Monday, August 23, 2010

Backstage With SavannahRed

How often do you get to see what goes on behind the scenes of a fashion show up close and personal? Unless you're a model, designer, hair stylist, or makeup artist, the chances are that your seat has been on the other side of the stage.  Lucky for y'all, my friend and local designer, Anslee Connell of SavannahRed volunteered to give us a behind the curtain look at what goes on before a fashion show.   Here are Anslee's thoughts on the "Texas A State of Fashion" show which was held at none other than the Capitol building during this year's Austin Fashion Awards...

I’m not just your average clothing designer.  I create fun, funky, vibrant, and dare I say well fitting, pieces of art that fit ladies of the curvy variety.  I'm here to give you a glimpse of what we do when we get ready for shows (and perhaps some glimpses of things we shouldn’t do).

Anslee Connell (me!) of SavannahRed in the process of getting my makeup done by Coby Simcoe before the show!
Photo taken by Cathie Hutchins.

To kick us off with a note of honesty, I wasn’t completely prepared the day of as I had one whole dress to create for my 3-piece collection. [Read: Stressed out.]  It was my 3rd show this week and my 2nd show with my handbag designer, Cathie Hutchins of Austin Yarn Company. Cathie and I created some really fun looks for Austin Museum of Art’s Keep Austin Beautiful Recycled Fashion Show, so I knew A State of Fashion would be a cinch because Cathie is just that talented.

Also, I really wanted to use my hair and makeup team, Nancy Rankin and Maris Malone Calderon, respectively, from our Austin Fashion Week Mash-up Team Sweet Sonsie. They really rocked it out, and in record time! I was really impressed with how quickly and flawlessly they worked. From the same team, the ever-so-lovely Tralynza Conley was kind enough to model for me along with fellow Austin Fashion Week Model, Spruce Dickerson, and my friend and model Dollie Hodges. This collection of incredibly talented, very kind women really enabled my line to be represented the best it could be. I couldn’t have asked for a better group for this show.

The anticipation for this show had been building since the first email went out from organizer Malissa Long of Malissa Long Wear.  I wasn’t sure what I would design, but it all came together at the last minute.  I looked at my dresses before everyone else came into my apartment to get ready and realized I had accidentally created a wedding dress.  (Chiffon + lace + something shiny-like = wedding dress. Who knew?!) Granted, we made it look a little less I-do-y than it does by itself by show time, but I’ve got to give myself some props for rocking out a wedding dress in one day!

When we got to the Capitol everyone seemed a bit too quiet. (Actually, they seemed angry, but that could just be me.) It was the first time I had ever been inside the capitol building so I was really excited, plus it was show day and that generates enough excitement on its own. The room was really long and narrow and with a looooong table down the middle, making it a bit inconvenient for fabulous-making and moving around.   But it was really cool to be on the 3rd floor because the view of downtown was incredible! It wasn’t as hot in there like backstage usually is for a show [Read: I’d rather be in Hell.]  People also weren’t going crazy like they should have been.  It was actually kind of calm, and I think that was because of the air conditioning.  Mad love to the capitol building.

See all the nice people who get paid to frisk us! 
FlipVideo by SavannahRed.

Here is a snippet of the "backstage" with models, designers, hair and makeup all doing their things. FlipVideo taken by Dollie Hodges.

Spruce was not afraid to be the first lady in red.

 Dollie laughs as we playfully calling her dress "The Wedding Dress".

 And Tralynza is giving Josephine Baker a run for her money!

Dollie had modeled for me previously, so I wasn’t worried a bit about her walk. Also, Tralynza was on the runway for Sweet Sonsie at the Kick-off Event and I knew she was good to go. Spruce is a new model in the SavannahRed family, and I wasn’t nervous about her, but I was interested to see how she would rock it exactly. I really wanted to get her involved in at least one of the shows I was doing this week because she was the only plus size model who signed up for Austin Fashion Week that I knew of.   I felt that since I was the only plus size designer involved that this would be a perfect union. Let’s just say that Spruce can come back and model for me anytime with the rest of the beautiful ladies who worked it. I was so proud of my curvy, gorgeous friends for representing my work and Cathie’s work that I spent the better part of the next day in happy tears.

And I thought we were last minute! This little lady is getting dressed in the line-up. Oh, the fun of fashion shows! 
FlipVideo by SavannahRed.

One thing I did notice about this show was that there were significantly less designers than the original idea had included. I could not find any that were not from Austin either, so I was a bit disappointed in that. Some believe the $20 entrance fee to cover the cost was deterring (Hello, it’s the CAPITOL building!) Frankly I just think some of the others may have been too worn out to participate. Despite those factors, I believe it was a great show.  All the models from every designer looked incredible. I was really impressed with everyone.  Malissa Long worked her tiny, talented ass off! I know everyone involved was supremely appreciative and you could tell that there was a ton of work put into the entire event on all ends. With 12 designers/design teams and roughly 34 models, I would definitely call it a success.

This show was a beautiful experience, and it really topped off my participation with Austin Fashion Week this year.

Guest post by Anslee Connell
keep austin stylish


Susan said...

Anslee is beautiful inside and out, and her designs rock for the curvy fashionistas! And, yes, her red dress went home with me! Thank you, Savannahred! ♥

joanna said...

Yes Anslee is amazing. I'm so glad someone snagged that red dress! It's awesome.