Love Me Do - behind the scenes

Photo: Arto Jaatinen
A week ago the wedding fair " Love Me Do" took place in Helsinki. I participated in it as a model already for the third time. This is very fascinating and extraordinary experience in my life. In one day I experienced so many different emotions: joy, sadness, disappointment, astonishment. This is something incredible! I never thought I would become a model at the age of 30. :) I waited so much for this event to become once again Cinderella at the ball. And now I would like to share with you what exactly happened behind the scenes there that day.
This time I nearly missed the event due to my childrens' enterovirus. But fortunately, my daughter's godfather came to visit us, so I could go to Love Me Do, for I have waited so much for it since last January. Besides, I missed our team-day in Lahti with our Love Me Do-family two weeks before the fair due to my childrens' enterovirus. It would be very sad if I missed also Love Me Do. Fortunately, that did not happen.

On Friday I had to go to the cultural centre "Kaapelitehdas" after work to try all the bridal gowns. It was so nice to meet all the models again. Many of them already met at the team-day, but there were also ones who couldn't go there for some reason. We all hugged, asked about news from each other and were happy about the fabulous day to come.

After all the hugs and kisses began the try-on. This time, every model got herself a dresser, thus the matter went faster than usually. Luckily, there was also one Russian dresser. It was nice to talk with her using our native language. :) 

There were about to be international and domestic fashion-shows. The dresses that suit me best were from such designers as Victoria&Vincent and Herve Paris. If gowns from Victoria&Vincent were already familiar to me, then Herve Paris were new. I liked them a lot. They were very soft, light and elegant. From domestic fashion-show the dresses of designer Irina Rogusina fit me best. They were also very nice and exquisite.

When all the gowns were tried on, I had to practice choreography for the fashion-show. All other models did it already on our team-day in Lahti. The choreographer was invited there. The girls showed me how we had to walk on a catwalk. That is something new for us all, as before we had to walk one by one. Now it was decided that there would be three models at the same time on a catwalk: two by the sides and one in the middle.

The ones who would walk by the sides had to pose at the end of the catwalk, then had to change places, pose once more, turn around and walk back. The one who would walk in the middle had to start walking when the first two would be on the halfway to the edge and get there by the time they changed places. Then one would pose for the camera, turn around, walk back, on the halfway turn back for a moment and only then return to the backstage. Pretty confusing, isn't it? The ones who walked by the sides had also to remember when which leg came first.

The dress by Irina Rogusina. Photo: Elena Guseva

After I have learnt and practiced the choreography, I could go home to prepare myself for the day to come and go to sleep earlier. I had to wake up really early the next morning, for I had to be back at Kaapelitehdas by 7 a.m. Fortunately, this time I freed one hour earlier than usually, therefore, I went to sleep in time.

In the morning, the models divided into three groups: makeup, hairdress and try-on for the domestic fashion-show. I went for the makeup first. I was quite surprised to see that there were only three makeup artists when usually it's about 5-6. I got myself natural look. Not my favourite, to be honest, but it was quite nice. :) We also got magnetic lashes from our sponsor. They looked stunning! :)

This time, the theme of the fashion-show was "Metallic mon amour", that people could notice in some dresses. We also had jewelry. But in my opinion, the topic could have been better shown also in makeup by using golden, silver and bronze colours, and in hair using some nice pins. Also these colours could have been used in flowers.

Makeup artists working
Hairdressers working

When my makeup was finished, I went to the hairdresser. There were three hair stylists as usual. I wanted to get to the one who hasn't yet made my hair before, but another hairdresser freed, so I went to him. It was Antti Ville Taskula, the one who made my hair on my first time at the fair. We were kidding, laughing and talking about how nervous and scared I was the first time.

This time I didn't get curles, it was decided that I would get two braids. I was quite pleased with that decision, I must admit. I like the curles, but I would like to see myself in different looks as well. :) By the way, I have made myself a braid for 6 years, but I have never had two braids. I liked my hair a lot! It reminded me of dragon horns. :)

I already wrote on my old blog about my first time at the wedding fair . I mentioned there that I was born in the year of a Dragon and according to Chinese horoscope 

"The Dragon is born to shine. On Saturday I was shining. All my dragon essence came out of me. I enjoyed every single moment. I remember how I used to be a little shy grey mouse who was afraid of crowds, strange people, noisy companies and attention to myself. That little grey mouse is gone long ago. There is a confident young woman who loves and wants to shine."

It is funny, that the last time I had scales (special glitters that you can glue to your skin), this time I got horns. Who knows, perhaps the next time I will get wings or a tail. :D

Me with hairdresser Antti Ville Taskula, who is also a Dragon, by the way ;)

While I was sitting and waiting for my hair to be done, I received a message to our group chat via WhatsApp , that I had to be upstairs. As soon as I freed, I went there. I was quite surprised when I stepped inside. There was standing Amer Hasan, a known fashion designer in Finland. I've been following him on Facebook for the last nine months. I can only imagine how round my eyes must have been when I saw him. :) It turned out, he brought the gowns that were used in the beauty contest Miss Finland this year. I was suggested to try on one turquoise dress with a long cut. Oh my! It was beautiful! 

The designer himself was helping me to put on the gown! God, I was so excited that moment! The dress fit me, it was decided that I would wear it on a fashion-show. I was filled with incredible emotions! It was like a dream. :) I was so pleased and thought that I had to make a picture with Amer Hasan after the fashion-show. 

There was not so much time left before the first fashion-show and we still had to make a "general" rehearsal. We practiced several times to walk on a catwalk and then went to change into gowns. For we never had any special choreography before, everyone was quite excited about how it would work. We all were quite conserned about changing places having long hemlines behind the back. It had to be done nice without stepping on a skirt and without falling.

Me and my friend Tiina at the backstage

I had two gowns in the international fashion-show: one from Victoria&Vincent and one from Herve Paris. Both were very elegant and beautiful! In the domestic fashion-show I had only one dress from Amer Hasan. The dresses of Irina Rogusina were given to the other models, at least, I thought so, for I saw labels with other models' names on them. And then, 10 minutes before the fashion-show, I saw how Amer Hasan took away three dresses, among them one that I had to wear. He told, it was decided not to show them because everyone has already seen them at the beauty contest and for the fashion-show was needed something new that nobody has seen before. My heart fell. I was upset. I am not going to be in the domestic fashion-show. :(

But I had to calm down and make myself smile, for the fashion-show was about to start! And I could do it. I didn't let the sadness come into my mind, I focused on here and now. The fashion-show started suddenly and went quite fast. At least, this is how it seemed to us. I was very surprised being very calm and not being afraid at all! The music was playing, everyone was smiling, our anti-stress Lauri - slide supervisor - was making dance moves behind the curtains. :) First time I had to walk in the middle. I took one huge and very beautiful bouquet in the shape of the heart. I have to say, that this time there were much less flowers than usually.

Then was my turn to go. I walk smiling. For the first time I can feel free and smile! I feel incredible lightness and happiness inside! There are people all around me, cameras everywhere, everybody is watching me, taking pictures, but I am not afraid. Not at all! This is my finest hour, the time to shine. And I think, I was shining. Not from the outside, but also from inside. I felt so good and all I wanted was that moment last longer.

When I got to the backstage, I didn't remember right a way that I had to change. :) Fortunately, I returned to reality quite fast. The dresser helped me to get inside the next gown. With the first dress I used the shoes from our sponsor. These were beautiful red high heels from Marco Tozzi. I fell in love with them! I even decided to buy them. :) However, with the next dress I put on my own shoes for they were a bit higher and it seemed to me that the gown was longer. As I have tried the dresses with my shoes the day before, I decided not to risk.

The next time I walked on the left side. I am smiling again, then I try to "play" with light skirt and suddenly stumble. A thought comes into my mind: "This is a wrong dress!" I smile to the public, bowing a bit my head just as if I was feeling sorry about it and saying: "Well, things happen..." I continue to walk, holding the skirt. At the edge of the catwalk me and Iiris (another model) pose, change places, pose again, smile, turn around and walk back. A couple of more minutes and the fashion-show has reached the end. We all walk through the catwalk one more time. This is it. The first fashion-show is ended.

After it was ended, I informed the producer of the fashion-show that I had accidentally been given the wrong dress. It turned out, that one other model had the same issue. Well, there are so many gowns, no wonder that sometimes mistakes take place. We changed the dresses. Actually, her's gown was given to another model and my dress was given to her.

I suggested to exchange with her other dress that fit me, but she didn't want to. Oh well, not a big deal. :) I still had my Victoria&Vincent dress which was absolutely gorgeous as all its wedding gowns. :) Of course, I felt a bit sad that I no longer had the gown from Herve Paris. I loved it! I may say, it is one of my favourite dresses that I had. The upper part was very beautiful and it fit me really well. Pity, it was a bit long for me.

We had a bit of spare time before the next fashion-show. We went to eat. This time, instead of vegetarian soup, we had a salade with tofu. I am not a big fan of tofu, but the salade was rather good. :) However, after recent events with dismissed dresses, I was not in the mood to eat. I ate a bit and then decided to watch how the dresses for the domestic fashion-show were divided. Just in time, by the way. :)

Suddenly, I heard my name. I was given a dress to try on. It fit me well. I was so pleased to hear it was also Amer Hasan's design! :) There was not so much time left, so I stayed in a gown. I had to memorize my number and get into the queue. Then I was told one more number. What? I've got another dress? Which one? Irina Rogusina's! Yeah! I will have two marvelous gowns from such perfect designers! After these wonderful news I no longer minded that I had only one dress in the international fashion-show. :) 

Finally, the domestic fashion-show started. It's a pity, it was only one this time! I think, my walk in Amer Hasan's dress was the best moment on the catwalk. The skirt was light and silken, it reminded me of Irina Rogusina's dress that I wore the last time at the fair in January. I felt myself like a flying swan in it. :)

When I reached the backstage, I had to change the gown very fast. The next dress was with lacing at the back, so it took some time, but with Elena's help we made in time. :) In Irina's dress I felt myself like a princess. :) It was so beautiful and magnifisent. :) I felt myself as if I got into a fairy-tale. I love Irina's gowns, these are gorgeous! No wonder she became the Wedding Dress Designer of a year last year. :)

Design of Irina Rogusina. Photo: Nikolai Klinduhhov

After the domestic fashion-show we had rather big break. Meanwhile, there were represented jewls by our models, also took place the Wedding Dress Designer 2018 competition show and while the jury was making its decision, there was some dance show on the catwalk. Finally, I had time to eat in peace, walk around the fair a bit and watch the competition fashion-show. My favourite designer was Heidi Tuisku. I was so happy when she won. :)

After the competition came our last fashion-show. It was the international fashion-show where I had only one dress, so I didn't have to rush anywhere. I decided to change into Amer Hasan's gown for the common photo. Elena came to my aid one more time. :)

Everyone was feeling happy and congratulated each other with successful fair. We hugged and thanked our producer - Heidi Sjöberg for a wonderful fashion day. She has done a huge work for this day to be so magnificent and fantastic. There were photographs all around us. We were smiling, posing and we felt like some kind of movie stars. :) Our eyes were shining. We got so many positive emotions that we were all full of euphoria. These were great feelings!

The fairy-tale has reached the end. The carriage had to turn into a pumpkin and a beautiful dress - into rugs...Kidding, of course! Just into casual outfit. :) It was a pity that I couldn't make a picture with Amer Hasan. But not all our wish come true, right? It was time to free up the space at the catwalk for one last and very important fashion-show. I went to the backstage and then, came Amer Hasan! He came to make a picture. We hugged, I thanked him for such a beautiful dress, after what he took my hand and led me to the catwalk where the photograph took some pictures of us. :) I was happy as a child! :)

I have to say, that I have heard lot of positive things about him. I heard how he loves his work and how hardworking he is. I saw it myself. While we were walking there and forth, he was also at the backstage sewing the gowns. He made it carefully and intently. You can see when a person loves his work. It was a great honour for me to represent his dress at a fashion-show.

Then I had such a feeling that I fulfilled all that I wanted. Then I could relax, change into my clothes and take a seat in the hall to enjoy the last fashion-show that everybody has been waiting for - Victoria&Vincent fashion show in cooperation with a Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Kehitysvammaliitto).This is the moment everyone has been waiting for so long. The representative of Victoria&Vincent, Kristian Vaalamäki, and also the president of the Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities performed before the beginning of the fashion-show. They told so many positive things about the models, praised them for none of them never was late for the rehearsal!

This kind of fashion-show's purpose was to show people that fashion industry is that area where it is possible to offer jobs for the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Unfortunately, only some 4-6% of people with such disabilities are employed and receive the salary. I am sure, you will agree with me, that it is too few! I am happy that society in Finland thinks so much about people with disabilities and try to make their conditions in the labor market better.

If you only saw how excited were the models at the backstage and how their relatives and close friends supported them! What they did on the catwalk - it was something! They owned the stage! I have never seen anything like this before. Almost all the people in the hall stood up, clapped their hands and whistled! Me with another model Henna were so happy for them that we started crying! The tears wouldn't stop. It was so touching! You cannot imagine! They were amazing! They walked bravely, dancing, spinning, posing. They were absolutely wonderful! This was their finest hour. They were shining like the stars in the sky. After the fashion-show we went to the backstage to congratulate and hug them. They were all so positive and sunny!

This is how ended the Wedding Fair Love Me Do. We were leaving the cultural centre in such a good mood! We shared our impressions with each other, we were so happy for the girls who walked on the catwalk for the first time in their lives in the wedding gowns! We decided to go to the after-party. Unfortunately, not all of us could come, for lots of us were from other towns and they had to catch their busses.

The after-party begins! From left to right: Christian Hemming, Pirjo Lehvonen, Iina Pasanen, Iiris Kankkunen, Tiina Nenonen ja Riina Saltiola

Seven of us went to the Lebanese restaurant Mezame, where was a bouffet only for 10€ per person even on Saturday evening. That was a real feast! :) It was so nice to talk to each other without hurrying anywhere and feel relaxed. After the restaurant, the two of us left us, for they had to catch the bus to get to their hometown. Others were not in a hurry to leave. As it turned out, some of our team should come at 10 p.m. and all would go to the nightclub.

I was not planning to go to the club. :) I agreed to go and have a glass of wine in the bar. It was very nice time to spend. We shared our first impressions about one another. :) Everybody thought that I was shy and calm. :) Actually, I am not surprised. At first, I didn't feel myself comfortable among other models and my Finnish was much worse than it is now. :)

Three of our company, myself include, didn't want to go to the nightclub, but what do you think? We all ended up there. I have to admit, it was the first Finnish nightclub I have visited for 5 years that I have been living here. It was club called Maxine at the centre of Helsinki, near the shopping centre Kamppi. By the way, I learned one new word in Finnish - yökerho, which actually means "nightclub". I found it funny, because I always thought that word "kerho" leads to the childrens' activity. :) We downloaded an app " Night Lite" to our phones and got inside for free before 11 p.m. There we reunited with other models and dressers.

Only there, on a dance floor I realized that I haven't danced for so long and how I missed it! We danced like wild! :) Funny thing is that the ones who danced most were me and another model who were not planning to go to the club. :) This was a good ending of such a wonderful and emotional day. I left the club at 1 a.m., others stayed there. I know that some of our other team-members joyned them there and that they stayed there till 4 a.m. :) It was the first time when I was spending time like this with Finnish people. It was an interesting experience. :)

My story has finally reached the end. I really hope you have read it till the end and that I was able to charge you with all these positive emotions I had that day. Even now, one week later, I still feel such an excitement and energy that is hard to describe in words. Now I will be waiting for the next fair which is going to be on 19th-20th of January 2019. :)

If you liked my post and you are interested in what else happens in Finland, you may subscribe for my newsletter. In that case you will find out more about events and places in Finland. I promise you not to write more often than once a week or even two. You can subscribe below:

Thank you for your attention and see you soon! :)

P.S.Traditionally, we received a goodie-pack from our sponsors as a gratitute for our participation. :)

Gifts from sponsors
15 comments
  1. Илона, восторг! Какой потрясающий опыт, стать настоящей королевой бала! Восхитительно! Тебе так щллвро удалось передать эмоции и красоту мероприятия! Браво! Чудсный пост!

    1. Большое спасибо, Настя! Я, действительно, старалась передать все эмоции. Очень хотелось, чтобы читатели прониклись и почувствовали будто сами там побывали.
      А мероприятие это — просто фантастика! Какое это счастье, что я попала на него! 🙂

  2. Какие красивые фотографии, а платья просто бомба! А модели… я вообще словами не могу передать, какие же вы классные и яркие 🙂 П.С. Привет от еще одного Дакона 😉

    1. Большое спасибо! Наша команда хорошо постаралась, чтобы сделать из нас принцесс. 🙂

  3. Как сама побывала на показе и за кулисами! Шикарные фото, платья, модели и опыт для тебя! Молодец, отлично справилась 👍

    1. Спасибо, дорогая! :* Это был потрясающий опыт, потрясающий день, до сих пор эти эмоции греют меня и всё ещё живы во мне. 🙂

  4. Такие впечатления незабываемые, наверное! Я как будто сама там побывала!

    1. Впечатления, в самом деле, незабываемые! Даже сейчас, спустя две недели, всё ещё так живо в памяти. 🙂
      Я рада, что мне удалось передать читателям все свои мысли и эмоции. 🙂

  5. Потрясающий опыт! Написано эмоционально и очень позитивно! Фотографии и модели — роскошные!

    1. Да, опыт, действительно, невероятный. Это такой вызов самой себе и своим страхам, комплексам.
      Некоторые вещи относительно себя поняла и осознала. 🙂
      Я очень старалась передать эмоции читателям. Рада, что это получилось. 🙂
      Большое спасибо за отзыв!

  6. <3 Lovely blog post Ilona!

    1. Thank you, dear! And thank you so much for the opportunity! :*
      Love you! <3

      1. Love Ya! <3 <3 <3

  7. Илона, интересно, работа модели оплачивается, или это только хобби, эмоции и подарки от спонсоров? Выглядите великолепно!

    1. Большое спасибо за комплимент! 🙂
      На данном мероприятии работа модели не оплачивается, она полностью на добровольной основе.
      Всё, что мы получаем — это опыт, эмоции и впечатления, возможность «засветиться», побыть в центре внимания, ну и, конечно же, подарки от спонсоров.
      Среди наших моделей есть девочки, которые работают профессиональными моделями, но на выставке это не оплачивается.

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