May 13, 2013

WCFW S/S 2013: The Journey

Amilee Hagon

It all started out when my friend, Jennifer Shephard of Sheepish Couture, told me to enter this competition located in Edmonton. I gave it some serious thought and finally decided to commit to it as an exercise in my makeup skills. So began my journey … of wheat. This journey was going to both tax me and inspire me.

Exactly one month to the competition, I started creating the sketch for the look, making the crown and bouquet that my model, Elle Nguyen (our esteemed editor), wore/carried down the runway a centerpiece for my inspiration. I have only one word: Wheat. There was a lot of wheat.

Photo: DMacStudios

The concept

I found this concept online:  a woman whose makeup was inspired by the lily delicately placed in her hair (Source: Model Mayhem Portfolio).  This was the springboard from which I delved into the world of the prairies, namely Osaka and it’s surrounding areas.

I chose golds and browns, challenging myself to use very little color in comparison to the vast amounts of color I normally use in my creatives.

The outfit and colors reflected the high summer feel in Osaka when the cicadas sang and the wheat was just on the edge of turning its golden color. Elle will be wearing my favorite Cicada necklace.

The Original Sketch

Today’s inspirational music was “One More Time, One More Chance” Covered by Beni, a Japanese artist who sings this famous pop song in English. It is from a beautiful and inspirational Anime Short called “5 Centimeters Per Second” that I studied in depth in Japan. Did you know it was created entirely by one man?

While listening to this music I was tweaking  my sketches and picking the colors.   The idea of using stencils didn’t occur to me at this point but my mind would soon be changed.

The Journey

February 26th, 2013
I was looking at the crown and was thinking that some hot gluing was in order, mostly for glitter effects. I figured that on a runway, nothing catches the eye like sequins. Otherwise, it looked good.

I intended to finish up the bouquet today, which I lashed to a heavy wooden stick (hand carved by myself) and attached some plants bought at Michaels.  After a discussion with Elle, we both decided that stencils would be the best way to go.

First run was more Monet in appearance so, it was back to the drawing board. The floor was also, at this point, covered in sharp little pieces of wheat.  Some sweeping was certainly in order.

Disaster! While hot glue gunning some sparkles on, the glue gun jammed and the hot glue spilt all over my hands.  As I type up this excerpt, my hands are still in agony. After going to the hospital, it was determined that I had a major burn but nothing that couldn’t be healed with burn cream.  The things I do for my art.

Runway Sketch by Amilee Hagon - Life of Elle CalgaryMarch 14th, 2013
After downloading some wheat images, I created stencils from them and discussed options for makeup.  It was finally time to hunker down and practice with Elle.  After several hours, we finally reached a point that made us happy.  It’s always nice to have a second pair of eyes handy to see things I can’t.  I was so nervous!

March 20th, 2013
Happy Spring! I was absolutely petrified about the event. I think it was because I was going over everything in my head and making sure that all my ducks were in a row.

With no communication from the actual event, it was difficult to gauge just what to expect. Looking back I didn’t know why I was so nervous. IMATS was way more stressful than this event.

Despite this crushing fear, I had to admit I was very excited!  It was really nice to have such a strong team to back you!

It was also nice to have friends to help you out as well.  Paul Steffan, David’s friend, was gracious enough to lend us his home for makeup application!

March 22nd, 2013

It seems that this event was filled with disaster!  Poor Elle fell and injured herself.  It was bad enough that I didn’t think she’d be able to do the event.  She insisted she could.

She later revealed that her toe was broken and her ribs were badly bruised, but she’d still be able to walk.  I was very impressed but still very worried for her.  A broken toe is no easy thing.

March 24th, 2013
In a discussion earlier that week, Aman of Javeda came back to me to follow up on the idea that a high fashion runway costume, forgoing the bandeau altogether, would give it that more natural Earth Goddess feel while still keeping it classy (pasties of course would be applied, alas this isn’t Europe).  I loved the idea because I wanted it as Earth goddess bound as possible.

Show day

9:30: David and I headed out this morning  and were a little behind.  It seemed that pasties were in shortage on that exact day. I saw them on the shelf the day before and apparently they had been bought out shortly after.

12:30: We arrived in Edmonton, picked up Elle, and went to Paul’s place.  He had a hair studio in the basement – a pleasant surprise that eased my nerves.  Nothing was left behind. We were rolling fast and hard, and I was feeling on top of the world.  Elle’s toe, by the way, looked awful.

1:30: David had run off with Paul to see if they could find pasties.  They were successful, so it was one less thing for me to worry about. Elle and I couldn’t help but imagine the torment they had to go through when asking where to find the said pasties. They certainly were the heroes of the day.

4:00: I was panicking!  We were almost done but still needed to do hair! I took a moment to breath deep and then I was off and running again!

4:30: Everything was done, I was happy, and it was time to leave!  We had to get across town in rush hour, but with David behind the wheel, there was nothing for me to worry about.

5:45: We arrived.  It looked like they were still setting up for the event, but we were still greeted by lovely ladies who escorted us inside.   At the back, there were so many beautiful people and I was excited to be up against such fierce competition.  Certainly, I was nervous, but it was about this point that I felt awash in calm.

6:00: It turned out that all the ladies who were in the back room were all for various events and presentations.  Only 3 people, including myself, had entered the makeup competition and only 1 person had entered for Hair.

My shock was further intensified when we were told they were merging the two competitions together! I was beyond angry, but I didn’t want to speak out.  There were people watching us and the show must go on.  I was a little hurt by negative comments made about the hair I did since it was makeup that I was focusing on for the past month and a half.

6:15: With the rehearsal done, it was back to the holding room to do hair.  I was disappointed as there was no time at all to tweak the makeup.  I had hoped to add in some extra pop.  In the end, the hair looked beautiful and that calmness that I was feeling was still there.  I was still a upset about the merging but was having so much fun with my friends that I didn’t give my negative emotions a chance to come out full force.

Elle, Aman, and I should not be left alone.  It was evident that we make a very goofy bunch.  The only one in our group not joining in on the fun was David.  He was too busy getting nervous for me.

6:45: At curtain call we are asked to go to the backstage holding area and wait.  Elle practiced her walk and encouraged another model to practice too (the other model was walking for the first time).  Elle had her game face on and it was making me laugh so hard.  I tried striking silly poses to try and break her concentration, no luck, Elle’s a pro at this. While waiting back stage I noticed that the wheat staff is HUGE and it kept getting  in the way of other people.

7:15: Elle is the first to walk and I’ve completely forgotten where to stand and what to do.  I followed Elle and did my best not to let my nerves get the better of me.  When the hostess asked me a question I did my best to elaborate on a lot of the details because I wanted Elle to stand longer up front with the judges.  We did an excellent walk and got to watch everyone else do the same.  It was a fantastic experience in that moment, and a rush that reminded me exactly why I do these things.

Western Canada Fashion Week March 20137:40: We were sent back to the holding room with no clear outline of what we were going to do next.  No one knew what was going on, but we were apparently waiting, possibly for award announcements.  I found that chatting with other contestants after the walk is done is always better because the nerves are mostly calmed.

9:00: We were called back to the stage and we were all very excited, but I was interested to see how they were going to deal with the hair competition.  At this point, I joked with Elle about how funny it would be to win the hair competition, since we really didn’t plan for it.

Winner for the hair competition was announced first and we won Third Place!  Initially, I was very happy and a little amused, but then my amusement turned to shame when the girl who was the sole entrant in hair didn’t win anything at all.

When winners of the makeup competition was announced, we discovered that we won Third Place again. I was still reeling in shock from what had just happened and I almost miss going upstage with Elle.  I held it together until everything was done.

9:30  When we’re backstage again, I told the hair entrant’s model that they deserved to have won and how awful I feel about it.  It was obvious the entrant is angry.

10:00 After gathering up my prizes, we headed out and stopped for some McDonald’s coffee and snacks. Thirty minutes into the drive back to Calgary, I realize Elle was fast asleep!


I learned so much from this journey, though rocky, it was a test in patience, ingenuity, stress, and change. I am so proud of my team and so proud of what we did! This was a victory that I will learn from and grow from.
Thanks so much everyone!


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