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Mad About Fashion: ‘Mad Men’ themed fashion preview raises funds for Make-A-Wish Foundation

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With all of the Gatsby-inspired dresses, pin-up style bikins, and ’90s crop-tops, there’s no denying that today’s fashion incorporates past style fads with a modern twist. At the Spring Fashion Preview, hosted by FASHION FIX and Style Girl LLC Events’ Jess James, models will embody the colorful patterns and loose, flowing designs that were hip in the late ’60s. The Spring Fashion Preview also is associated with The Make-A-Wish Foundation, as proceeds from many of James’ events go toward supporting their cause through the silent auction, with items donated by a slew of vendors. The show will take place at Bakery 105 in historic downtown Wilmington on Wednesday, April 22.

Mod Vibes: Jess James style model in a "Mad Men" inspired get-up for her Spring Fashion Preview Show. Photo by Ben Minor.

Mod Vibes: Jess James shows off her creative direction and wardrobe styling in a “Mad Men” inspired get-up for her Spring Fashion Preview show. Makeup by Tess Wheatley for Trish McEvoy. Furniture and props from Decades of Decor. Hair by Steve Ward of Steven Ward Hair. Photo by Ben Minor.

“The event has been going on for eight years, and we always have people in the community of all different ages participating as models,” James says. “We always focus on the trends for the season for both fashion and beauty.”

James is the fashion editor for Focus on the Coast Magazine and also has written style columns for Star News. She recently opened her own clothing studio, Style Girl Vintage, at 21 Market Street. This year her fashion preview will feature a blend of styles from trends that give a nod to garbs of the ’60s. Hair stylist Steven Ward, make-up artists from Trish McEvoy, and folks from the Wilmington Dermatology Center will help create the retro looks.

For the past few years, James has hosted themed parties inspired by the hit TV series “Mad Men.” James will combine the two events, coloring the fashion preview with a sleek, sexy, bourbon-in-hand  “Mad Men” theme. “As we get to the last season of the show, which [premiered two and a half weeks ago], the setting is 1969,” James says. “The time span really opens up a window for a wide range of outfits to choose from. You could wear a ’50s style dress with the crinoline, a wiggle dress or even a secretary-type outfit. The current ‘Mad Men’ season is all about the glamour, gold-foil prints and mini dresses.”

Hammin' like Jon Hamm: A well-tailored suit proves a perfect garb to be in vogue this season. Photo by Ben Minor.

HAMMIN’ LIKE JON HAMM: A well-tailored suit proves a perfect garb to be in vogue this season. Creative direction and styling Jess James, makeup by Tess Wheatley for Trish McEvoy, furniture and props from Decades of Decor, hair by Steve Ward of Steven Ward Hair, photo by Ben Minor.

A few of the models will kick off the show dressed as characters from “Mad Men,” and guests are encouraged to stake their claim on a spot around the runway while decked out in the their hottest Jon Hamm- or Elisabeth Moss-inspired garments. The evening’s top “Mad Men” looks will be considered for the coveted Best Dressed award.

DJ Brian Hood will set the mood and pump up the energy for the models who will strut down the catwalk, wearing several of the Port City’s favorite local brands. About 10 brands in all will be featured, including Lillies and Lace located at Lumina Station and Precious Gems in downtown Wilmington. While they are mainly known for their accessories, Lumina Station’s Ziabird recently have created a new dress line, called “Blank.”  Precious Gems and Jewelry of Wilmington will be providing the gems worn by the models on the runway. While most of the 10 models participating will be women, one gentleman will rock the runway with suave suits from local men’s clothing haven Bloke Apparel and Supply Home.

Photo by Ben Minor

Creative direction and styling by Jess James, makeup by Tess Wheatley for Trish McEvoy, furniture and props from Decades of Decor, hair by Steve Ward of Steven Ward Hair, photo by Ben Minor.

“We’ve seen a lot of bohemian styles giving off a late ’60s California vibe,” James says. “There are a lot of wide-legged jeans in style, though I don’t think skinny jeans will be going anywhere any time soon. There have also been a lot of bohemian crocheted dresses, fringe and tassels seen on many runways this season.”

Local fashionistas can get their hands on some of the new digs and accessories showcased on the runway by shopping the vendor stations around the venue’s open brick courtyard. Among them will be A Second Time Around Resale and Consignment Shop, who also helped the fashion preview by providing period-furniture pieces for the promotional photoshoot. Second Skin Vintage of Wilmington, Soul Shoutique located at Wrightsville Beach, and Aqua Fedora, which has two locations in downtown Wilmington and Lumina Station, also will set up tables. Front Street Optometric Care will be selling eyeglasses and sunglasses. Visitors looking for a fun photo op (especially if you’re in costume) should check out the YouBooth curated by James Zisa Attorneys.

Photo by Ben Minor.

Creative direction and styling by Jess James, makeup by Tess Wheatley for Trish McEvoy, furniture and props from Decades of Decor, hair by Steve Ward of Steven Ward Hair, photo by Ben Minor.

The event will be catered by 125 South, who will provide light nibbles. The Fortunate Glass and The Tasting Room in downtown Wilmington will offer wine tastings throughout the night. Plus, James’s husband, mixologist and Devour magazine (encore’s sister foodie mag) contributor Joel Finsel of Astral Craft Cocktails, will be working with moonshine purveyors Midnight Moon to create a signature cocktail called “Silver Fox” for the event.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of this for so long, and I’m excited that I have a loyal following of people that like to come to my events,” James says. “It’s a great way to spread the word, as they have a great experience and share it with their friends.”


The Spring Fashion Preview

Bakery 105, corner of South Front St. and Orange St.

Wednesday, April 22, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $25

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