Strutting the catwalk in New York
As models, Azariah Greaves, Callie Lucas and Giana Cedenio may have already peaked.
They strutted the catwalk as part of New York Fashion Week back in September; for many industry hopefuls, it's the kind of experience dreams are made of.
The opportunity for the Bermuda trio came courtesy of Nicola Lucas of Aqua Designs. They had modelled for her as part of Bermuda Fashion Festival 2018 and jumped at the chance to do the same in New York.
“I was very nervous when we waited in the back to go on the runway,” said Azariah, 12.
“Then when I got out there, I felt confident. Everything was amazing. There was a lot of gold and it was very pretty.”
Giana, 11, was surprised by just how few people and cameras there were.
“Actually, it was a lot like the Bermuda Fashion Festival,” the Saltus Grammar School student said.
Ms Lucas was invited to New York Fashion Week by event organisers, who spotted her designs on Instagram. She showed 15 looks — about 30 garments — in the prêt-à-porter category under the Aqua Designs banner. Ms Lucas was one of five designers in the show, held at the Prince George Ballroom in New York's Flatiron District.
The girls each spent about 30 seconds onstage.
Giana said her family built a vacation around the event.
“But the best part of the trip was definitely New York Fashion Week,” she said.
The girls felt a little intimidated on the day. Hair, make-up and nails happened in a whirl around them.
“It was very busy and everyone was doing everything,” said Callie, Ms Lucas's ten-year-old daughter.
The three stuck together rather than socialise with the older models organisers had provided for Ms Lucas's line.
“We knew each other, and the other girls looked like they knew each other,” said Azariah, a student at Mount St Agnes Academy.
Stage crew, mistakenly thinking they were walking for another designer, almost destroyed their look.
“I already had polish on my nails and they were taking it off,” Giana said indignantly.
“And we were supposed to have our hair in beachy waves and they were trying to put it back in a bun.”
Ms Lucas intervened as soon as she noticed what was going on.
Callie wore a polyester jumpsuit with aqua swirls and a pink silk jacket. Azaria and Giana swapped at the last minute, ultimately wearing a sport Lycra dress with a Bermuda sunset print and a green skirt, hibiscus print top and flared light-blue jacket respectively.
“When we switched I said, ‘Wow, this outfit is even more pretty',” Azariah said. “‘I can't believe I got this one.' I thought it was nice and colourful.”
All three girls had modelled before the Bermuda Fashion Festival last June. Azariah has also been in a commercial for Digicel, the telecommunications company.
The New York Fashion Week experience made them want even more.
“I want to continue doing this because it really makes me happy going out there,” Giana said.
“Sometimes it can be scary having people take photos of you because if you mess up people get a picture of that, but it is also cool to see people look up to you.”
Azariah wants to be a veterinarian some day, but plans to continue modelling on the side.
Callie, however, is completely hooked. “I really want to be a model,” the Saltus Grammar School student said. “It feels amazing being on the runway.”
The event was just as exciting for her mother, also experiencing her first New York Fashion Week.
“I think what the girls took away from this was that they really wanted to do it again,” Ms Lucas said.
“It was a really great experience for them.
“It was kind of nerve-racking for me because I had to go up there earlier in the week to fit the older girls for the adult wear. They were all a lot smaller than the Bermudian models.”
As a result, alterations were necessary.
Ms Lucas launched a clothing line for children six years and under in 2013.
She is now designing for preteens, teenagers and adults and hopes the look books she handed out to buyers during New York Fashion Week will draw some interest.
“I have no idea what my next collection will be about,” she said. “I have a few ideas that I want to do. I am all about the resort and island living.”
•See Nicola Lucas's designs at aquadesignsbermuda.com.