Fashion is in the Air

Models walking the runway for the finale of the collection designed by Juan Jose Saenz-Ferreyros.

By Janice Carter Levitch

“Fashion does not only exist in dresses; fashion is in the air, it is brought in by the wind, one feels it coming, breathes it in, it is in the sky and on the pavement, it depends on ideas, customs and happenings” –Coco Chanel

The fashion show I attended recently was definitely brought in by the wind – 25 mph to be exact. But a cold and rainy forecast did not deter the sold-out crowd from battling the elements to make their way to Brewmasters Gate in Columbus, Ohio, to see the latest designs walk the runway.

Model wearing a metal gown with a matching headdress by headline designer Laurel Dewitt.

Held annually, the finale runway show for Fashion Week Columbus was nothing short of fantastical. Fashion Week Columbus is a nonprofit organization focused on providing a platform for emerging designers to showcase their work and expand their connections in the business. It also provides scholarships to Central Ohio students pursuing fashion design. Several Louisvillians attended, and the venue was packed wall-to-wall with photographers and media crews interviewing the designers featured in the show.

Of course, I made my way through the stage door and immediately felt the rush of energy as makeup artists and hair stylists busily prepared models for the show. A tent had been set up for the staging area, and the wind kept whipping it from side to side as if it would lift off the ground at any minute. 

Model wearing a gown with matching beret designed by Akili Cooper.

It was almost like the scene from “The Wizard of Oz” when the house is picked up by blustery winds and plopped down in Munchkin Land. The colorful fabrics hanging on clothing racks and the gold metallic makeup being applied to the models’ faces offered a more contemporary twist of what a Munchkin Land could look like on a night like this.

Laurel Dewitt, a unique artist with an incredible resume, was the headline designer. Sculpting elaborate headdresses and crowns is her passion. Designing for celebrities like Lady Gaga and Lenny Kravitz, she has created an attention-grabbing brand by reimagining the distinction between clothing and accessories. Seeing the wearable alloy ensembles on the runway for this show was inspiring and made me want to expand my own sparkly wardrobe beyond a pair of tiny ear clips.

One after another, the designs were exactly what you hope to see coming down the runway: a megawatt dose of fantasy along with rich fabrics we don’t normally see every day. Even Tommy McClure, the founder of Fashion Week Columbus, wore an outfit that had a kind of nod to Asian design. He introduced the show, thanked everyone for supporting the event and cued the music to begin. Beautiful and diverse models walked the runway and not one missed a beat. It was terrific to say the least.

Model wearing an ensemble designed by Akili Cooper.

We have our own stable of fashion events in Louisville, and what better way to open the starting gate for Breeders’ Cup than to daydream about wearing something out of the ordinary. See you very soon at Churchill Downs, where I’ll be on the lookout for some unusual fashion moments. Giddy up! VT