A fundraising fashion show to provide opportunities for emerging designers, models, hair and makeup artists, photographers, and runway production staff. Five designers, celebrity guests, and red carpet hosted by Fashion News Live
Late May is the season for senior nights. As the school year has been winding down, social media feeds are packed full of picture after picture of teary-eyed seniors saying goodbye to what has been a large part of their lives for the past four years. From track, to softball, to FFA, or in my case fashion, it is a season for goodbyes.
On Saturday, May 21, at the first annual Paint the Runway Purple fashion event, I experienced my own senior night, and my mother wept as Kate’s Couture took to the runway for the last time before I go to college.
As is the case with most of my adventures, the event had been in the works for nearly six months, but I’d been so busy with school that I hadn’t really had a chance to think much about it.
It wasn’t until I lowered the Jeep's lid on a trunk-full of pink garment bags that I realized the weight and finality of this, my last show.
But by the time we were unloading at Alberta Abbey, the 1920’s church-turned-event center venue, we were flung into full production mode and there was no time for reminiscing.
Ronda, seamstress fairy-godmother extrordinare, and her friend Sue Ellen showed up just in time to start steaming garments as my six models were swarmed by a flock of hair and makeup artists from Phagan’s Beauty School.
The backstage area was in a massive basement flooded with natural light and the chirping of what must have been a hundred crew members. Black-clad assistants scurried from room to room, arranging decorations and securing last-minute details that would make Desi’s Paint the Runway Purple fundraiser a night to remember.
After choreography practice and five hours of hair and makeup, we were ready to present a private fashion show for Portland’s buyers. Each collection was followed by the designer, where the buyers were encouraged to ask questions about the collection. Although I wasn’t in a position to sell fifty units of any of my dresses to a buyer, it was a great experience for me to see my collection through their eyes.
- “What are the care precautions of this garment?”
- “How many of these garments use the same fabric?”
- “Which of these garments do you believe could be considered as bridal?”
There were many questions asked that I am excited to take into account when creating future collections.
After the private viewing we went to media interviews, where I had a chance to talk about my line for Fashion News Live.
The show opened at 7 p.m. with a dancing act complemented by some of Desi’s fashions.
When it was my models’ turn to walk out, I let all of my thoughts about what was going on around me come down. I took a moment to watch my dresses, full of hours and hours of labor, and my models, who have become my good friends over the years, move across the stage. Although my heart beat usually drowns out the noise of the crowd, I listened as they received each gown, and before I knew it, it was time for me to make my final walk down the runway.
As I looked out over the hundreds of smiling faces, I could se my mother’s glossy eyes sparkling back at me, and I could hear my big brother Andrew cheering from across the way. I could see the happiness bouncing off of each model’s step like pixie-dust, leaving traces of glitter suspended above the crowd as the music faded.
After the show, we got to meet people from the audience and network with other portland artists. The first person I met was a woman who had gone to school with my dad.
“I’ve been following you for years,” she said. “I had to come to this show.”
When I crawled into bed that night I wasn’t sad. Although it was my last show before I go away to school, I know it’s not the last of my adventures. Even if I never participate in another fashion show again, I have had so much delight in being able to see how what God has blessed me with has been able to bless others.
From the models that were able to get stared through my shows and photoshoots, to the great-grandmothers reading my blog posts and taking joy from seeing what I do, I feel like I have been able to bring Glory to my King in my adventures, and I have been able to touch a few lives along the way.
"Amazingly, this designer is only 17 years old! She started sewing at four, sold her first wedding gown at 12 and had her first fashion show at 14. Quite impressive. Her line is designed for young women who are looking for timeless elegance with a luxurious modern edge. Her designs are created to enhance a woman’s nature beauty, showcase her individuality, and appease her environmental consciousness. Kate delivers on her promise in her designs. There’s something romantic, ethereal, and edgy about dresses she debuted on the runway. The juxtaposition between lace, ruffles, and body conscious designs was quite beautiful to see. The removable train on one of her designs was an unexpected twist giving versatility to the dress."