Volume 3 Chapter 13 Kaede Morikawa, The Declaration of Victory
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
After several hours since the start of the fashion show, the first half of the ladies’ show went smoothly. Now, it’s finally time for the men’s show to begin. The first brand to kick-start it all is un la filette, a domestic brand known to anyone in our online community.
It gained popularity when that girl who was next to Aqua-kun in that “adult magazine” wore their clothes, leading to rampant reselling at premium prices. Unable to keep up with production at the original price, the management made a bold decision to change their direction to a high-end brand.
This new men’s line is considered one of the projects in that endeavor.
”What? No way!?”
”That girl been making waves from the start.”
”You mean that girl, the idol… right?”
The audience murmurs, and the press seats around me buzz with excitement upon seeing the models stepping out.
The first one to appear is Tsukimachi Ayana, an idol wearing men’s clothing. It’s not a requirement for models in a men’s fashion show to be male. In fact, male models are scarce, and it’s very challenging to secure a large number of them.
As a result, many of the models for men’s clothing are women dressed as men. So, why were everyone surprised by this?
It’s because Tsukimachi Ayana’s cross-dressing quality was exceptionally high. She effortlessly tied up her long hair without any discomfort, and her walking and posing had a masculine touch.
”With this level of quality, she could even be on the cover.”
”I heard she’s going to be in the next primetime drama too. She’s on fire!”
Tsukimachi Ayana, known for her originally straightforward personality and occasional adorable idol-like side, was already popular among women. With this, her popularity might skyrocket even further. Following her, other beautiful women in impeccable male attire grace the runway for un la filette. As a brand that originally made feminine clothes for women, un la filette fully expressed its brand concept by intentionally using female models to represent their world. Perhaps it was also a statement against using mediocre male models from within the country.
”un la filette wanted to use that girl from the famous magazine for the ladies’ show. But there was news that she declined, so they had to make a big impact with the men’s show no matter what.”
The producer on-site next to me observes the show, crossing his arms.
”Since she’s the headliner, she must have put in a lot of effort. But for the other domestic brands coming up next, it’s not looking good. Our country’s models are not that conscious about their work, unlike the foreign ones.”
As the producer predicted, the following shows by domestic brands were lackluster. Still, the female audience responded reasonably, and the show transitioned to the runway of Stars nation’s brand, maintaining the high voltage.
Indeed, the collection by company from Stars, which has produced renowned luxury brands worldwide, was breathtaking. The styling of the female models in men’s clothing was remarkable, and their sophisticated walking captivated the eyes.
Although a few of our country’s female models also participated, the difference in quality between them and those selected by domestic brands was evident even to an amateur like me.
And more than that, the appearance of the male models from overseas at the beginning and end of the show created a buzz in the venue. While their quality may not match that of the female models, they displayed a much higher level of professionalism compared to the domestic male models.
”Stars’ collection is truly impressive. It may not reach the same level as the ones held in their home country, but it definitely moved many women here and those watching on their screens. And… maybe this broadcast will inspire some men to pursue careers in this field.”
The producer clenched the rolled-up script tightly, exerting force in his hand. There are still many disparities between our country and the world-renowned powerhouse, Stars.
For instance, when it comes to men’s social advancement, Stars surpasses our country by far. Stars leaves no room for compromise when it comes to building a social infrastructure that makes it easier for men to work and boosting the motivation of working men.
On the other hand, in our conservative-leaning country, the premise is that men should be protected first. Of course, there are men who choose to work like the male models who participated today, and there are certainly men who approach their work with sincerity. However… right now, in this moment, on this runway of the show, we were starkly reminded of the difference between our country and the grand nation of Stars.
It’s not just the producer who felt frustrated. Surely, several people in the audience and those watching the show on their screens also share the same emotion. Because even I, watching the show, felt that frustration.
”We also have to work harder and harder.”
At the end of the show, the producer muttered, savoring the bitterness. As the last model scheduled to appear left the runway, all the programs formally listed came to an end. However, as the show concluded, the lights illuminating the runway went out.
”What? A power outage?”
”Is this part of the performance? Some kind of surprise?”
The venue buzzed with confusion. Simultaneously, the letters “COROLLES HOMME” emerged on the massive display at the back. A loud cheer erupted from the entire venue, signifying the unveiling of the men’s line of Corolles, one of the top brands popular among young people within the Stars brand.
This was a surprise show. Corolles had participated in the ladies’ show, but the press had not been informed about the introduction of their men’s line. Only a select few of the staff from our national broadcasting station, responsible for broadcasting this show, were aware of it.
Someone in the audience exclaimed. When a male model wearing a wide-brimmed hat appeared from the far end of the runway, everyone stared at him with widened eyes. Even to an amateur eye, he had a quality that distinguished him from the other male models from the very beginning.
His walking was as impressive as any of the female models before him. The clothes only hinted at the well-toned muscles on his masculine physique, the slender limbs that must have measured at least 180 cm in height. But above all, despite just walking the runway with his face concealed, he exuded an enchanting charm that captivated those around him.
His simple monochrome attire had an air of solitude and dignity, almost like that of a solitary pioneer. It felt as if all the previous shows had merely been opening acts, as both the audience and the press were absorbed into the world created by the designer John Slimane and this model.
Before I knew it, I let out a small gasp. Perhaps only a few people noticed at this stage. Even I had been informed that a male would walk the runway for Corolles’ men’s line, but I had assumed it would be someone from Stars. Still, she may have been the only one who knew about it.
So, for a brief moment, I looked toward the front row of the auditorium, and my friend noticed him, too, with her mouth half open and a dumb look on her face. Perhaps she did not know it either
My friend, Kanon’s reaction was so evident and understandable. Fortunately, all the cameras and attention were focused solely on him. So, I silently urged Kanon in my mind to get rid of that uncharacteristic idiotic expression, befitting a princess, while she had the chance.
”Hey, isn’t that…”
From the front rows of the audience, one after another, murmurs spread like a big wave as they caught glimpses of the model’s profile despite his face being obscured by the wide brim of his hat. And at the peak of that massive wave, it happened when he struck a pose at the end of the runway. As the cameras captured his face peeking out from under the hat, a deafening cheer, almost like a scream, erupted from outside the barricades.
Perhaps the women standing outside the barricades were watching the live stream on their phones. On this day, the venue trembled with the loudest cheer.
I realized that tears were streaming down my cheeks. Not just me, but the producer beside me and all the women in the audience who felt frustrated throughout the show shed tears of emotion.
In this country, Shirogane Aqua existed. Perhaps he struck a decisive blow in the very end.
Although he wore clothes from the Stars brand, his magnificent presence was in no way overshadowed by the beauty of the garments.
I savored the tears of joy that overflowed. It was a fitting runway for the climax of the show, commemorating the friendship between our country and Stars. The thunderous applause accompanied the cheers. Designer John Slimane and Aqua-kun appeared together one last time, bowed to the audience, and finally retreated backstage, marking the end of the show.
I heard a voice in my earphones and quickly wiped away my tears, mustering my voice.
”Yes! This is Morikawa reporting from the venue!”
Although I was a professional announcer, my voice quivered slightly. But there was no time for self-reflection. I had to focus on my job.
”Morikawa-san, in the end… something amazing happened, right?”
”Yes. At the end, the entire venue came together, and I found myself trembling with emotion as well.”
”Kaede-chan, how was it? Now that you’ve seen Shirogane Aqua-san in person, what are your thoughts?”
”Oh, it was amazing. I’ve seen him in drama footage, but seeing him live is different. His aura and radiance…”
”Ah, I’m so jealous! Morikawa-san, thank you so much for today.”
”No, thank you. This concludes the coverage from the venue. This is Morikawa Kaede reporting.”
I waved in front of the camera. My role as today’s reporter was over, but my work as a journalist was not finished yet.
”Let’s go for the interviews!”
With the producer’s words, we hurriedly moved. One of my responsibilities is to conduct interviews with the models and designers who participated today.
As we entered the area accessible only to the press, we approached the people leaving the show, pointing our microphones at them. However, some of them don’t cooperate.
Tsukimachi-san, the idol who headlined today’s show, may seem aloof at first glance, but she responds when you approach her with a microphone. Moreover, in true idol fashion, she even shows some charm.
However, many of the female models are indifferent to such matters. Yet, even more so, the male models are not so open to it. However, today, a few of the male models from overseas responded with a few words to the interviews we threw their way.
Someone exclaimed. It was Aqua-kun, appearing from the back of the aisle. Many people clicked their shutters, and most of the cameras and microphones from the gathered press were directed toward him.
”Excuse me, can we have a word?”
Numerous journalists called out to him.
”Thank you very much, and thank you for your hard work.”
Surrounded by security personnel, Aqua-kun turned his attention to each person holding a microphone or camera and expressed his gratitude. He smiled, waved, and showed a charm that other male models lacked, which brought smiles to the faces of the reporters.
However, he couldn’t stop, so he smiled apologetically and slowly made his way toward the exit. Seizing the opportunity, I approached Aqua-kun and threw a question his way.
”This is Morikawa from the National Broadcasting. Shirogane Aqua-san, could you please say something to the people on the other side of the camera?”
Surprisingly, Aqua-kun stopped in his tracks when he saw my face. Realizing it was my chance, I directed the microphone I held towards Aqua-kun. He politely excused himself to the security personnel and agreed to my interview.
”Firstly… I want to express my gratitude to Corolle and designer John Slimane for allowing me to participate in today’s show. I also want to thank all the staff members who worked tirelessly for this runway and the agency’s president, staff, and my family for their support.”
Since the café, I hadn’t seen Aqua-kun, but he was still the same Aqua-kun I knew. I couldn’t help but wonder if he had changed in various ways due to his work. Yet, he first expressed gratitude to those who deserved it through the camera. It was so natural.
”And to everyone who came to see the show today. I heard that some people couldn’t enter the venue, but thank you for staying and watching the long performance until the end. Since it’s already dark outside, please take care on your way home. To all the press members, thank you for your hard work until the very end.”
He not only considered those who couldn’t enter the venue but also expressed appreciation to us, the press. This moved the surrounding media professionals, causing their words to falter. I gathered my strength and conveyed my gratitude to Aqua-kun.
”No, thank you for the wonderful show. I’m sure all of us in the press and everyone who watched the show were deeply moved. And thank you for taking the time to do this interview on such short notice.”
”Me too, thank you very much.”
Aqua-kun blushed and extended his hand towards me. I hesitated for a moment but then shook his offered hand.
I felt my heart skip a beat as I held Aqua-kun’s slightly rough and masculine palm, even though we were in the middle of an interview. To my frozen state, Aqua-kun spoke in a soft voice.
”You’re Morikawa-san, the one who came to the café, right?”
Aqua-kun’s words left me speechless and flustered. It was true that I had visited the café a few times as part of the verification team for that bulletin board. However, due to my profession, I wore glasses and changed my hairstyle and makeup to be cautious. Yet, Aqua-kun noticed me, someone he had met only a few times.
”I didn’t expect to meet you here. I was surprised when you called out to me earlier. I haven’t been able to visit the café much since then. But, if you’d like, please say hello again sometime. Well then…”
Aqua-kun bowed to me once again, waved at the other reporters’ cameras, and smiled. Despite still being in the middle of work, I stood there with the microphone in my hand, frozen. I was delighted to know that I had been recognized by my favorite, but more than that, my heart trembled at the fact that Aqua-kun hadn’t changed at all. Borrowing the words that came to mind from my friend, I screamed in the depths of my satisfied heart.
Chinposukichan, ultimate victory!
For those who don’t understand:
Morikawa Kaede the announcer -> Chinposuki on the bulletin board.
The acquaintance of the princess -> Kanon = Shumi on the bulletin board.
The sisters from the previous story -> The younger sister and the older sister who wants to be a server on the bulletin board.
The trio from the previous story -> Classmates, Kurogami Uruha, Washimiya Lisa, Kurumi Kokona.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.