What I learned at my first runway show


Leigh Ann Barnett

A personal touch Kloss added to the outside of the Pageant were hearts like this on the sidewalk.

Express held their 2017 fashion show at the Pageant in the St. Louis Loop Thursday, March 30, in collaboration with St. Louis native and supermodel Karlie Kloss.

Kloss was discovered in 2006 during a charity runway show that her friends parents were holding at a local venue here in STL. At 16, Kloss was walking in over 60 fall/winter runway shows in 2008. Kloss is still prominent in the fashion industry (no one is capable of forgetting the 6-feet 2-inch model) but still attends New York University for coding, has worked with countless charities (her most notable being her work with Milk Bar to create her gluten free and vegan “Kookies” and her Code with Klossy summer camp for 20 girls per city in the U.S. to have a free two week course on how to code.)

Through her collaboration with Express, Kloss gave 10 everyday women the opportunity to walk in the show (five STL girls and five from other cities scattered around the United States). Kloss designed clothes for everyday women who “strive to reach higher and dare to do more.”


Wear comfortable shoes

At this particular fashion show, where the tickets were first come first serve, there is usually a need to get down there quickly to ensure your entry. So with waiting in line for two and a half hours for the doors to open, the VIPs to be let in and then finally for the us, the general admissions to be let into the small but packed venue.

After senior Kathryn Bonzon and I made our way into the Pageant, we grabbed some of the ‘Kookies’ that were being offered to us and headed down into the standing area to wait for the runway to begin. Dancing, of course, took place before  and after the show while special guest Charlie XCX performed a few songs. With all that standing and dancing I was thankful that I had kept my look simple and comfortable in my Vans Old Skool platform sneakers so even after a night of dancing my feet survived.

Basics can save your wardrobe (and your wallet)

The main thing Kloss stressed about her collection was how versatile and easy all the 17 pieces are. With simple T-shirts, open back maxi dresses and miniskirts the collection took on an air of ‘working girl’ in paradise which Express ran with while making the promotion video for the collect. While giving her speech at the end of the runway show Kloss explained where her inspiration for her collection came from.  “These are the types of pieces that I don’t leave my house without,” Kloss said. I completely agree with that statement: why would I ever leave the house without the most adorable ‘optimist’ t-shirt? Both Bonzon and I bought the shirt after the show (which earned us a feature on the official Express Snapchat story!).

Pins and patches are for everyone

If you have a Pinterest, Instagram or eyes, you have probably seen the world’s most fashionable celebrities and stars rocking the 90s trend of pins and patches. Kloss incorporated her love for pins and patches on her army green/light pink satin bomber, oversized jean jacket and simple pin sets (set one and set two), so you can pick and choose your own pins. I love this trend because it is a great way for people to amp up their style with their personal preference. You like outer space? Cool, here is a pin with a spaceship and UFO on it. You really love shooting stars and smiley faces? You are covered by this Express collection.

Patches also are a really great way to express individuality because of their versatile use. With websites like your patch store you can find and search for almost any type of patch that represents you and your interests whether it is roses for your grandmother, a guitar for your best friend’s love of music or even a giraffe to represent your spirit animal.

It’s time to start thinking about investing in more professional pieces

We are growing up. Scary, I know. But with classes like Versatile Enterprise International (also known as V.E. or V.E.I.) or clubs like Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) where dressing in work appropriate attire is required at most of the events, having a good blazer, a well fit pencil skirt and a classic white mock neck lace blouse (for under that good blazer you will be getting) are going to come in handy.

All these pieces can easily translate to the everyday wardrobe as well; throwing on your favorite pair of jeans with the blazer or blouse can dress the two pieces down to a simple everyday look. The pencil skirt can easily go from a day look to a night out look with switching a blouse or sweater for a leather cropped bralette to spice up the look.

This is what I want to do with my life

The reality of how difficult it would be for me to model for high fashion houses at my average height of 5 feet 7 inches hit me really hard during my freshman year, which drove my love for fashion and all things runway oriented to brand new heights.

I became aware of Kloss during the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2013, where she walked as a V.S. angle, 2013 being her third year with the brand. Ever since that show, I had been following Kloss because of her inspiring story of a simple girl from St. Louis taking the fashion industry by storm.

Fast forward four years, and now I had the opportunity to attend my favorite brand Spring Runway show featuring Kloss. After experiencing the Karlie Kloss X Express runway show it was hard for me to tell anyone about it. All I can do when anyone mentions or asks about the show is smile like an idiot and tell them that it was the best moment of my life and that I will carry these memories with me wherever I go. This is what I want to do; I want to go to runway shows, experience the adrenaline rush, and have the ability to talk to and show people about what different designers think the next big thing will be.