Gown Presentation: "Make it Work"

Well, my fashion show at the Short Hills came and went last week.  It was such an exhilarating experience, but more importantly a great learning opportunity.  As with many jobs involving fashion, it definitely is not as glamourous as it seems.  A lot of time and energy goes into prepping for a presentation... even one as simple as gowns.  Oh, and then you have to figure out what to wear.  You get so busy worrying about the presentation that you forget to put together a killer look for yourself!

Let's start with my outfit... I took three of my favorite pieces - cheetah pants, denim shirt, and red heels. I felt comfortable, cool and stylish (or so I thought).  I would have preferred a dress while discussing gowns... my LWD would have been perfect, but I forgot to pick it up at the cleaners.  This led me to realize that I am a bit low on dresses... I will have to work on this.

My sister told me that this was "very Vegas of me"... I was thinking more J.Crew...

The night before the show - dresses lined up, ready to go.

I finished up late at Neiman's the night before the big day.  We - that would be me and Lydia (Neiman's PR manager extraordinaire) had finally managed to find formal attire to fit into our "stories" and was the right size for the models (or so we hoped).  Then we had to find shoes to fit the models (I had no idea that it would be so difficult) - all we really needed was silver and black (thank you Manolo, B Brian Atwood and Tom Ford).  I was hoping for a colorful strappy sandal, but I think it is too early in the season...  And don't forget the clutches! Trying to choose bags to complement the dress and highlight the trends can be a bit tricky... I wanted to find several bags that could be interchanged between looks.  Thankfully a perfect crystal encrusted Judith Leiber, a pink Nancy Gonzalez, a two Tom Ford clutches (one purple, one black) did the trick! 

So the reality check I had when starting to work on this show led to an initial frustration.  I had visualized my models in head-to-toe perfect looks.  I wanted to mix in some Carrie Bradshaw funky leather jackets and ball gown looks with more conservative but elegant Michelle Obama type ensembles.  I soon learned that was not to be the case this time around.  What you don't realize about store presentations are two very important factors - 

1.  It is a race against time.  I had 3 models for this show.  This means that there is very little time to change and accessorize them perfectly.  I was lucky if they could get the dress on in time, let alone worry about changing shoes or jewelry.

2.  You are at the mercy of the store.  I have to work with what is available.  Let's be honest, sometimes the store isn't fully stocked with exactly what you are looking, in exactly the size that you need.

Tim Gunn's "make it work" was the theme for my experience.  That is truly what you must do.  You do the best you can and put it together in the best way possible... hoping that your audience is entertained, has fun and is (hopefully) inspired.  

The part of the of the presentation that was giving me the most anxiety was speaking.  I knew that I could do it, but I have not had that much experience with narrating a fashion show.  I am usually better with writing because I can sort out my thoughts... when speaking I feel like I have a harder time getting my point across.  

The night before I made my notes and I was ready to go.  I had decided to focus on the "creative black tie" dress code of the gala that my audience will be attending in April.  I wanted to present beautiful gowns that could be dressed up or down, that could be given an edgy feel or that could be made very elegant... I wanted to inspire the ladies to think outside the box and put their own unique spin on the dresses.  

In the end, I think I did okay.  I was not completely satisfied with my performance.  If I were to do it again, I think would do a much better job.  I realize that I was not as focused as I had wanted to be, and I had less time to speak than I expected (which isn't a bad thing!).  I guess that is why they say "practice makes perfect", right?  So, I am ready for the next show... I am going to kill it!

I will have to devote another post to explaining my trends... I could go on forever!  Until then, here are a few of my faves from the presentation...

A classic Carolina Herrera gown... beautiful and forgiving.

The most classic and elegant "must have" dress from St. John.  A heavy knit keeps it from being too clingy...

and the low back and slit keeps it sexy.

St. John also won me over with this blush sequin dress.  I love the idea of an ivory tuxedo jacket as a topper.

I love this purple lace Dolce & Gabbana dress.  It is so simple, classic and elegant.

The Monique Lhuillier stunner that Paula Patton wore to the Golden Globes... gorgeous!

                                                                                                                                - Allison

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