A SHOW TO RE­MEM­BER

Fashion (Canada) - - Style News - —El­iza Gross­man

It’s a rainy day in Paris—the kind that soaks you like a ride on Ni­a­gara Falls’ Maid of the Mist. I’m try­ing to find the back­stage en­trance for the L’Oréal Paris fash­ion week run­way show, and po­lice of­fi­cers have pointed me in the di­rec­tion of the Arc de Tri­om­phe, where I find a large white tent set up on the fash­ion­able Av­enue des Champs-Élysées. The scene is buzzing as model Irina Shayk struts across the street with a group of pho­tog­ra­phers trail­ing be­hind her. This is one of Paris’s busiest shop­ping streets, yet to­day it has been closed off for a star-stud­ded L’Oréal Paris run­way show fea­tur­ing the brand’s top faces, in­clud­ing He­len Mir­ren and Jane Fonda. Six hun­dred seated guests are here, as well as thou­sands more that will sur­round the area to see the celebri­ties and models walk a 60-me­tre run­way—that’s 10 me­tres longer than an Olympic-size swim­ming pool. When I sit down back­stage with vet­eran model Liya Kebede, I ex­pect to hear that this is just an­other day on the job, but Kebede com­pares her pre-show jit­ters to the first show she walked in 1999. “When you do your first show, you’re su­per-ner­vous and you don’t know what to ex­pect,” she says. “It’s a big deal, and to­day is kind of the same thing.” Back­stage con­sen­sus is that walk­ing the Champs-Élysées with such a mas­sive au­di­ence is a ca­reer high­light. As I chat with the models, makeup artist Val Gar­land preps 70 beauty looks, all dis­played on de­tailed face charts along the walls of the tent for her many as­sis­tants. The tent is a hive of ac­tiv­ity un­til the very last minute, when guests take their seats. The models brave the el­e­ments as they march down the misty run­way with­out miss­ing a step. It’s an­other day on the job, but shut­ting down the Champs-Élysées makes it one to re­mem­ber.

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