Lights, Camera, Fashion: RPROJ 2018

By Lynn Hong (18A13A), Zhu Xiuhua (18S06A) and Soh Ying Qi (18A01C)
Photos courtesy of Xi Wenhan (19S07A) and Alyssa Marie Loo (19A13A)

If upon entering Joyden Hall on the evening of Friday, 25 May, you’d assumed that you’d somehow wandered onto the scene of a Fashion Week, you’d easily have been forgiven. In the span of 12 hours, the venue had been transformed into a glittering fashion paradise, complete with a full-length runway and rows of empty seats waiting to be filled.

As attendees waited for the show to begin, the air thick with anticipation, they milled around an exhibition featuring that night’s collections. Using photographs and cutouts mounted on individual boards, designers treated audience members to a tantalising preview of their work before the models took the stage.

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Photo exhibits outside the hall showing the design process

The atmosphere was electric as we took our seats, thrumming with bass beats and the excited chatter of the audience.

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The titular runway

Finally, the lights dimmed and a hush fell. A spotlight pierced the darkness. With that, the show officially began.

One by one, we saw our schoolmates transformed into near-professional models, poised and confident as they strutted down the runway. Each item was carefully choreographed, from every fabric and detail on the garments, to the pauses and poses in the models’ walk, to the music.

The playlist for the evening was distinctive, featuring a variety of genres and beats that blended together almost seamlessly (no pun intended), complementing the theme of each new collection. As with so many other aspects of the show, this, too, had been meticulously curated to accompany the centrepiece of the evening.

 

As model after model took the stage, cheers rose from the audience in support—a heartening sight, given that walking the runway and offering oneself to the world (and doing it in style) requires no small amount of confidence. Each model certainly had it in spades (not least after months of practice), and the dozens of different looks were paraded boldly down the runway.

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A model making her way down

Of course, the true stars of the show were those we did not see: the designers waiting backstage, watching their blood, sweat and tears being displayed in front of a massive audience. When they appeared from backstage at the end of the show, the clapping turned into raucous applause of appreciation that seemed to fill the enormous hall.

Afterward, the audience was treated to Runway’s Behind the Scenes videos, with snippets of the design process, the model trainings and photoshoot. Chronicling the months of work behind just one night of glitz and glamour, it drew laughs from the audience as we saw the unflappable models bumble and stumble while rehearsing their walk, and the camera crew—staffed by Film Society—hard at work.

Before the night officially drew to a close, Ms Janissa Soh, teacher in-charge of Raffles Runway, posed a question to the audience: “Is RPROJ a product or a process?” The answer was obvious. “The product is easily one that is glitzy and glamorous with the bright lights and the snazzy flamboyant music, but putting together a show is much more than that. The hours of planning and coordination between members and student models is one thing, but the challenge of managing unplanned complications and the sudden pressure of having to make snap decisions that would make or break the show, the awkwardness of having to face each other and still work together after moments of tension or conflict. These scenarios are not part of a regular H2 subject.”

This message was successfully conveyed to the audience. Many found the show “enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing” and sang praises about the song choices which were a perfect accompaniment to the models strutting down the runway. But beyond that, members of the audience also commented that they could “see the effort behind the glitzy outfits”.

It was this behind-the-scenes process, beyond those five previous minutes where months of work culminated in a single flashbang of glitter and glory, that Runway wanted to share with the audience. Through their photo exhibits and behind-the-scenes videos, Runway managed to convey this understanding to the entire audience. We saw their painstaking attention to detail, their exacting standards and the time and effort they poured into the showcase, all to bring an aesthetic sensibility from idea to reality. Runway showed us that they are more than just dazzling lights and pretty clothes, and for that reason RPROJ 2018 was a run(a)way success.

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