an unexpected trip to a runway show in selçuk, turkey


As the caption to a picture I posted to my personal Facebook page reads, somehow I ended up backstage at a runway show in Selçuk, Turkey with the models [don’t ask how]…and me in my shorts, sweaty, and about a foot too short.  The reason for travelling to Selçuk, Turkey, was, of course, to see Ephesus, ancient Greek city, second largest city in the Roman Empire, home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World [The Temple of Artemis], and in the twenty-first century one of the best preserved ancient cities in the region. I did see Ephesus the day after this runway show, and it did not disappoint [more on that in a future blog post].  But I digress.

On my first day in Selçuk, instead of seeing one of the seven ancient wonders of the world [or the one column that is left of it] I was surrounded by seven wonders of modern Turkey: backstage with seven runway models.

Now you can ask, and the story goes like this…

As I was wandering around the town checking out the extant pieces of Roman aqueduct and trying to beat the brutal rays from the sun as much as I could, I happened to walk by a taxi cab.  In the taxi were two very attractive people [model types] and someone who was, from the sound of their accent, from some former colony of the British Empire.  There a heated discussion going on and I could hear the Brit-man trying to communicate with someone, but to no avail.  I could also hear French being spoken by a young and very sculpted male model with dark hair, a brooding look, and a pseudo-Bieber haircut.  There was a female model as well, quasi-Shakira looking, and she was silent, as far as I could tell.  I’m still not sure exactly where she was from.

As I stopped, I gleaned that the conversation was something about directions, and since the model was speaking only in French, he apparently wasn’t getting his point across to the Brit.  I walked up to the taxi and asked [in French] if I could be of assistance.  The male French model stared at me for a moment, then with recognition in his eye [I guess he figured why the heck not] said yes.

I then became the language bridge between the Brit and the Frenchman, much like many an envoy had done in centuries past.  This time, however, what the French model wanted to communicate to the Brit [who I assumed was some sort of impresario] was that he had to make one stop before he got to the location for the runway show – to pick up a bag/small suitcase [that was lost on me in translation].

I managed to make this clear to the Brit, and once this happened, the French model was so thrilled he asked me if I wanted to come along to see the show.  I, of course, said “bien sûr.”

I hopped in, and we made our way by taxi to the quick stop at the male model’s “apartment,” and then to the location of the runway show.  This place, a few miles outside of Selçuk, looked like a fortress, with security meeting us as we pulled up.  I was quickly escorted into a [very] back row at the show, and within 20 minutes it began.

As a dance mix of Michael Jackson’s “Scream” blasted, the models came out one by one, modeling – in scorching heat – furs and leather.  The clientele was all Russian and they were in the buying mood.  Each model was wearing a number which corresponded to the piece they were wearing.  Later I found out that one small jacket of some rare fur had a price tag of over 55,000 Euros.  As I am anti-fur, and that price tag is just a bit high for me [ha], I marveled at the voracious fur-buying appetite of the Russians.  I’ve been to Siberia, and yes it is cold there.

The runway show lasted only 20 minutes or so, at which time the Russians retired to the sales floor and began their purchases.  The French model motioned to me to come back stage, so I did.  I met all of the models, each of whom greeted me with a warm Turkish/European double kiss, and we then all took a photograph together.  He thanked me in a particularly French way.

After, I took a cab back to my hotel in Selçuk, and added another strange and spontaneous experience to my travel log.  C’était magnifique!


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