A couple of weeks ago the team at Express reached out and asked, “Would you be interested in walking the runway for the debut collection of Karlie Kloss x Express?” I didn’t have to think twice. The answer was hell yes!
Karlie Kloss collaborated over the last year with Express to design her first fashion line, Karlie Kloss x Express (see the lookbook). After months of hard work, she decided to launch the collection in her hometown of St. Louis. Karlie chose to have the event at the Pageant theater, which holds a special place in her heart. At age 13, she was discovered while walking the runway for a friend’s charity fashion show here. Everything came full circle for her last Thursday when she once again walked the runway at the Pageant, this time as a designer.
Karlie chose 10 contest winners and 5 influencers to walk the runway. She specifically wanted to have everyday women showcase the versatility and wearability of the collection. The group had a blast hanging out, touring St. Louis, and experiencing what it’s like to be a fashion model for a day.
To ensure the show was organized and professional, Express flew out a team of executives, stylists, photographers and videographers, social media experts, hair and makeup artists, and more from Columbus and New York City. The day before the show, we had fittings to try on three separate looks. Stephen Galloway, a top runway coach who has worked with Karlie and Giselle, gave us tips on how to walk like a pro. I learned what playing dress up for a living was really like, and I have to say a girl could get use to this life.
Models Take St. Louis
The next day the runway models explored St. Louis. We checked out some of the city’s top landmarks like Forest Park, the Arch, and Lafayette Square. I recommend the trolley tour if you are from out of town and want to see the main highlights. We had a group of videographers and social media pros following us around for the morning. They captured our every move and I’ve never felt so important! You can catch some of the highlights on Express’s Instagram.
Getting Runway Ready
After a quick lunch at Pi Pizzeria, we started prep for the runway show. 15 models had 3.5 hours to get glam. We worked with a team of hair and makeup experts from New York City. Halfway into the run-through, we completely redid our hairstyles because that’s the way things work. I went from textured wavy voluminous hair, to sleek and straight in less than 30 minutes.
Right before the show, the energy backstage was on fire. I had one of those out of body moments. I knew something special was about to happen and the excitement of the room was palpable. The frenzy of hair and makeup artists retouching models, stylists making last minute changes, the smoke alarm going off from the steamer…it all made the moment feel like real life and fantasy at the same time.
The Karlie Kloss x Express Fashion Show
It wasn’t long before Karlie entered the dressing area to give us a pep talk. At this point we had met her several times already. She proved to be down to earth and just one of the girls, but she also had an incredibly charming presence. You knew she was special. Right before the show started, our fearless leader leaned on us for support. She told us how important we were to launching the collection and that we inspired her. It was a touching moment for all of us. I think my favorite part though was having her there to cheer us on right as we stepped onto the runway. All my nerves disappeared and I rocked that runway every step of the way. And so did every other girl, novices at the runway, but confident to say the least. Watch the entire show here.
I loved every single one of my outfits. In fact there are 17 styles that create over 100 different looks. I would describe the collection as sporty and romantic. From breezy maxi dresses, to the bomber jackets you’ve always wanted (they’re reversible!), iconic tees, and even a couple of suits that flatter both petite and tall women.
It was a smart move for Karlie to showcase the collection with models of all shapes and sizes. Her designs work well on a range of body types. I usually don’t wear anything that draws attention to my waistline as my belly likes to make an appearance when I least expect it. But this red dress managed to make my waist look slimmer than ever. Dare I say, with that bust line, I actually had an hourglass figure.
Charlie XCX Performs
After the runway show, Charlie XCX performed some of her amazing tunes like Boom Clap, I’m So Fancy, and Break the Rules. Karlie treated everyone to Ted Drewes frozen custard, voted #1 Ice Cream in the world, and Karlie’s Kookies.
This was truly one of the best experiences of my life. The event was incredibly well organized, the team at Express was kind and professional, and Karlie was the most gracious hostess. I can cross walking the runway at a legit fashion show and getting slated for a video off my bucket list. I’m so grateful that I’m a blogger and get to experience events like this. And as a former Express retail employee, walking the runway at one of their fashion shows is like coming full circle for me too.
If you’d like to watch the show for yourself, it’s available on Facebook live here. Stay tuned as I style looks from the Karlie Kloss x Express collection for Express.com — coming up!
Disclosure: I was invited by Express to cover the event as an influencer. All opinions are my own. Images courtesy of Express.