Day 1 of 2: Kate's Couture Fashion Show Fundraiser Dinner
A Celebration of Food and Fashion
Feb. 20, 2016 -- Oakview, my home in Scio, Ore., is not unused to transformations. In 1920 Oakview was built as a school, and later used as a church through 2010. In June of 2013, my mother bought Oakview with the wild aspiration of transforming the 90-year-old church into a home. Little did we know at the time that it would be so much more than just that.
Since Oakview's 2013 metamorphosis, the open 25x25x12.5 square-foot room where green shag carpet and theatre chairs used to form a sanctuary, has been used as a dance floor, a concert hall, and gathering for more family reunions, tea parties, and dinners than I can count.
Last Saturday, Oakview was transformed once again, this time into a dining space for 50 with an elevated catwalk running between tables. The faux punched-tin ceiling and mint green walls were illuminated by glittering lights, and the wall of 10ft windows rattled as top-knotted models showcased a sneak-peek of my 2016 line that will travel to Los Angeles Fashion Week next month.
There were seven tables set with fine china, hand-written place cards, linen napkins, and the like. Fresh flowers donated by Morning Glories Floral in Albany, and live music by exceptional pianist Charles Kelly only added to the ambiance of Kate's Couture's first-ever fundraiser event.
Oakview's humble kitchen transformed into a Ritz-Carlton like work space as Culinary Institute of America-trained-chef, Michael Kerrigone, prepared a four-course gourmet meal for over 50 people.
As people dined, three hair and makeup artists, one dresseer, and myself worked to prep ten models, from around the area and as far as Washington, for the fashion show to follow. Twenty-four looks were all steamed and organized by model in my mother's closet on what used to be the school "stage."
After the meal we used projector materials leftover from Oakview's days as a church to show a short introductory news clip from Medford News station (KTVL). After the video I gave a brief presentation, welcomed everyone to the show, and left the stage as the lights went down and the music began.
The high school let me borrow their stage lights used for school dances, and my mom's friend, Sherrie Springer, let us borrow her sound system. The music started out slow, and I could hear people whispering in anticipation. As the bass dropped and the disco lights came on, the first Model, McKenzie Yoder, took to the catwalk.
Each model had two or three outfits to wear, so while the front of the house was clean and structured, backstage was, as always, a madhouse. Ten models, plus the back-stage crew (including my cat, Figaro, somehow), all scrambled as fast as possible in my mom's bedroom on the former stage to get the next model in her dress and out onto the runway.
The crowd cheered as the last model, Italian exchange student, Chiara Domenici, strutted the runway in Kate's Couture's finale look, "Broken," followed by the other nine models.
I walked out last, elated to see ten of my creations all in a row on real people, and I couldn't help but feel incredibly overwhelmed by not only the faces of the dozens of supportive people in the audience, but also everyone else who had made that night a reality. I looked around at the flowers, the hair and makeup, the perfectly starched table cloths and carefully folded napkins, and I was so blown away.
On that night, I was not the girl who ate lunch by herself in the softball dugout at school, or the girl who was thrown against the wall by teammates after missing a basket in a middle school basketball game.
On that night, I was a daughter of the King of Kings, bringing my passions to the surface, sharing a piece of my soul as I shared my art with my community, and I was not only accepted, but firmly supported by everyone I saw.
I can't express what that feels like. All I can do is say thank you, and pray that you have some idea of how much I appreciate this tremendous support. The Kate's Couture Fashion Show Fundraiser Dinner was beyond successful, so much bigger and better than I had anticipated! Thank you SO much to everyone who made it possible.
From Michele Ruby and my mother Rebecca helping me plan every minuscule detail, to my best friend Reyna Villanueva working her tail off running dishes up and down the stairs in six-inch heels; From Laura Fidler doing makeup for 10 models in a few mere hours to Brenda Broadbent helping me with last minute sewing, and everyone else in between.
Thank you so much.
Stay tuned to read about the Sunday, Feb. 21st High Tea and Fashion Show event and to see more pictures!