01 October 2012

IMATS Sydney 2012

I'm happy to say that I got there. :)

I bought the ticket last month just before the prices went up, then virtually forgot about it (along with my blog) while concentrating on work. A couple of weeks ago, I realised that it was getting close and made a big effort to get work done to catch up so that I could afford to take the day off.

On Friday night, I was still quite short on sleep and not at all organised. I packed a few things into my pilot's case, epilated my face, shaved my legs (which I hate doing, and only do when I don't have time to wax or epilate), straightened my hair and did several other preparatory jobs.

I ended up getting to bed at almost 1am and putting my alarm back to 5am because I figured that I had to try to get 4 hours sleep.

Dragging myself out of bed at 5am, I struggled several times with things that I usually have no trouble with. Even when I'd finished my makeup and had breakfast, I was still seriously considering cleaning myself up and going back to bed, but I kept reminding myself that I'd paid for the ticket and I wasn't going to waste it.

Like last year, I drove to Wahroonga and caught a North Shore train into the city rather than catching a train all the way. This time, I was looking for a specific exit from Town Hall railway station that kept me indoors for longer while walking towards Darling Harbour than the path that I used last year, and it turned out to be called Town Hall Square. At the northern end of the station is the connection to the Queen Victoria Building that I used when we farewelled Su back in June. The end of Town Hall Square is about half way along the western side, and using it kept me indoors for almost a whole block further than the route I used last year, and saved me climbing stairs only to walk back down the hill along the street.

I arrived around 10am, and even with a pre-paid ticket there was a queue to check the tickets and enter. As soon as I got into the venue, I made my way to the cafeteria area at the back to change my shoes. I'd worn the same flats as I wore last year, but this time the left shoe had rubbed into the back of my ankle through my pantihose and chafed the skin quite badly. It was ironic, then, that putting on my almost 6" Tony Bianco Popstar stilettos was a relief from the flats because they took the pressure off the sore spot on my ankle! Yes, that's two 9-volt batteries stacked between the shoes to give an idea of scale. :)

Unlike last year, I hadn't arranged to meet up with anybody else, but through the course of the day I chatted with several people I already knew and a few that I knew on line but hadn't met before. I also had some random conversations, including 2 women I don't know who complimented me on my shoes and a woman in the cafeteria at lunch time who asked me about my bag, asking if it was a beauty case (no), where did I buy it (a bag shop), etc.

While sitting alone eating lunch (in contrast to last year when there were a dozen of us eating lunch together), I noticed a couple of women looking for a table so I invited them to join me. They turned out to be some of the American staff of IMATS who were running the show. :)

Unlike last year, I wasn't focussed on looking at the sales stands, so after wandering around and finding it unappealingly crowded around most of the stands, I stopped to look at what one of the speakers, Becca Gilmartin, was doing with body art, and was so impressed that I stayed for the rest of her presentation, then the special effects presentation by Thomas Surprenant that followed. Even when you watch them being done step by step, it's amazing how convincing makeup bruises, grazes etc are when they're finished!

After chatting with a few people I knew including some who I hadn't met in person before, I had just about decided to head home when I sat down at the back of the main stage area to change my shoes for the walk back to the station, had a look at the program and decided to stay for another session, presented by Donna Mee.

The revelation for me was that the speakers are actually more important to me than the shopping opportunity. I had an enjoyable day at IMATS, in spite of buying nothing but my train ticket and lunch. :)

I had a slightly odd moment when, in the middle of the day, I forgot how I was dressed (stilettos and all), and was surprised when the guy at the register in the cafeteria addressed me as M'am. :)

In the whole trip including the trains both way, walking to and from Darling Harbour and the whole time in the venue, I never once even felt that anybody was seeing me as a guy. I guess I'm convincing enough for some people, others aren't taking any notice, and the rest are simply too polite to say anything. Even a girl of about 3 years old on the train didn't even look twice.

I have some notes for myself for next year, that others may also benefit from.

* Take a jacket, cardigan or shawl. Sitting down for an hour at a time to watch presentations can get a bit cool in the big, draughty exhibition hall. My cape is too big for this!

* I'd really like to be there both days and catch as many of the speakers as possible. I could easily ignore the entire sales side of it and just be there for the presentations and to meet up with other people.

* Take the time to read the program of speakers online before hand to decide who you'd like to see, and plan to be there all day both days. To make that possible, make sure that you get enough sleep in the lead up to the event, and preferably take the Friday afternoon off work.

* Catching trains to Sydney and back and staying within walking distance of Darling Harbour on both Friday and Saturday nights would be a really good idea, although I could probably settle for staying somewhere close to a railway station around Hornsby if I could park my car there safely from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.


  1. Hey Alice!

    Sorry I didn't really get a chance to chat with you on Saturday it was such a hectic day, you looked great!

    I hope you had a great time.

    Caitlin xoxo

    1. Hi Caitlin.

      Aside from the sore foot and lack of sleep, I had a great day, and would have happily stayed for Sunday if it had been an option.

      It was great to see you. I would have loved a chance to sit down and chat. We should organise another Newcastle meet-up. :)

      Another note to myself: I should add bandaids to my list of things to keep in my bag! That sounds so guides/scouts... :P

  2. Wow those are some killer heels! I'm terrible at heels, it is difficult to find a pair comfortable enough. But those look like they have a strong platform to take away the pressure on the front ball of the foot. Glad to hear you had a good time at IMATS. I'm over in Perth, so with Twitter I felt like a fly on the wall at IMATS :)

    1. I have many pairs of heels, and my favourites are Tony Biancos in the 5 to 6" range.

      After some discussion at IMATS, on the BH forums and on Facebook, I've decided to do a blog post specifically on high heels ~ what to look for, what to avoid and why. Hopefully I'll get to that in the next few days.

      I'm also looking into whether there are any standards (Australian Standards, ISO, etc) that cover high heels, as I've been thinking about a couple of tests that I do when trying shoes on that I believe should be part of a standard! The shoes I wore on Saturday pass my tests with flying colours, but there are plenty of shoes out there that don't. Bad shoes injure people and damage the reputation of heels in general.

  3. What?! IMATs has come and gone? So soon? Gosh I wish I was there. I am so glad you went and had a great time :) Last IMATs was the best time of my life! Miss everyone so much :(

    1. Yes, IMATS Sydney is over for another year. They will be in London in June, but it's just not the same, is it? http://www.imats.net/london/london_news.php

      We miss you, too. :(