The call of the wild
There are only two circumstances – both extremely rare – when a man reverses his DNA and waits happily by the phone.
Will his friend really will lend him his Lamborghini for the night?
That is the first.
And the second?
To learn if he’s obtained a backstage VIP pass to a fashion shoot.
In my case, I was spared the agony of pining by my mobile. Like pennies from heaven, the call came as a surprise.
Dorinha and Dale Reynolds, the business partners behind the soaring brand Dorinha Wear had a day of shooting slotted in Vancouver for the company’s new Fall collection.
They had an extra seat for me – if I “was interested in seeing a shoot in action”.
Before I had a chance to say yes, they also mentioned something about interviewing some of the Dorinha Girls.
The pennies had just turned into dollar bills.
The pace – who would have known?
Not more than ten minutes passed when a blue minivan swooped down to my corner in Downtown Vancouver and the side door rolled back to reveal a cab filled with videographers, an army of audio equipment, fashion ensembles, accessories, assistants, and of course, the aforementioned Dorinha Girls.
Dorinha Wear runs up to 25 photo shoots in the summer with locations across the city. Posters of Dorinha Girls are everywhere, in every established and up-and-coming shop where young women in the early 20’s shop for jeans and evening wear.
It is only natural that the young girls have a paparazzi following in Vancouver, a city that is fast becoming known as the ‘Hollywood of the North’.
They are the young goddesses of the local fashion scene.And so was it really a surprise that I came expecting champagne?
That was the image I had in mind from attending numerous fashion shows in the past.
But I learned soon enough, however, that cocktails are only for the catwalk and even then, just for the guests.
When it comes to life backstage – or street shoots in the summertime – every second is precious and we were behind schedule.
With the late summer light fading into early evening, Dale and his crew had more locations to make.
We rolled up to my first stop and unloaded everything in 5 minutes – as quickly as it would later be loaded back.
Lights, camera, action
When the lens focuses in on you, the world seems to come to a standstill.
When you are a Dorinha Girl in the heart of Vancouver’s urban centre, the world not only stops, but it cranes its neck for a closer look.
Young kids, businessmen in suits, strolling mums, chatting seniors… onlookers of all ages and sizes stopped and watched, mesmerized by Dorinha Girls Tatyana, and Stephanie as each model stared through the camera, posed, held it for count, twisted to the direction of their photographers, held the next, rotated again, and onward.
The dance was timeless – every pirouette of this tango between photographer and model was captured on roll after roll of film.
The gallery grew and some of the fans daring enough to approach and try to strike up a conversation.
One young man even seemed willing to stand up his first-time-date for the opportunity to linger for a precious few more seconds.
The diversions did not distract however.
The shoot continued unabated: Tatyana and Stephanie were oblivious to all the red carpet attention and held their poses; Dale, Stan and Ozan kept their direction and cameras rolling, Dorinha and Rumi rotated the girls in and out of outfits.
The world watched. The crew worked.
It was a family orchestrating to its own upbeat tempo and pace – for outsiders chaotic but for the crew a well-rehearsed and seamless performance.
The beat goes on
We moved from location to location.
The sun faded until eventually we were on the ocean’s shoreline, the final shoot of the day – on the apron’s edge of Jericho Beach.
The girls posed with the latest Fall Casuals collection on the sand – nearby a fisherman netted for crabs.
With the tide starting to come in, the crew came together for the last shots of the day.
The girls playfully practiced karate kicks in between their camera poses.
The crew reloaded their equipment and grinned with satisfaction knowing their 14-hour day was about to end.
Meanwhile, Dorinha, standing in the background, stood calmly and looked out at the red sun merging into the horizon.
She reminisced about how she had grown up in a rural area far from the water and how overwhelming it was when she saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in her native Brazil.
She did not know then that one day her own company Dorinha Wear would also one day bend over the horizon like the ocean to touch distant shores.
The look on her face on this night, however, said that now she knew.