Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Learn to Walk the Runway

Fashion models make it look so effortless, but strutting your stuff in 4 inch heels (or taller) is not as easy as some might think.

Here are some runway basics to ensure you’ll be gracing the runway like a pro: 

1.  Make sure you are comfortable- Make sure you choose the right shoes, if you get to wear your own.  The last thing you want to do is fall on the runway, because your shoe slips off the back of your foot.  If the shoes are new, it’s always good to scratch the soles with scissors or place masking tape on the bottom so they will not slip on the floor.  Make sure you practice your runway walk in the exact shoes you’ll be wearing, several time prior to the show. 

High heels change the way you hold your body.  They change your posture.  They actually push your weight forward to the balls of your feet, which make you able to pull your shoulders back and opens them up.  It’s a much more powerful posture and that’s what you want.

2.  Posture- When walking on the runway, posture is extremely important!  Try to make your body as tall as possible, keeping your back and neck straight.  Your head should face straight ahead of you and you should be fairly still.  Some models also lean back slightly, so their legs are moving forward before the rest of their body.  This is definitely not necessary, but can be done.

3.  Legs and Feet- Walk with your feet facing straight ahead of you.  Don’t turn your feet out to the sides as you walk.  As you take each step, place your foot down in front of the other one, rather than parallel to each other.  Your footprints should form a single line, as if you’re walking on a rope or a beam.  Try to keep most of your weight on the balls of your feet, so you’re not clunking down the runway on your heels.  Some models also lift their legs up very high while walking, done by bending more at the knee, and taking much longer strides.

4.  Hips- Don’t feel like you have to move your hips dramatically as you walk.  Many designers want you to look natural.  It’s not necessary to force or exaggerate this movement, because your hips will sway naturally as you walk.

5.  Arms- What you do with your arms, depends on the type of clothes that you are modeling.  As a general rule, try to avoid big, exaggerated arm movements.  Your arms will sway naturally at your sides when you walk, but exaggerated arm movements are not needed.  While this is the most common way to place your arms when walking on the runway, you can also walk with one hand on your hip, with both hands on your hips, or with your hands in the pockets of a jacket you are modeling.  Some times you could be modeling accessories, like handbags or jackets that you will need to practice with before the show.

6.  Hands- Make sure your fingers are not scrunched into fists.  Always remember to have your hands open with your fingers natural, but not completely straight.  You don’t want to get a photo back of your ending pose, and have it look like you have no fingers.

7.  Posing- When reaching the end of the runway, models typically pause for a moment to show off the clothes.  This can be done in different ways and the show director or designer may let you know how long they want you to pose, or how many poses they would like for you to do.

After walking down the runway, stop at the end and shift your weight to one hip.  Strike a pose with your arms that complements the pose of your legs.  Placing your left hand lightly on your hip while leaving your right hand down along your side, is a classic runway pose that shows off the lines of clothing well.  Change your weight again striking a new pose with your weight on your other foot.  This can be as simple as switching arms.  Keep your eyes towards the end of the runway to make sure you offer photographers a good photo opportunity.

8.  Eyes and Head- Always look straight forward.  Focus on an object straight ahead of you, but not an audience member.  Do not focus on the bright lights that will be shining on you.  You don’t want to go blind and fall off the end of the runway.  Keep you chin slightly elevated, but not too much.  Everyone will be looking up at you, so you don’t want to have your chin raised too high.  Try to keep your head and your shoulders still as your body moves down the runway. 

These are just some basic tips for perfecting your runway walk.  There are many variations that can be done.  Check back to the blog often for other print modeling and runway tips and topics.   

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