Show girl

Honor Fraser modelled John Galliano's debut collection for Givenchy just over a year ago, and attended his recent triumph at Christian Dior. Now she's just starred for Alexander McQueen in his first Givenchy show. Tamsin Blanchard hears her tale of two collections -, and three famous Brits - in Paris last month. Illustrator Richard Gray captures the moments

Tasmin Blanchard
Sunday 23 October 2011 06:51

Alexander McQueen was the first person to say I walk like a pony. Before the show, he said to me that I had to "really work the pony". I had bits on my shoes that made them look like shire horse's feet. It's just practice with the walk. I really get into it. I love the whole idea of being watched by lots of people. I suppose it turns me on. There's an element of acting when you're on the catwalk, but you're limited in that it's just a walk.

I've worked with Alexander for quite a few seasons. Issy (Isabella Blow, fashion mentor) introduced us. She's got a lot of people into the fashion business - she has incredible vision and understanding of contemporary fashion. She's so intuitive. She started me modelling, and she found me an agent. I love her for being such a free spirit. I'm quite conscious when I'm on the catwalk of her support, not just for me but for the designer as well. That's what's so great about British audiences - the glory of it all. You don't get that so much in France.

I remember the first show I did with Alexander in London. What impressed me was the make-up by Val Garland. We had feathers growing from our eyebrows. I was really struck then by what a powerful person Alexander is. Essentially, he's still Alexander; he'll never change. He's a really true person.

First thing I saw when I arrived in Paris for Givenchy was Marcus Schenkenberg being sprayed with gold dust. It was really, really exciting backstage, and there were loads of cool people hanging about, like Topolino, who did the make-up. He always works on Alexander's shows. He's this tiny guy from Marseilles who always wears tops which expose his midriff. He's so funny; he makes me laugh. He's very passionate about his work and I admire that.

For the show, we all had to wear this little corset to cinch our waists in under the outfits. I work a lot with corsets. It's an amazing feeling. I feel quite strong in a corset. I find it quite sexy, a symbol of power. A corset certainly helps on the catwalk to make an impression. Once you actually get into your complete outfit, you suddenly become an extension of the designer's vision. You understand them and want to do the best for them. I usually get a bit nervous before a show, but not as much as I used to. And as soon as the show actually begins, all I want to do is get out there.

At Galliano's debut show, I had to pose sitting still on a huge pile of mattresses, pretending to be the Princess and the Pea. I was absolutely longing to jump off. I probably would have if the dress hadn't been nailed to the mattress.

For his first Dior show, I was a guest and arrived an hour late because of a fitting, and thought I'd missed it entirely. But like most shows, it was running behind, so I got there with 10 minutes to spare.

At the Grand Hotel, guests are seated in lots of different rooms, which makes the show quite intimate. I was seated quite close to where the models were making their entrance, so I could see all my friends getting ready, which was quite strange. It's such a different impression watching a show from being part of it all.

The show was brilliant, but what struck me most was the way the models moved and posed on the catwalk. It is such a different impression from being part of it all. Models are far more capable than people think; they really make the show.

It did feel like a real fashion moment, and it was quite emotional while we were there, but for me Givenchy was a major event, too. I suppose with Galliano there are fewer surprises because he's been around for longer.

I really loved the African bead work in it. The make-up was great, too. But I really can't imagine myself buying couture. For a start, I don't imagine having hundreds of thousands of pounds to spend. And I don't associate haute couture with my life. To wear a couture suit or dress feels very different to wearing everyday clothes. As a model, you get used to it. With three shows a day, it becomes quite routine. When you give it a moment's thought, you think it's really cool. But it's just a job, after all.

"White high-collared jacket with gold embroidery and huge cuffs, white chiffon trousers" Givenchy

"White strapless sailor dress, white chiffon drape" Givenchy

"Gold and white sequin striped one-shoulder top, white sailor trousers" Givenchy


"Long sheath dinner dress in chartreuse double-faced satin, embroidered with bluish and ivory thread chinoiserie on the bodice, shoulder tassel and fishnet masking a slashed back, flat-bosomed bust, corolla spiral- cut mermaid skirt. Amethyst grape cascading at the ears" Dior


"Cocooned robe and pyjamas evening ensemble in sulphured damask cotton with kimono sleeves and draped back, gold lame fringing, Aurora mink-trimmed collar, rosewood satin lining, over loose black crepe bias-cut pants and lace encrusted camisole. Organza painted chrysanthemum and orchid necklet" Dior


"Long raspberry pink double-faced satin sheath dinner dress, Beauvais point embroidered asymmetrical bustier, raspberry knotted passementerie fringes for shoulder straps and long jade, lavender and lilac chinoiserie embroidered tail. Green jade grape cascading at the ears and red lacquer bangle" Dior


"Long streamline satin-backed midnight blue moss crepe suit, flat collarless edge-to-edge jacket with long slender kimono sleeves, puff ruffle basque effect over mermaid skirt" Dior.

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