Fashion At Street Level

 In Blog

I am fascinated by fashion. But in a kind of academic, slightly removed sense. If you take a snapshot of my closet at any given time you’d see it’s full of thrifted and vintage dresses, half a dozen blouses from disposable fashion outlets like Forever21 and band tee shirts worn thin from decades of use. I have what can only be classified as a contentious relationship with fashion.

That said, I love it. I love it on a “secret stash of fashion magazines, follow dozens of personal style blogs and have an alert set up to notify me when that Dooney & Burke purse I covet finally goes on sale” level. It’s serious.

So when I had the opportunity to help out with the annual Halloween Couture fashion show it took some serious self-restraint to play it cool and stay professional. (Pro tip: flailing and screaming like a teenage girl at a One Direction concert in front of your boss, even one as cool as mine, is not professional. I asked around.)

Halloween Couture is a runway showcase featuring costumes from the student designers of the Sanford Brown College Fashion Design program. The last several years the show has been held in the beautiful Fashion Show Mall but this year we did something a little different: we took it to the streets. Sanford Brown partnered with the popular Wednesdays Downtown street festival (now closed for the winter but hopefully returning in the New Year) and Relish Events. Wednesdays Downtown erected a runway right in the middle of Fremont East, nestled nicely between Oscar’s Martini and 6th Ave.

Gorgeous models from BEST Agency worked the beautiful garments from student designers and industry professionals from Cirque du Soleil and Stitch Factory. The models were expertly styled by a Tease Salon hair and make-up team and space for staging, dressing and relaxing was generously donated by the very hip Coterie boutique. The whole thing was captured by Mona Shield Payne Photography. (Check out the slide show of Mona’s photos for some of my favorite looks!)

No event or show goes off without some bumps, but Halloween Couture was amazingly smooth with the direction of Olwen Zarlengo the show’s producer. The petite powerhouse runs a tight ship and I was honored to be in her service so I could watch her work.

The show began with a flash mob dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller and segued immediately into two costumes that are best described as battle ready Amazon’s in KISS costumes. After that the costumes ranged from delicately spooky – think funeral garb for Victorian ghouls – to outrageous and sexy.

The highlight of the show for me was the Cirque performer who walked the runway en pointe in a heavy welded metal skirt and turned a pirouette at the end of the runway. For those of us who have a hard time keeping their balance with both feet flat on the ground, it was like watching magic in motion.

I was so impressed with the level of talent from the student and community designers that it made me rethink the store bought costume I had picked out for myself. Next year I might need to figure out something more couture. What a thrill to spend a Wednesday night surrounded by such amazing talent!

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