Hundreds turn out for Gainesville Fashion Week runway show

A model walks the runway wearing fashion by Jacquelyn Brooks during the Gainesville Glitterati Show as part of Gainesville Fashion Week on Friday.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, April 5, 2013 at 11:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 5, 2013 at 11:49 p.m.

Kristyn Pelaez watched quietly as the male model strutted to the lip of runway, paused for photos and whipped back around.

"Those bottoms are definitely in right now," Pelaez, 20, said, pointing to the rugged pair of swim trunks that swirled with red, green and blue fish prints. "They really appeal to people in Florida."

"Yeah, they're really vibrant," Jillian de Montluzin, 21, said with a nod.

On Friday night, the two University of Florida students traveled to the University Air Center for Gainesville Fashion Week, which was nestled in the Mustang Hangar and drew more than 200 locals, models and students. Another runway show is set for tonight at 6:30 at the air center, which is adjacent to Gainesville Regional Airport.

"I bet they're thinking: Don't fall. Don't fall. Don't fall," Pelaez said, as another model — this one decked in green shorts, a light-blue checkered shirt and dark boat shoes — stopped to strike a pose. "I wouldn't want to bust on my catwalk."

As he jaunted back and disappeared behind the black curtain, she sagged her shoulders.

"I don't think I could ever do that," she admitted.

The third night of GFW featured runway shows from Fresh Heirs, Jacquelyn Brooks, Macy's Mens, White House Black Market and headlining designer Jay Nicolas Sario, who appeared on "Project Runway."

For Lauren Staub, it was her first modeling run.

"It was a senior year resolution," Staub, a 21-year-old UF student, said as she prepared her outfit backstage.

She had always been interested in modeling, she said, but never pursued it. When she went to the GFW open auditions and was picked for the Fresh Heirs and Jay Nicolas Sario sets, she was as surprised as anyone.

"It's something different," she said. "I'm really excited."

Loud music thumped off the hangar walls as she prepared backstage for her first run with Fresh Heirs. The designers already twisted her hair into a criss-cross braid and fluffed it into two buns; dressed her in a see-through rain poncho and old thrift store dress; dappled her temples and forehead with silver and purple rhinestones; and handed her a yellow smiley face balloon.

All she had to do was mentally prepare herself.

"It's a strange feeling," Staub said of modeling. "Because I'm generally a nervous person, but I walk out on the runway and it dissipates."

Also in the crowd of models was Bryan Smith, who was readying for his run with Fresh Heirs, too.

The UF junior's favorite part of modeling is the pictures, he said.

"I really love fashion, and I really love photography," said Smith, 21, who first got involved in modeling after a friend suggested he get on the other side of the camera.

When he strides down the walkway, he said, he thinks about "seeing what other people can't see."

"Everybody looks at you," he explained, "but they all see something different."

During his set, Smith looped down the runway like a giraffe, and cocked his hips at the end of his walk, staring out at the crowd for a few seconds before relinquishing the stage to another model.

Meanwhile, Pelaez and de Montluzin studied the outfits and walks intently.

"We were talking about it," Pelaez said, "and we agree: It's probably a lot harder than it looks."

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