MONTCLAIR, NJ - Plenty of moments of shock and awe were created by belly dancers, motorcycles, pole dancing and live performances as all part of the 7th Annual Montclair Fashion Show at the Wellmont Theater on September 17.
Local and international designers presented their designs as part of the theme, "Be seen, Be Inspired, Make a Difference."
Presented by Montclair Center BID and sponsored by Paul Mitchell, much of the proceeds went to support local charities. A silent auction from Sofistafunk Skirt, Co., donated by Arlinda Macintosh and valued at $750, was awarded to a lucky recipient.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of T-shirts will benefit two Montclair-based organizations, S.O.F.I.A and S.A.V.E. of Essex County.
Cynthia Walker, CEO of S.O.F.I.A, said, "I'm so appreciative of the support that is being given to us as we continue to provide information and assistance in bringing awareness of the signs of domestic violence and to know that we are here to help."
Co-host for the evening, Israel Cronk, Executive Director of Montclair BID welcomed the exuberant fashionistas and fashionistos to an eventing of eye-catching affordable fashions from up and coming local designers to the well established boutiques and stores located in Montclair.
Opening the show, a video of Paul Mitchell was presented welcoming the audience and sharing his story of being homeless to pursuing his vision and now owning a global business worth billions. In this video, he shared the importance of giving back to the community and supporting local businesses.
Prior to the video showing, Studio Air and its artists gave an aerial act of Pole Ballet using acrobatics and drapes.
Starting off the first portion of the show, showcased designers from Montclair High School (KC Couture and Bria Renee) and Montclair State University (Stacy Luiz, Yana Lurell and designs by Kingsley ) presented a collection of youth wear for high school and college-age students, followed by a showing of ready to wear clothing that included the cutest little dogs.
Leslie Sacca, fashion plate and deconstructionist (takes clothes apart and puts them back together ), added, "I'm here to see what's going on in fashion in Montclair and to support the organizations that will benefit from this evening's fundraiser. ...and I get to come out and be fabulous."
The first segment closed with a hair show highlighting salons such as Bangz, Classic Man Cut and Shave, Esthetica Salon, Gumdrop Hairdressing, Hair 491, Moxie Beauty Bar, Pure Energy, Salon 2 Go and Studio 0912.
Intermission included a dance exhibition of salsa and meringue by Don Bernard and his troop as well as a performance from up and coming artist Samad Savage rapping about his hometown Montclair entitled "The Clair."
Throughout the event, music was provided by Hakim Bell, son of Robert 'Kool' Bell of Kool and the Gang.
Cronk turned it up by wearing a hooped skirt as he introduced the next segment that included men's clothing. The men's segment opened up with men in nicely tailored suits wearing head gear reminiscent of days past, giving a Thundercat meets James Bond sleek look, with evening wear fitting well into the flow.
Designer Nonelilah of Montclair, said, "I do this in rememberance of my son who I lost. He was an up and coming rapper. The name Nonelilah is from a saying he would say. After his death, I designed a t-shirt. I'm still dealing with the loss, but in doing this and designing, I keep his memory and name going and it makes it easier for me to move on. I'm glad to have participated once again."
One might say the audience got a glimpse of the fifth element, as one of the models walked the runway wearing a piece that could have been snatched from the Fifth Element movie.
Designer Arlinda Mcintosh of Sofistafunk The Skirt company strutted herself down the runway wearing one of her multi functoinal pieces that could with the removal of a panel transforms the skirt into a ball gown , Joining her on the runway from the audience were two of her close friends who traveled from Cleveland , Karen Roane and Aloe' from the Motor City of Detroit repectively wearing one of a kind gowns reminisitant of International UK desingner Vivienne Westwood with hoops and textured Materials making for a dramatic showing. Currently you can purchase sofistafunk fashions at the Crane Park Market along with other one of kind and artistian vendors in Montclair.
A fashion show has to have a grand ending and the sound of an engine could be heard. As a helmet-clad motorcyclist entered pulling up to the bumper, two young ladies emergered with fur coats strutring the runway to join the motorcycle king of the road for a photo op. This ending, along with baloons falling from the balcony gave us (in fashion terms) DRAMA!!
The evening ended with a surprise as belly dancers twirled and entertained the enthusiastic crowd as they prepared to depart.
Cronk concluded, "We are proud to present the hottest looks from our own boutiques, established designers, fashion students and world class salons."
"This year we partnered with Paul Mitchell and the Becker Organization and we thank them as well as all of our volunteers, staff, board members, Montclair Center BID members, students and designers that made this night possible."
About S.O.F.I.A. (Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates ) is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization that provides advicacy, supportive services and referrals to temporary housing for at risk women and children of domestic violence. For more information, go to www.supportsofia.org
About SAVE of Essex County: State of New Jersey's designated sexual violence program for Essex County. Dedicated to supporting and empowering survivors of sexual violence and operates a 24-hour hotline for survivors of violence. For more inforamtion, go to www.familyserviceleague.org
Throughout the evening hors d'oeuvres were provided from 28 local restaurants and eateries ( Ah' Pizz, Amanti Vino, Bareburger, Casa Piquin, Scala del Nonna, Costanera, Crosby, Cuban Pete's, Dunkin Donuts, Fin, Fresco da Franco , Fujiya Ramen, Java Love , Juice Basin, la Petit Parisian, Leone's, Manny's Dinner, Noches de Columbia, Pig & Prince, Pure Pita, Salute, Smallcakes, Tacoria, Trend Coffee House, Vila Victoria, Villalobos, Vital Dining, and Zeugma).
Evening and Avant Garde Designers included: Apple Village, Aris Couture Boutique, Beau Brumemel, Bergen American Furs, Culture Couture, DressNV pop-up shop, East side Mags , Gallery Loupe, Grooming Gallery, Heratij, Johari, JKA Designs, MannaE, Montclair Antique Center, Montclair Riding Co., Nonelilah, Nouvelle, Oasis, One Savy design, Pure Barre Montclair, Sofistafunk The Skirt Company, Stanhope Africa Imports, Stitch Boutique, Sweat and Strut, Table Leg Home, That Little Black Dress and Vintage Montclair.