Costume Drama recap

Last night’s Costume Drama fashion show, part of Asheville Community Theatre‘s weeklong DramaRama fundraiser, cannot be described as anything other than a success. It was the first year for this event, and planners hope it will become an annual occurrence. Straight out of the gate, the fashion show sold out the Renaissance Hotel ballroom (more than 300 seats). There was a waiting list for those wanting to get in after tickets sold out, and the show started just a little bit late due to the frenzy in the lobby.

The runway show was emceed by Tom Chalmers and Rachelle Roberts, and DJed by Matthew Brown. Designers entered in the categories of paper, features, flowers and tape (some entered in multiple categories), with the idea that the resulting dress would be fashioned from the material of the category (allowing for other materials to be used as structure). Each vote cost a $1, which was then donated to ACT, and the designer who raised the most cash in each category became a finalist (winning amount: $250). The “best in show” winner was decided by popular vote.

The event raised more than $7,000 for the local theater. “We did not expect this one event to come anywhere close to Divalicious,” says ACT marketing director Jenny Bunn. Divalicious was ACT’s former annual fundraiser which, Bunn says, depending on the year, raised anywhere from $11,000 to about $40,000. At $7,000, Costume Drama is off to a great start, and DramaRama still has five more days to go. “It blew the lid off what we’d estimated,” says Bunn.

She adds, “To have a lot of people buying tickets o an ACT event who we don’t normally see at ACT is also a big deal.”

The fashion show winners were: Juniper Cooper and Joti Marra in the paper category; Tesla Jamieson in the feathers category; Carly Robbins with Blossoms at Biltmore Park in flowers; Luc Clerici in tape. Clerici is a 10-year-old designer, but he was not the only young person in the competition: 12-year-old Mr. Twister made and modeled his own chicken costume from colored duct tape.

Best in show went to Jamieson. Her model, Tess Miller, is a longtime summer camper at ACT, says Bunn, so that win was especially fun for the theater company.

The evening also brought a mystery: Designer Liz White, whose paper dress composed of Mountain Xpress back issues was featured predominantly in Costume Drama previews, was notably absent from the runway show. Reports have White and her model back stage (in dress and make up) pre-show, but the two vanished before the event began.

Read the full list of designers and models below, and watch the slideshow.

• Tylor Mcconkey for Bobbin Weave; Model: Hillary Johnson
• Patti Maxwell; Model: Marlowe Frye
• Juniper Cooper and Joti Marra; Model: Kim Quick
• Jen Swearington of Jennythreads; Model: Leah Donatelli
• Amy Sawyer and Tawnya Watts; Model: Beth Kearney
• Aurora Moulin; Model: Aurora Moulin

• Royal Peasantry; Model: Charlene Fidelia
• Angela Kane with 80 Watt Studios; Model: Heather Kinlaw
• Tesla Jamieson; Model: Tess Miller
• Kristina Benshoff with Provocation Designs; Model: Holly Noel Freeman
• Sarah Lambert with Uber Kio; Model: Sherri Bell

• Carly Robbins with Blossoms at Biltmore Park; Model: Cady Barrett
• Giny Speaks; Model: Rachel Thomas Levy
• Daniella Miller of Royal Peasantry; Model: Rikki Walker
• Susan Sertain of The Costume Shoppe; Model: Sarah Merrell
• Sheila Thibodeaux; Model: Alisha Jenna Hawthorne
• Amy Kispert; Model: Malana Green
• Mary Lou Marsh of Spiritex; Model: Susanne Morris

• Luc Clerici; Model: Gretchen Elizabeth Chandler
• Sandra Harvey; Model: Chloe Owens
• Charles Josef; Model: Hannah Renee Capps
• Stina Anderson; Model: Trecy Lois Bergen
• Mr. Twister; Model: Mr. Twister
• Alcora Gardner; Model: Caroline Miller
• Dawn Puryear; Model: Hannah Conway


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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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