Some Thoughts About Poses For Runway Shows - Part 1

I still wonder when the so called "rules" for posing on a runway has become distorted and how this distortion started.  I have been modeling in Second Life for three years now and the rule used to be very clear and simple - to be as realistic as possible and to show the outfits at its best.

Simple, right?

The other "branches" of this very simple rule used to be the various rules that are being taught in SL model academies but for some reason, these branch rules started to take a life all on its own and original rule seem to have become forgotten.

So let's look at the "current rules" and I will start by listing some of those I hear a lot.
  • No hand-in-skirt poses (poses where you stick your hand inside a skirt).
  • No tip toe poses (poses where you stand on one foot like a flamingo).
  • No arm pit poses (poses where you lift your arm up high revealing your arm pit to the audience).
  • No animated poses (meaning commercially available animated poses).

And recently, I also hear this "rule" a lot.
  • No back poses (poses where you turn around to show your behind).

Let me first start by saying that I have no intention of disagreeing with any of these so called "rules".  However, I think these rules started to get chanted without truly understanding the reason why because if you really understand the reasons, then none of these should be strict no-no rules but they should rather be pointed out as a list of pose types where extra attention should be paid during selection.  In other words, none of these should be strictly considered a NO.

Now let's look at these one by one.

1.  No hand-in-skirt poses.
This is probably one that concerns me the most.  I do agree that if a hand looks like it is poking a hole in a skirt or a prim, that pose should be avoided.  However, in some of the recent shows I have walked in where selected poses were checked by the agency prior to the actual show, I have noticed that any pose where the hand even slightly touches the skirt were all dismissed as not approved.  I always respect the policy or the rules of agencies I model for, so I had never raised any disagreements during rehearsals.  However, this had always disturbed me a lot.

If any of you have worn a big gown or a poofy skirt in real life, try to remember where your hand went when you dropped your arm.  Right inside your skirt!  More accurately, your hand dropped inside the folds of the skirt but in any case, it was "inside".  In real life, you don't always keep your hands floating above your skirt so that it will never ever touch the skirt.

So to me, as long as a pose looks like my hands or one of the hand is inside a fold of a skirt it looks a lot more natural than constantly keeping both hands afloat by using poses that safely keep my hands above the skirt at all times.  Some of these poses are good to be used as part of a mix of poses but when a model constantly looks like she is about to take off and fly, to me, that looks a lot more unnatural than to have her hand touching her skirt in some of the poses provided they look natural and realistic.

2.   No tip toe poses.
Again the root of the reason for banning these poses was because it looks unrealistic and unnatural to be standing  on one foot for an extended length of time.  This, I totally agree.  However, again, this needs to be explained because if a tip toe pose is used as a transitional pose in-between other poses, why can't they be used?

Of course, most likely, these poses will be used with more casual outfits or fun outfits but if you use still poses one after another so they looked linked, you can use tip toe poses as it will only be a transitional movement in a longer sequence.

Oh and on that note, let me add one more thought.  There is one more thing I don't quite like which is being told to use X number of poses per every stop of Y seconds.  Surely this will be a good guideline.  But for example, what if I want to make the entry a dramatic one?  Then it might be more effective to use just one pose and stay in that one pose longer than using two poses.  Or, I might opt to use 4 still poses one after another to make it look like an animated pose, in which case I will need to use at least 3 or 4.

To me, this is related to the second part of the big rule which I stated at the very top of this blog post....to show the outfit at its best.  Sometimes a little movement will show how the outfit moves and might be better.  In such cases, I might want to use more poses to make a pose look animated (I will talk more about animated poses in Part 2).  So why dictate that a model MUST use X number of poses when it takes away so much from good pose planning?  One note of caution, however, when creating your own animated pose.  It becomes hard to see the outfit for the audience or to photograph if a model is constantly moving.  So if you choose to animate your poses this way, make sure you keep ample time in your last pose to stay still for the audience to see the outfit better or for the photographer to take a good snapshot.


For this blog post, let me stop here as it will start to get too long.  I will continue in Part 2 which I will post later, however, what I wanted to emphasize here was that we should not teach new models to never use certain poses as a strict rule but rather explain why some poses need special attention when they are selected.  Otherwise with the selection of poses in SL, all models will only be using very safe poses and very similar poses which takes away so much from the creativity of the models in showing the outfits she is representing.

Hopefully, by stating the "reasons" behind some of these rules here, we will all become "thinking models" who can think, judge for themselves and be more creative and better at achieving the very basic rules.