Fashion Takes Flight at KDF Spring Fashion Show Presented by Macy’s

Heyman Talent models in looks from Macy’s. (Photo by Max Sharp)

Heyman Talent models in looks from Macy’s. (Photo by Max Sharp)

By Tonya Abeln

The word metamorphosis conjures the idea of profound change – the act of transforming from one stage in life to the next. The alteration in appearance is often apparent, but the internal modification is more complex, more difficult to understand and of a more subtle visual representation. However, it was dynamically portrayed in this year’s sold-out Kentucky Derby Festival Spring Fashion Show Presented by Macy’s held at Horseshoe Southern Indiana Hotel and Casino.

Heyman Talent Models in clothes from The Willow Tree. (Photo by Max Sharp)

Heyman Talent Models in clothes from The Willow Tree. (Photo by Max Sharp)

As the crowd filled the ballroom and was seated for a three-course dinner, others grabbed cocktails and posed for photos in The Lounge upstairs before settling in to their premium aerial view. Meanwhile, unseen to ticket holders, the energy backstage was electric, with models from Heyman Talent running from hair to makeup station for finishing touches to their beauty looks provided by J Michael’s Spa & Salon. The experts at J Michael’s executed a fashion-forward vision with intricate braids and dazzling gems affixed to the inner corner of eyes, which were added for dramatic effect on the runway.

This show is no small undertaking and consisted of months of planning, rehearsals, wardrobe fittings and particularly, on the day of the event, run-throughs and tech and dress rehearsals. When you add live performances, sensational lighting and a stirring video component to 140 fashion looks, there is plenty of room for error and chaos. Luckily, this show was in the hands of experts with Creative Consultant Christine Fellingham and Choreographer Chris Kaufman.

Fellingham, who admits that the evening is “not just a runway…it’s a spectacle,” predicted that this year’s show was sure to get people out of their seats from the start and then leave them on their feet. She was right as the first look of the evening from Macy’s took off with a bang thanks to the live musical accompaniment of drum soloist Gabe Stockwell.

“My strategy was to turn this show into a living, breathing magazine,” Fellingham explains. “I tried to tell stories in a way that brings the clothes to life and gets people excited about experimenting with clothes themselves.” She did just that through five distinct scenes, progressing from casual to formal, that brought the concept of Metamorphosis to life.

Story, Chelsey and Bailey hang out backstage before the show. (Photo by Max Sharp)

Story, Chelsey and Bailey hang out backstage before the show. (Photo by Max Sharp)

Scene One, “Joy Ride,” saw models casually styled in looks from Macy’s, Darling State of Mind and Maurices. The ease of that opening transitioned seamlessly into Scene Two, “In Full Bloom,” a fashion narrative full of playful florals, light fascinators and hatinators comprised of designs from Work the Metal, Apricot Lane, BLU Boutique and, of course, The Hat Girls, the official hatmakers of Kentucky Derby Festival.

The transformation started to become visually and perceptibly apparent during Scene Three, “Wonder Women,” as the choreography suggested a woman grappling with a considerable, yet exciting change in darker and more structured looks from Macy’s, The Willow Tree and Guess?, Inc.

Fellingham noted during the planning of the show that part of the metamorphosis that the crowd would appreciate would be the inclusion of more age and size diversity in the model cast. She shared, “I wanted to work hard in casting this show with Heyman Talent to establish that we were representing all women.”

Scene Four, “Brighten Up,” displayed that awakening in a most literal way with vivid colors and brilliant patterns from Crush Boutique, Olivia & Co. Boutique and Colonial Designs, the brilliance of the moment made even more evident through the use of trendy eyewear provided by VisionFirst.

Finally, it was Scene Five, “Time to Shine,” that displayed the true radiance of the evening with luminous looks from Macy’s and Caden that sparkled, twinkled and glistened down the runway before the ultimate and unforgettable finale: a rousing live performance by St. Stephen Temple Choir as the full cast celebrated in official KDF merchandise.

Avery and Mallory in looks from Colonial Designs and hats by The Hat Girls. (Photo by Jolea Brown)

Avery and Mallory in looks from Colonial Designs and hats by The Hat Girls. (Photo by Jolea Brown)

Of course, if you are a veteran attendee of the event, you know the indisputable star of the show is Heyman Talent’s own Kurt Roberson. No KDF Spring Fashion Show would be complete without his the final look, which doesn’t actually include fashion at all, but the fun-loving reveal of his well-designed, perfectly-toned abdominal muscles – an act that predictably brings the amused crowd to their feet year after year.

This year’s show featured trends that will most certainly find their way to the track and galas of Derby season. From feminine lace to powerful pants, the evening offered a look for every occasion in April’s busy social scene. While the KDF season isn’t officially “off” until the They’re Off Luncheon on April 22, it certainly felt like we are well on our way to many modish moments as fashion spread its wings at the KDF Spring Fashion Show Presented by Macy’s. Look for our recommendations from this show on what to wear to almost every KDF event in our upcoming issues! VT