This year we were not newbies.
We made the decision late this spring to head back to NYFW. Last Sept. after our show we weren’t sure if Fashion Week would be a one-hit wonder for Oiselle or a yearly staple. But then THE PICTURE became Oiselle’s dominant image for 2013, our pictorial representation of Feminine Fierce, and we knew we needed to capture our athletes on the RUNway again this year.
Last year on the runway we were half runners, half professional NY models…which provided some awkward moments. It was clear we were intruding on their turf. The gal in line behind me last year looked absolutely stunning in her outfit; when I suggested she buy some O gear to wear she trained her blue eyes on me and said, “But I wouldn’t use it. I never work out.” Oh….
Right from the gun this year felt different. Sally decided up front that ALL of the models would be our muscly athletes.
Pro’s, Volée, staff, and our scouted sprinter. Although muse Sarah Mac was home with sweet baby Penny, we had veterans: JJ, Fleshmom (now with 12 more months of post-Jude training to rip up her abs even more), K8, and myself. We were joined by steeple extraordinaire Megan Rolland, Hammerlover, Lauren Penney (NJNY’s “local Lauren”), EMC sweetheart Clancy, Morgan Pope (our Sacto find at USA Outdoor Champs), and of course, Kara!!!! So immediately we were a team. Our prep felt more like a race warm-up than an incursion into a foreign country.
The schedule was packed. Kara, who trained like a fiend through the whole trip, announced that she was running the New York Marathon Monday am, and Flotrack was in town to document all the excitement. Monday afternoon shizz got real for the show. Sally and Katron laid our looks out in the bedroom of our Airbnb.
We put on our outfits (the competition kits?!?! So amazing!), cranked up the soundtrack, and critiqued but mostly admired each other’s runway swaggers. “More shoulders” “Hold your pose longer at the end” “You look amazing!” We were so excited to see all the new clothes we forgot to get nervous.
Then we all headed to a large and loud runfamily dinner at Galli restaurant in Soho—yummy. The second difference this year: we had brobirds in town to support us. Bob Lesko , Jesse Thomas, and Adam Goucher made a herculean effort to handle family logistics and support us birds. Plus: those men are easy on the eyes! And so heartwarming to see Jude and Colt communicating in their little boy-toddler language. Those little dudes were such troopers.
We hit the hay early, and Tues morning we were up at 6:15 to get a little running in. Kara had a legit workout to do, and Lauren jumped in for some of the fast intervals for company. One of my favorite memories of the whole trip is of Sally and I watching Lauren and Kara float away from us on the West Side Highway (we were trying to get a tempo in, running 6:40 pace at the time). They got away from us SO FAST! One corner, and they were gone. Their raw athletic power was fully on display, each woman with her signature stride, matching evenly, competitors but now teammates and fellow travelers on a common journey. My heart filled with gratitude for Sally, for the chance to be a part of THIS.
Then it was time to get ready for the show!
Different venue, longer runway, grittier feel to the space. Hair and makeup were more rushed this year. But the whole prep was done as a team: putting on kits, checking seams, water-pasting the tattoos. We chatted with the other model groups, admiring their hats, dresses, and 8” heels.
They admired the abs on display. Lauren did a few pull-ups. We did a quick team cheer: "Give 'em hell, Oiselle!" We lined up behind the 2 first designer groups, and then it was go time!
Once we saw Lauren fix her steely eyes down the runway, everyone went into race mode. Professional athletes have a very distinct and powerful “ON” switch. It’s a little scary.
It was over so quickly. The walk. The pose at the end. Watching Megan walk out toward me. And then, time for the finale!
All 10 looks!
High-five Sally, Katron giving all of us an ass-slap. And then the hugs (note: when hands are ice-cold that means an adrenaline-dump happened!). Immediately pictures started pouring onto twitter…with everyone showing each other: “Look at you! OMG you look amazing! Look at your quad!” Kara turned to us and said, “It is incredible to be with this group of women who are so supportive of each other. This is crazy!” More pictures: Kate’s ridiculous abs and walk...LF’s lion gaze…Brit’s hammer kiss...Kara’s calmly radiating confidence, lighting up the new kit.
And then our friends, family, and supporters came backstage and we had to put away our phones :) The champagne-popping went awry, Sally and Katron were soundly chastised. We felt like we were caught having a HS party in our parents basement. But we toasted anyway.
(Left to right: Lauren Fleshman, Mary Wittenberg, Kara Goucher)
And that evening after a beautiful team dinner at Buddakan, we got to celebrate with our NY-area Oiselle friends at Brass Monkey. And yes, we were getting pizza at 3:30am. You can fill in the blanks. Thank you NYC for another epic Oiselle experience, and especially to Rebecca MacKay for all of these amazing BTS photos!