Saturday, January 14, 2012

Exhibit Ambush 2011

Following the Alterna "IT" Fashion Show, I was contacted by Antoinette Ransom to participate in an event she was producing called Exhibit Ambush.  The event promised to be an art show like no other, combining performances, fine art galleries, and a fashion show into one.  

As it was, she did not want me to over stress about the show due to the fact that I am a late recruit and, therefore, lack the time to fully execute an entire 10+ piece collection. Instead, I could show garments from my previous collections and add a piece or two to those to fit the number.  During this time, I was also wrapping up my last two quarters at school and interning at Lamb’s Players Theatre costume shop.  Taking this project on seemed to be quite the load.  After some thought, there was no other option but to go all in.  When would something like this come up again? It was a great way to test my potential and everything I learned.  The show was scheduled one month after my graduation, and I had roughly three months to get things done.  Not only was it a great way to meet local designers and artists, but it would also be my first fashion show outside of educational boundaries, in other words, with professionals currently in the field. 

A few weeks after signing the contract and looking through my previous collections, I deemed them unqualified for the show and decided to pull some nonexistent superpowers to revamp some concepts and hash out a new collection.  With my experiences in the previous school shows, the process from concept, design, and production (of five looks) lasted about eight to nine months. For Exhibit Ambush, I had to condense nine months worth of work into three and double my garment count....

I reused the theme and concept for Urban Garden and switched up the colors and abstracted the designs so as to make them less literally translated.  Out of the five designs (two pieces each; 10), I would reuse three of the plastic pieces and none of the dresses.  My sketches of the new collection are as follows (watch out! They're sketchy!):

For a month or so, I had to place the Ambush collection on hold as I prepared for my finals, portfolio show, and graduation.  After that was all over, all my priorities and responsibilities were thrown out the window, to be retrieved in November, and everything would be focused on executing the pieces.  In short, I disappeared from the world digitally, socially, (mentally?), and physically. 

Two weeks before the show, I spent most of them at my dear friend Elina’s place using her industrial machine to sew much of the plastic and the dresses.  Luckily, she is an amazing friend as well as a phenomenal designer and helped me with additional sewing I needed done on the dresses as I focused on the plastics.  So, while I was chafing my hands (literally) forcing wire into the seams of the plastic, she sewed my zippers, bows, and details.  The two of us at work, we were able to complete the last 80% of the construction process in two weeks without her missing her classes, nor me missing my rehearsal and fit dates.   

The day of the show was incredible.  Indeed, I had not expected such an enormous turnout.  While the team did run into issues in rehearsal, everything was smoothed out for the show.  My models were great, as was my dresser.  Unfortunately I was unable to make an appearance on the runway (I was backstage checking my garments) and running down the tiled hall in heels doesn’t get you very far. Below are runway photos of my collection (Photography:Navid Nader, Styled by Christina Leann and Team), ultimately I was only able to send out seven of the looks: 

I was also able to show with some great friends, Tea Ninkovic and Evett and Cris of Crivette. In addition, I also met wonderful designers and artists and received some golden advice and feedback from Antonio Estrada from Haus of Estrada.  Upon exiting the venue, I had a chance to talk with one or two guests and received some very positive and uplifting feedback about my work!

My strongest sentiment after the show was one of overwhelming gratitude. I don’t recall ever being more grateful in my life for the team I was so fortunate to work with, especially a team whom I have had no previous connections with, as well as for the friends I have, all of us who support one another, and for the opportunity. In my opinion, I do believe this collection is my strongest to date. But, of course, there is always room for improvement. 

My wonderful family was there for support as well as friends from school and instructor Jacquee Leahy.  All of whom deserve warm hugs, loads of thanks, and love. 
Below are a few links of press and photos.

List of models pictured: 
Tayla Ann 
Brigitte Patton

Also, shoots using this collection:


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