Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sweet Nothings

Well, I promised an exciting post-fashion show blog post, and I'm not 100% sure I can deliver, but I'll try. As I've reflected on the experience that was Sugar does Portland, and my second ever fashion show, overall, I am satisfied.

I was super prepared this time, had the car packed the night before and ready to go, and I wasn't still putting touches on things the day of the show, so that's an improvement over last time. Two of my models were no-shows, but I'm already an old pro after two whole fashion shows now, so I took it in stride and negotiated with another designer to share two of hers. All of the models killed it in my looks, as I have come to expect of Sugar events. We bonded and supported one another and launched careers and created magic.

I had choreographed little interactions between my models as they passed on the runway and it was a true story in motion. My vision of a Studio 54-esque Venetian Disco Carnival Party came to life, it was fantastic. But all of that, even as I typed it, was not giving me goosebumps, I wasn't on the edge of my seat recalling the memory of a truly unforgettable night. It was a great experience, but what more is there to tell? Where is the excitement for my reader in saying “It was a great experience, I had a lovely evening”?

Maybe I'm just getting too old for unforgettable nights. I have to say, the next day, I realized I was a little disappointed in myself for the various missed opportunities I'd had to grab life by the balls that night and live that I had passed up. For example, I spent hours creating the most fabulous rhinestone shoes that have ever existed, and I only actually wore them for about fifteen minutes. I realized as I went through photos the next day that I didn't even get any good pictures of me in the shoes. What was I thinking? So many places around that venue where I could have grabbed a photographer and gotten awesome shots of those shoes, (which I actually would like to start selling, could have used some good portfolio/publicity shots) the staircase in front of the grungy wall outside the club, flung over the shoulder of one of the hunky male Sugar models . . . you know, just plenty of places. I also didn't think to have the models get photos in the garments or mingle in the crowd wearing the stuff after the show, we just changed out of everything immediately and threw it all back in the car. Months of work, and it was barely seen.

Two friends of mine came all the way to Portland to support me in the show, and had a hotel in town. Knowing I was bound to be exhausted after the show, they begged me to crash with them in Portland, to come out and have a few drinks with them and relax after all the hard work. I said no. I snuck out of the show before the party even really died down, and headed straight home. I realized about a half hour in to the four hour drive that that was a really stupid move. I thankfully made it home safely, after three hours of slapping myself in the face and driving with the windows down and radio on full blast trying to avoid nodding off and wondering why I didn't just stay with Jackie and Colin. Why didn't I wear those fabulous shoes out in Portland and have a couple beers? What happened to me? When did I get old?

The weekend after the Portland show was Sugar's Not So Silent Auction fundraiser event at Pink in Seattle, to raise money to get the tour bus out of the shop. I deliberately waited to write my blog post recapping the Portland show until after the auction because I thought I could salvage the lameness of the story I had to tell by making the night following the auction a wild and crazy as well as productive and business bolstering night. This time I was fully prepared to network and mingle and party, to prove I'm not 32 and practically dead. I had my hair done, painted my nails for the first time in months, I wore my graffiti corset, my boobs looked amazing. I wore my rhinestone shoes again. I even threw my crown and sash in my set bag, thinking I would have an opportunity after the auction to further promote the Sugar cause by reppin for the Sugar team as their resident beauty queen.

Unfortunately, the auction was a complete crash and burn. We didn't sell any of the items donated by Designers, including me. The only things we did sell all night were cupcakes, and sort of desperate, vaguely human trafficking reminiscent dates with models and members of the Sugar team. We were all kind of bummed afterwards, and got booted out of the VIP room precisely at 10:00 pm, so in all the rush to get everything back in the car, it didn't seem like anyone was in the mood to make further plans for the evening, so I ended up just leaving and heading for home.

After the auction I decided I was going to need a nice bath and a glass of wine, but I didn't have any at home, so I popped in to QFC to grab a bottle. As I perused the selection, I thought about what I would say in this blog post. I pretty much assumed at that point all hope for an exciting story to tell to accompany the photos of my collection in the show and promote Sugar's tour as they get ready to head to Austin next month was gone. Lost in contemplation, I barely noticed a really eccentrically dressed person walk up next to me. If it hadn't been for her 12 inch block platform shoes clacking on the linoleum I probably wouldn't have even looked up, but as I did, I saw standing next to me, the one and only Lady Gaga. Yes, I ran into Lady Gaga in the wine section at QFC. She gestured in the direction of the champagne and the burly bodyguard with her began loading a cart with all the bottles QFC had of whatever was on the top shelf. Then she actually spoke to me. “Oh my GOSH,” she said, “where did you get those shoes, they are amazing!”

I was completely awestruck, but I managed to stammer a reply, “I made them, I'm a designer.” “I must have them!” she exclaimed, “how much do you want for them?” I screamed a little. Lady Gaga wanted to buy the shoes off my feet – which would mean millions of people would see my work, my career would completely take off, this was all really happening in the wine section at QFC. . . OK, I give up. None of that actually happened. I actually came straight home, showered and watched the news with Gerrard. I am old and lame. Sorry.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Preparation . . . Trepidation . . . Palpitations

So my second stab at being a real Designer and producing an actual runway show is about to unfold tomorrow. I'll be showing at Sugar does Portland, which is set to be much bigger and sexier and louder than Sugar does Seattle was in July, so I'm super duper excited, and equally as nervous. I put everything I had into this collection over the past month (as well as a couple hundred dollars that I DIDN'T have's worth of fabric, rhinestones and hot glue) and its finally finished and ready to show. I have been completely freaking out for the last three or four days thinking I wasn't going to make it with things still in pieces and missing trims and zippers . . . all the while my brain was running in a million directions at once and instead of focusing on completing my finishing touches, I keep getting sidetracked adding new pieces and working on non-essential things like a pair of shoes for moi to wear at the event. Of course, after completing one shoe and seeing how absolutely frikin amazeballs it was, I had to move finishing the shoes over to the essential column, and I did stay up til about 3 am last night making sure those shoes are runway ready. Cinderella and Dorothy got nothin on me. *snap*

I actually love it when the creative process takes me places like that where I completely didn't expect it to go. Like how the last afterthought piece that I just threw together to fill out the line up could somehow end up being my favorite look in the collection. Or how I struggled to figure out which look to put on which models from a group of mostly first time runway models with wildly varied heights and measurements none of whom I've worked with before, but came to the conclusion that the mix of talent and variety and experience levels is actually going to create something truly magical. I had set a goal after the last Sugar show that the next time I did a runway collection it would have more cohesion and a clear vision. I think I have accomplished that goal. I think it will look amazing and tell a story and I'm so excited to share it with the world!

After I get through this show, its back to focusing on everything else I should have been doing this month that got put on hold so I could do this collection. Like writing my business plan and working on presentation materials for my pitch to beg for start up capital for Lime Light, paying my bills and being a wife, a daughter, a sister and a beauty queen.

I'm actually off to kind of a rocky start in the beauty queen department again in 2012. Chalk it up to being out of practice, I guess, but I'm just not quite back into the swing of it yet. OK, who am I kidding, I never really was all that great at it in the first place, but I had also set a goal that if I did this pageant again, I would really commit and do it right this time. So, I plan to start getting out there and representing Snohomish County and spreading the word about preventing chemical injury a little later this month with a visit to the Health Fair being held at Providence Medical Center here in Everett. They are having an open house to show off their new fancy scmanchy hyperbaric chambers, which I have to say, are kind of cool. I'll just kind of choose to forget that January was pretty much a wash as far as making public appearances with full-on crown and sash.

I did make it out to Girl Power Hour's Go Red for Women event the Friday before my Mom was scheduled to have a pacemaker installed, so I was admittedly a little distracted and a little extra emotional at that particular event. I'm happy to report though, that my Mom did great, and she is now bionic. She has always been the strongest, wisest, most caring woman I know, and now she is stronger, faster, better than ever.
My Mom has always been the perfect role model, the perfect example of what I would want to be if I do make the choice to become a mother someday. She instilled in me my strong sense of self and always encouraged my creativity. I was extremely relieved and happy to celebrate Women's Heart Health Month with Mom, who can now call herself a survivor (and a cyborg)!

A little known fact about my Mom, is that she wanted to be a Fashion Designer when she was a teenager. She was on the bigger side, so she taught herself how to sew so that she could have clothes that were in fashion because she couldn't buy in them off the rack. She never became a Designer, but now her daughter is following in her dreams. This strange twist of fate actually gave me the idea for a pair of paintings that I am hurriedly finishing tonight on a complete inspiration binger. As if I needed one more thing to have to finish before I leave for Portland tomorrow at 7:00 am, but this kind of inspiration comes from God, its a gift. You can't ignore it, and you can't turn it off. The only way to get rid of the feeling it gives you is to create what its telling you to create, it has to come out. I only took a break to throw down a blog entry because I needed to wait for a layer of paint to dry. I'm so thankful to have my Mom as my example and to have learned everything that I have from her. Now back to painting and packing.

Wish me luck, readers, and I'll see you all after the show!