SINGAPORE - Olympic champion Joseph Schooling took to the catwalk for the first time earlier tonight during a fashion show for the unveiling of the revamped Hugo Boss store at Marina Bay Sands (MBS).
Fronting the finale of the 20-minute fashion show, Schooling looked confident and sophisticated in a sharp fitted suit and tie, as he led 40 models down the catwalk.
Though he had no modelling experience, the sportsman was at ease on the runway, and he waved cheerfully at his audience at the MBS Expo and Convention Centre.
Schooling was not the only famous face to be seen. Also lending their star power to the glitzy event were Hollywood celebrities Chris Hemsworth and Sebastian Stan, last seen as Thor and Bucky Barnes respectively in the blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War. Both actors were spotted earlier on the event's red carpet, alongside Schooling.
Hemsworth, 34, is an ambassador for German luxury fashion house Hugo Boss, while Stan, 35, was recently in a campaign for the brand earlier this year. Ahead of the reopening of the expanded store, which measures 5,500 sq ft, Australian actor Hemsworth attended a fan meeting with more than 300 fans at Sands Theatre Foyer.
Complimentary tickets to the hour-long session were available from the Sands Ticketing Office from 1pm this afternoon. Fifty contest winners, selected from a pool of contenders who bought a Hugo Boss fragrance of at least 75ml at Sephora Singapore stores, also got to meet the Thor actor.
At the fashion show, both Hemsworth and Stan were seen comfortably enjoying the scene from the front row, as 40 models and Schooling presented the label's men's and womenswear fall/winter 2018 collections.
After the show, speaking to The Straits Times about his first catwalk jaunt, Schooling, 22, admitted that he was nervous.
"Probably the second-most nervous behind the Olympics. It was just something different and we put a lot of work into it."
Asked if anyone had given him tips for the runway, the young swimmer said the show's producer advised him not to look too serious and to have fun.
"I'm glad it turned out well and I had a blast and hopefully there'll be more to come in the future."
The swimming champion was named a Hugo Boss ambassador in March after announcing that he would turn professional.
To inaugurate the new partnership, the label has rolled out a limited edition five-piece capsule collection featuring a polo shirt, t-shirt, shorts, bag and towel. Prices range from $199 to $259.
Inspired by the swim star, the collection features sporty blue and yellow stripes, symbolic of water and gold respectively. The colours also match those of Schooling's alma mater Anglo-Chinese School.
Speaking to The Straits Times, Schooling said: "I'm very happy with how the collection turned out. The items are things that I would use myself and things that fit my lifestyle. Literally what I would wear every day."
As the first Singaporean ambassador for Hugo Boss, Schooling still seemed a little awestruck about the partnership.
"It's kind of surreal, really. You see sportsmen like Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer, who have golf wear from the label. To have my own collection is cool. It's pretty crazy."
But the young swimmer, who said posing for fashion photos was not at all awkward, had not been fazedp by the transition from sportsman to model.
"At first glance, the roles might seem different, he said. "But if you think about it, it's pretty similar. The exposure that comes with both. At sporting events, you're also faced with a bunch of cameras taking pictures of you.
"It's an interesting transition but also a very exciting and new journey which I'm really looking forward to."
Correction note: This story was edited for clarity.