Regina model hit the Paris runway for International Indigenous Fashion Week
- EFN Staff | March 11, 2019
Two local Regina women made the long journey to Paris - for one it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, for the other it’s been long overdue.
On March 1, International Indigenous Fashion Week (IIFW) hosted two shows at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
Olivia Saulteaux, a novice model, was selected to accompany the IIFW team that included; Chelsa Racette, IIFW director and founder, 10 Indigenous designers and model Ashley Callingbull-Burnham.
It all started when Racette put out a call for models on Facebook.
At the time Saulteaux’s only experience with modeling was as a “guinea pig” for her sister’s hair shows.
“I enjoy being pampered and having my makeup and hair done,” said Saulteaux.
So, the idea of walking the runway was appealing.
Saulteaux said everything happened very quickly.
In October, Racette invited Saulteaux to participate in a fashion show at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in October and to appear in a photoshoot. The photos were for the Paris show and that’s when Saulteaux knew she was going to Paris.
In February, she walked the runway for only the second time in her life and before she boarded the plane, she hoped twice was good enough to prepare her for the Paris shows.
Saulteaux, 21, is presently a first-year mechanic apprentice and spends most of her days in coveralls - so modeling is a welcome change.
She knew Paris was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity she could not pass up.
Saulteaux was especially grateful to her employer the Auto Gallery Subaru for not only allowing her the time off of work to attend, but for sponsoring her trip.
While in Paris she looked forward to trying the French cuisine, sightseeing and was open to other modeling opportunities if they came up.
The Paris shows were the result of two years of planning by Racette.
In 2016, she was invited to Cannes Fashion Week, while there, she explored the city.
When Racette walked into the Eiffel Tower, she noticed something was being filmed there and as she looked on, she had a vision of hosting an IIFW event at that location.
Once the idea manifested itself, she began figuring out the logistics of it all.
Since founding IIFW she has made several international contacts in the fashion world, which have helped as she organized everything by phone from Regina.
When she launched IIFW in 2007, Racette knew she was diving into uncharted territory and it would take commitment on her part to pull off what she envisioned.
She started her career in the fashion industry first as a model, then as an agent, but recognized a real gap in the fashion world.
Although there were plenty of talented Indigenous designers there was no show dedicated specifically to Indigenous fashion so she decided to rectify it, which she has.
Racette said the Paris show is just the beginning and she has already scouted a new location in for the next IIFW event.
Ultimately, she wants to an IIFW event in all the major fashion capitals in the world.