event manager” she said. She asked who we were and explained that Shea O’Connor “usually does a Valentine’s Day show every year, but due to the Olympics we had to reschedule [but] it was a great opportunity to work with Shelley.”
Laurie then excused herself after Mark asked about the lighting and ran off to try to organize a shoot with the models, Shea and Shelley after the show. The lights flicked on, the music changed and the show began...
In total there were seven models, all of a natural female physique strutting their stuff to the likes of Beyonce’s “Naughty Girl,” Chris Isaak’s “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing” and a number of saucy, sexy tracks.
There was no stopping the imagination in the designs either. Anything sexy went with tail feathers, garters, stockings, nipple stickers, tassels, g-bangers, crop-tops, panties, briefs and lots of pretty, frilly lace and ribbons in a rainbow of bright colours. If the colour was whimsical, empowering and reminiscent of 1940s cabaret it was in.
The crowd clapped and cheered as the girls basked in their freedom to just be themselves, confident of their femininity and proud of their bodies. With tattoos and drawings of flowers up their backs and down their legs adding an Angelina Jolie danger mix to the classic curls and bobs, bright red lipstick and false lashes.
Full of life, animated and happy the models made me feel better about being a woman – I was almost tempted to jump up and run around in my undies with them. It was true beauty.
Then as the show ended and the raffle tickets drawn Mark and I made our way toward the stairs to find all the models had already changed and left.
I did however meet Janessa Shae O'Hearn and asked her why she participated, to discover she suffers from eating disorders and a low self-esteem, something I never would have guessed given her performance on the runway.
“I made it my New Year's resolution to love myself, and so when this came up I went for it” she said. A woman with great curves and décolletage, long honey brown curls and a happy disposition I chatted with her and passed her a business card.
Then as the exhaustion began to rise and the yawning became a little more prominent, I grabbed my overcoat and headed out with Mark.
Beauties and Bras was not only a fashion show it was an event of the human spirit. Thanks again to Mark Ingram for his great shots and thanks to both the girls and Shelley and Shae Couturiere Lingerie for the confidence boosting show and darling but daring designs (I'll definitely be getting some for singing into my hairbrush while playing Lily Allen tracks).
Shea Couturiere Lingerie can be bought by placing an order here.