My Project Runway

Posted September 27, 2010 by jimhigley

Tim Gunn I’m not. But the byline to this piece could read “How a 50-year-old guy found himself working the runway at a high couture fashion show!”

There’s something to be said for just going with the flow.

I was having lunch last week with my new buddy, Jonny
Imerman, founder of this amazing one-on-one cancer support group, Imerman Angels. Jonny’s kind of like the Pied Piper. He’ll throw these things out there and you just want to do it.

What Jonny threw out to me was a suggestion that I volunteer at their biggest fundraising event which was coming up: A fashion show and silent auction in an everybody-wants-to-be-seen-in art gallery.

“Sure,” I told him and then I went on to their website to sign up. I checked the boxes for being a “Shmoozer” because I figured I could do a decent job of shaking hands and promoting the cause.

So I showed up an hour before the event starts, as requested, along with a couple hundred volunteers – 95% of whom I am old enough to be their dad. But I was fine. I kind of expected that. What I didn’t expect, or even think of, was what I was jumping into. The last twenty years of grade school and high school programs has blurred my memory of what the fast life in big cities is all about.

This was – wow – big. 2,000 people. Tents with aerial acts. Booze flowing, side stages, beautiful people, young people, designers, lots of fake kissing cheek-to-cheek. And there was me, in my conservative cardigan sweater, handing out little flyers promoting the cause. I was so out-of-place that I looked in-place.

The fun part came when, as the fashion show was about to begin, I got yanked by the security detail to stand post at key spot on the runway to keep the crowds from sneaking in a backdoor. Me – with about 50 magazine-perfect models from the Ford Modeling Agency. Men and women. Actually, they were all boys and girls. I actually liked – and understood – the clothing. It was the accessories – antlers, viking helmets, animal heads – that didn’t quite speak to me. Nor did the hair on the girls which looked more like exotic bird nests. But hey, I don’t recall anyone asking my opinion.

Nor did anyone, by the way, ask me who made my cardigan, either. Perhaps next time I’ll add the matching spiked dog collar.