I had the pleasure of attending The Voice-Tribune’s Best Dressed 2011 event this weekend, and what a spectacular experience it was! This being my first year, I had no idea what to expect. Not only was this an opportunity to honor the most stylish men and women in the city, but more importantly to raise money for Dress For Success, a foundation that helps lower-income women find jobs in the workforce as well as providing them business attire to wear. The buzz was that it was going to be the most fabulous year ever, and I couldn’t wait to be wow-ed.
Walking into the lobby of the Marriot in downtown Louisville, I was amazed by all the impeccably styled men and women, dressed well past the nines and into the tens. There was no mistaking that this was the fashion event of Louisville!
Bodyguards in black suits and sunglasses held back the black velvet drapes separating the rest of the hotel from the fashion show in order to let the guests in. We were ushered into a dark room, bare except for the raised platforms on opposite sides of the room containing a scantily-clad male and female model posing provocatively. And with the bass of the music thumping from a short distance, I felt like I was at a very exclusive nightclub, and that I was on “the list”.
To enter the event space, guests had to travel through a tunnel, much like the alley-ways of New York City. The brick “walls” were decorated with grafitti and posters from past Best Dressed events, creating an urban atmosphere. I felt like I had just entered a new world, where excitement awaited me just ahead. This was only the beginning of the surprises to come.
Upon seeing the runway, I was flabbergasted. I had seen fashion shows on television and in magazines, but I had never had the opportunity to attend one. In the middle of the gigantic room was the runway, powerful and imposing. Chairs with glowing balls of light surrounded it, flickering like stars (I would later learn that these were a decorative part of the gift bag). More lights flashed across the walls, encompassing the entire room in a dazzling array of color. It was as if the darkness was illuminated by the sparkling guests, the glittering lights, and the beat of the music.
From there we gravitated towards the side room, where a lavish cornucopia of delights awaited us. Delicious hors d’oeuvres satisfied even the most sophisticated palate, along with a busy bar to quench the thirst. All the guests, along with the nominees, circulated the room, chatting each other up and checking out their outfits.
Soon it was time for the big event, and for everyone to take their seats. I waited in anticipation as the lights darkened and the music began to get louder and the beat began to quicken. The lights finally turned on, but instead of models the runway was crowded with dancers wearing plain garments. They were ballerinas and male ballet dancers from the Louisville Ballet, who were there to open the show with an excerpt from “Rite Of Spring”. This was no delicate dance, this was a modern, energetic, and somewhat primal performance, yet at the same time graceful and beautiful.
The next segment was inspired by the late and great Alexander McQueen, who was renowned for his gift of imbuing controversial themes, history, nature, politics, society, and beauty into his career in haute couture. An acrobatic performer, dressed like a mischievous and dark nymph, soared above the runway on a wire, providing the dramatic highlight of the fashion show. Models proceeded to pony-walk down the runway in elegant McQueen-esque garments, complete with deer antlers affixed to their perfectly coiffed hair.
The more typical fashion show, or the “ready-to-wear” segment followed, as guests admired the styles that would forecast the fall fashion to come. There was something for everyone, from the beautiful dresses to the more casual wear to the scantily dressed men (a crowd favorite).
After the runway show ended, Angie Fenton graced the stage in a beautiful gown and called the nominees to the stage. It was quite an amusing sight to see these real men and women strutting the catwalk with attitude to spare. The winners were announced, and the crowd cheered in excitement. I think I saw a few tears as well.
I left the event starry-eyed, blown away by the glamour and the glitz. I can hardly wait for what is in store for 2012, and of course, finding something amazing to wear to it.