Years ago, when I was working with the Canadian fashion designer, Leo Chevalier, one of Canada’s better known broadcast icons (at the time) showed up at our offices one day. She wanted to know if we’d consider ‘dressing’ her, in exchange for on-air credits. Providing her with a wardrobe, in other words.
I can’t remember exactly what we were talking about — once the business portion of our meeting was over — but I do remember my response: “I cry as easily as I laugh.”
It happened so long ago I’d forgotten all about it. Or so I thought. Guess it was just buried in my sub-conscious; and all it took to bring it back to the surface was a recent WordPress Daily Prompt: “Describe the last time you were moved to tears by something beautiful.”
Actually, I can’t recall a time when something beautiful made me cry.
Not the sight of a dew-moistened rose, at the point in its short life when it’s at its best, and most perfect. Despite knowing it can’t last. Not standing in the Vatican, staring up, with awe and wonder, at the glory of that ceiling. Pinching myself, in disbelief, because I was lucky enough to be there. Not the gloriously vibrant and dramatic sunsets in India, that just simply take your breath away.
On the other hand, I have been known to tear up when listening to certain operas, particularly Madame Butterfly, La Traviata and La Boheme. Hearing that someone I know, and care about, has just had a baby usually results in my eyes filling with tears. And, like so many women, I always cry at weddings.
Why, I don’t know, to be perfectly honest with you. It confounds me a little. It’s not like I’m the greatest proponent of marriage. Not that I don’t believe in love and relationships. I do. I just don’t see the difference a piece of paper makes.
None the less, I cry at weddings. Go figure.
Nothing terribly unusual, right? Lots of people probably react emotionally under similar circumstances. Maybe even you.
There are, however, some bizarre times when I cry.
Producing fashion shows takes an awful lot of work. When you’re sitting in the audience you have no idea, really, how much goes into it, and just how many months of preparation are involved, but it’s a helluva lot. We used to start planning about three or four months ahead. We’d have to check out various venues. Decide on how we’d set up the room. What the runway would look like, and where it would be placed.
We’d have to audition the models. Hire hair and make-up people, photographers and videographers, back-stage ‘dressers’ and ‘pushers’. They’re the folks who help the models change their clothes (in mere seconds) and also control the flow of models on to the runway. We’d have to decide on music and choreography. Then, as the date got closer, decide on which pieces of the collection would be featured. And then start looking for all the accessories. Then came the rehearsals. We’d rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse; and finally, the day before the ‘big event’ we’d have a full-scale dress rehearsal.
Oh, and did I mention all the logistics involved in getting all the clothes, all the accessories, all the models, and everyone else who was involved to the venue? And then all the packing up?
As part of each fashion show we would also produce a press kit. As soon as samples were ready, I’d have all the photos taken. Which also involved hiring models, hair and make-up artists; and choosing the accessories and the photographer. Then I’d write the press releases. Once the ‘shoot’ was over, we’d choose our shots and start assembling the hundreds of kits we sent out each season.
The last thing we’d do is invite the press to the actual show. The manufacturer who produced the Chevalier collections invited the retailers and special guests.
Like I said, no small feat.
Inevitably, on the day, as I stood back stage, listening to the music starting up, waiting for the first model to go out and strut her stuff, my eyes would fill. No heaving, no wracking sobs, but I would get teary. Probably exhaustion. By the time the show was over, though, and Leo would go out to be feted and applauded, the tears would be rolling down my cheeks. And the same thing used to happen every time we shot a fashion video. Which involves even more work.
Does that make me an emotional wreck? Probably. What can I say? Guilty as charged.