Leading up to Friday, April 18th, the buzz surrounding the Circle of Design fashion show was mounting. When the doors of the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel opened, expectations were high. After all, with designers such as Samantha Rei, Gina Marie, and Stacie Vanags of FIN Sur FIN, and with household name Christopher Straub as host and emcee, we were certainly in for a good show, right?
Absolutely right! Guests were given free drinks in a welcoming waiting area with a bar until the doors opened for the show at 7 pm. Seats were oriented around the catwalk, which was centered in the middle of the large ballroom. Each seat contained a swag bag, with numerous gifts for the guests from the various sponsors of the show. Excitement swirled throughout the room as people speculated about what they were about to see. Finally, at 8 o’clock sharp, the lights dimmed and Christopher took the stage.
Christopher, as well as highlighting his own excitement for the show, gave guests a hint of what they were about to witness; which is the birth and creation of a design. The show would walk guests through the process of a design, from the early planning stages, to the finished garment, and then to the garment fully accessorized. The story would also be told with the help of the JLW Productions dance crew. With his words, “Enjoy the show,” he exited the stage and the song “Work Bitch” by Britney Spear began and the dance team took the runway, stunning guests with their talent of hip hop style dance and ushering in the first segment of the runway show.
About halfway through the song, the dancers exited the stage as the first model came out, adorned in black leggings and a black tank top, covered by muslins. Muslins are the white fabrics that designers use to create the outline of their design and form their ideas. Model after model strutted their way down the runway barefoot, somehow even making the muslins of the three designers look good. The best was yet to come however, and as the final model left the stage the dance crew reclaimed it with the new hit “Talk Dirty” by Jason Derulo.
Again halfway through the song, the dancers walked offstage as the first model came out. This time she was wearing a coat designed by Samantha Rei — her coats made their way down the runway as spectators looked on dazzled by the transformation from muslin to finished design. The same awe was kindled as Gina Marie’s and FIN Sur FIN’s designs came out as well. As each song ended, it seamlessly morphed into another. The models kept up pace with the music, claiming the runway as their own and making sure to pose long enough for guests to get full views of the garments.
“Put the Gun Down” by ZZ Ward boomed through the speakers as the dancers stormed the stage again. The transition was smooth and I was amazed at how well the show transitioned through segments, switching quickly from dancers to runway. Finally, the last segment of the show began. Though we were seeing the same finished garments as before, the incredible styling achieved by designers and accessories featured from Maurice’s gave the looks a whole new edge. Each garment was accessorized to specifically suit the wearability of the outfit. For instance, with a swimsuit and shawl from FIN Sur FIN designs, the model rocked a long necklace and a pair of dark sunglasses.
The finale of the show highlighted the element of consignment brought to the show by the store of the show’s executive producer, Shelly Gensmer. The store is Dressing Room Dojo located in Lakeville. To incorporate the element of consignment, silence filled the room as the lights dimmed. A track of white noise came on as three models strolled across the runway, each wearing a design from one of the three designers featured in the show. They stopped at the same time, each occupying a different third of the runway. They striped off their garments, revealing simple black leggings and tank tops. They dropped the garments to the floor and exited the runway just as three more models, dressed in the same leggings and tanks, entered. These models each stopped next to the garments, snatched them up, and left the stage. It was obvious that this portion existed to represent the change of ownership that comes with consignment, and how the life cycle of a garment doesn’t end with its completion, but continues through its ownership.
The show ended with the dance team dancing to “Into the Blue” by Kylie Minogue. As they finished, Christopher Straub took the stage once more to thank all the contributing factors in the show, including JLW Productions, the models, the hair and make-up team, and the designers. Last to take the stage was the brains behind it all, Shelly Gensmer. Shelly spoke about the creation of the show, and about her shop Dressing Room Dojo.
After the show, VIP guests were invited to an after party featuring a DJ, photographers, and the opportunity to have grammy-style photos taken in front of a Dressing Room Dojo backdrop. The designers stationed themselves near the area, so guests could meet them, speak one on one, and even try on and purchase some of the pieces!
Though it was Shelly’s first time as executive producer of a fashion show, she certainly nailed it. She may have found her new calling in life — as I left, I didn’t hear a single bad word about the show. Guests raved about the talent of the dancers, the beauty of the designs, and the welcoming atmosphere. I got a statement from guest Holly Williams, who said:
“I didn’t know what to expect but the show far exceeded any expectations I might have had! The dancers were incredible, and seeing the process through the designs was amazing. The show was very cool and entertaining.”
To check out some of the work from featured designers, visit:
For more information on Shelly and Dressing Room Dojo, visit the website.
Photos via: Leah Putz