Women. Wilmington. Goodwill. A trifecta of inspiration hits the runway, for a special fashion show organized by SIS Digital Agency’s Meg Ahrenberg and hosted by Style Girl Jess James. The Forum Fashion Fiesta will celebrate summer and vacay vibes, with looks from six boutiques in The Forum, not to mention hair and makeup by Beauty Bar. Blue Hand Home will transform into a runway and vendor market on Thursday, May 3, 7:30 p.m. Couches and love seats will be featured around the runway, while dining tables will be used for vendor booths, and side and coffee tables for accessory displays. But, really, the focus is so much more than hot looks and wares for 2018.
“Being that The Forum boutiques and many other businesses inside are owned and operated by females, we saw this as an opportunity to celebrate women,” Ahrenberg tells. “We wanted to make the event as female-centric as possible.”
Ahrenberg reached out to A Safe Place to become the beneficiary of the fashion show. The nonprofit’s focus is on empowering girls and young women affected by sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. A Safe Place provides transitional housing for victims, and creates strategies to help girls fulfill personal, educational and career goals. They also help with child care, parenting classes and provide counseling services and survivor-led groups as needed. Their direct support services team partners with local organizations, including law enforcement, as well as prosecution programs, to help find the most effective ways to nurture young women coming out of such a strenuous environment.
“On the runway, you will see looks from Très Bleu, A La Mode Boutique, Blue Hand Home, Meadowlark, Zia Boutique, and Peanut Butter & Jelly,” Ahrenberg tells.
James, who will oversee styling and emcee the event, centered the show on wares available at local boutiques rather than overall trends for 2018. Her main objective was to pull a cohesive collection based on what was hanging directly on the racks at The Forum.
“Some of the clothing feature stand-alone statement pieces,” she notes of the 18 looks to be shown, “like a bold, painterly silk maxi dress from Meadowlark or the embroidered tunic dresses from Blue Hand Home that makes you feel like you just stepped onto the beach in Mykonos.”
Attendees will see eyelet, off-the-shoulder crop tops with high-waisted shorts and side slits (Tres Bleu), as well as a vintage-inspired, 1975 Who tee, layered under a striped jumpsuit and a denim jacket (A La Mode). A star print overall dress from Peanut Butter & Jelly will be quite the piece de resistance, as showcased by young model Jaymes Lauren, especially when paired with a flamingo purse. Jaymes’ mom, Michal, will be walking the runway as well in a showstopper from Zia, according to James.
“There were so many fun, summer vacay pieces to choose from at each of the shops,” James tells. “In the end, we selected pieces we know Wilmington women will swoon over.”
Beauty Bar Boutique will be primping 18 models, from ages 4 to 50, who will don the best looks in hair and makeup design—as seen straight from the NY runways during fashion week. According to Beauty Bar owner Hannah Lynne Milojevic, it’s all about sporting a “lived-in” look. Maybe it comes with natural wave textures, or undone tendrils falling from an upstyle to create a soft, beachy look.
“Sun-kissed painting techniques for natural illumination and deconstructed haircuts that allow for movement and fluidity” is all the rage, Milojevich tells. An effortless bronzed glow on the cheeks and forehead add to the coastal vibe, with makeup being minimal and showcasing only a pop of color.
The event will open with folks shopping the booths until 8:15 p.m. Numerous Forum shops outside of the ones featured on the runway will be represented as well, including Spectrum Jewelry, Club Pilates, Ki Spa and Salon, Purre Barre, and Lumina Gem. The UPS Store and California Closets pitched in as sponsors from The Forum as well.
“At 8:15 a.m., the show will begin with a welcome from A Safe Place,” Ahrenberg tells, “before Jess takes over as emcee.”
“I may have a trick or two up my sleeve yet,” James quips. “Hint: It may involve a hula hoop!”
After the fashion show, from 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., guests can continue to shop and enjoy the vendors. Then they can head to True Blue Butcher & Table for a “Fiesta drink special” or K-Bueno Mexi-Q Grill for a “Fabulous Forum Fiesta Margarita” special.
“We wanted to kick off the notoriously fun weekend, being that it’s so close to Cinco de Mayo,” Ahrenberg adds, “and get people excited for warmer weather, summer fashions, and incredible food!”