Pay Attention to Your Arms and Hands
Your arms should sway naturally as you walk but don’t swing them too much or you’ll look awkward. Keep your arms close to your body so that only your lower arms sway. Your hands and fingers should be relaxed. Don’t ball them up or curl them up in any way. This makes for bad photos and you don’t want to look like you’re missing a couple of fingers. Keep your hands open and your fingers as straight as you can get them without it looking unnatural.
Be Mindful of Your Shoulders
Your shoulders should always stay steady and shouldn’t bounce or dip as you walk. Keep your shoulders still but not to a point where it’s painful.
When walking down the runway, don’t take baby steps. To enhance your walk, you’ll need to take longer strides than you normally would but avoid overdoing it to the point where you almost fall down. You have to find the perfect medium. Remember in a fashion show, the walk is paced in a certain way so that all the models have a steady tempo to walk to.
If you ruin that tempo, it throws everyone off. Place each foot in front of the other as opposed to side by side when you normally walk. As you place each foot down in front of the other, allow your hips to sway naturally. In many cases the model will adopt their own signature walk through time and experience, as mentioned before. This is more often than not influenced by or synchronised with the music.
¨Men should walk taller and appear broader. They should push their chest out and walk with the classical ´V´ (feet from inside to outside.) This emphasises their upper torso and enhances masculinity (Unlike women who cross with their toes as they walk in an ´X´ formation, as this emphasises the hips and gives the strut, or ´wiggle´ which is still the favourite of the runway, even more so when teamed with sky high heels.)When I was taught runway, it was stand tall, chest out, stomach in, shoulders back with chin totally parallel with the floor and glide. Imagine an invisible rope is tied around your waist and it is pulling you steadily and strongly through the crowd and towards your focal point.¨
Possess Confidence and Attitude
There is no way you can fake this on the runway. When you have confidence and attitude, it comes out in your walk and makes you the centre of attention. Nothing is more important than having the emotional aspect in check. When you know you’ve got it, it comes through in an amazing way that all runway models possess.
¨The most important thing when adopting the runway is to imagine that you are the most beautiful person in the room. If you believe it, then everyone else will. It’s the ultimate strut your stuff. All the top models do it up there ‘in the head´.¨ – Tyra Banks
Don’t Forget to Pose
In addition to walking down the runway, there is also your time to shine when you reach the end of the catwalk and pose for photographers. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and only spend a few seconds in that spot before walking back but remember, this is not only the time to show off the designer’s clothes to the audience, but for you to get great images for your portfolio. The two most important features here are your ´entry pose´ and your ´exit pose´.
Photographers can’t get a good shot if you’re barely still once you reach the end of the catwalk. I find that it helps to do a 3 to 5 second count in your head. When you reach the end of the runway, strike your first pose and do your 3 to 5 count, then perform your second pose and do another 3 to 5 count. No more, no less.
This should be more than enough time for photographers to get a handful of decent images of you that are not blurry, show off the outfit and still keep with the pace of the show. With time and practice, newer fashion models will learn how to master this part of the process. Remember, only by continuing to do fashion shows can you really become comfortable with all aspects of being on the runway.
Depending on the formation of the runway (TOIL) literally an acronym of the main catwalk shapes T, O, I, L you will be expected to make several ´stops´ or ´turns.´ These poses are calculated by the choreographer through the designer’s interpretation. Any one show could see a model going through movements such as Quarter-Turn, Half-Turn, Side-Turn, Full-Turn and Pivot. This terminology is so specific; it could merit another article in itself.
If you are the model who is ´first out´ then this will be your strongest (or signature) opening pose. The first out is always the most important of the runway show, and possibly the designer as he or she will be current ´face´ of the collection or marketing strategies. In fashion they are also termed as ´opening the show.´