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Mass Appeal nails it as the fashion event of the year

Mass Appeal 2011

blog by Kathryn Przybyla  • 

I’ve been in a long-term and committed relationship with fashion for as long as I can remember. There are few things I find more thrilling than attending a showroom opening for a new collection in New York City (last summer) or receiving my latest issue of Vogue (yesterday) via snail mail. So when I got the chance to cover the Mass Appeal fashion event hosted by the Elmwood Village Association, I jumped at the chance.

Taking place at the Lafayette Presbyterian Church, the location was extensively transformed into a chic setting complete with a glossy white runway for the models to strut their stuff. Lit up chandeliers complemented the strategically arranged pews, which acted as rows of aisles for attendees. Prior to the show, the VIP party was held upstairs on the second floor of the church where some guests were treated as “very important persons.”

Marcy Washburn, Kara Oliver, Katie Huber and Emily Graves—all of Buffalo, were a little disappointed with the VIP party. After only arriving 20 minutes late, the girls complained that they were told that the swag bags had already ran out and even worse, the bar had also ran out of champagne. The horror! Despite they fact that were lacking a few freebies, the girls were still optimistic about the event. They recommended I try the Chalupas (sponsored by Taco Bell), fresh mozzarella appetizers and mini-cheesecake slices at the snack table located in the center of the room before I went downstairs for the show. Not exactly “model friendly” foods, but who can say no to fun-sized taco?

The scene downstairs was a whole different atmosphere. Runway music filled the room with a pretty intense bass that really seemed to rev up the audience as the countdown to the show began. The outside pews, that were for general admission seating, had been packed for over an hour with people trying to get a good view of the center runway. Attendees from the VIP party were the last to take their seats, causing the show to begin about 20 minutes late, but once the lights dimmed and the committee chairs came on stage, everyone got excited.

(Don’t forget to read along with Buffalo.com’s photo album from the event to get a visual perspective of all the designs from Friday night!)

Justin Azzarella (Executive Director of the Elmwood Village Association), Wendy Sanders (Chair of Mass Appeal) and Erin Habes (Mass Appeal producer) thanked everyone for their support and seemed to be giddy with excitement that their night was finally here. It was evident when Habes grabbed a full bottle of champagne from an attendee in the front row and proceeded to gulp her last nerves away, that this had been quite the show to plan. Wait—I thought they ran out of sparkling wine?

A video montage kicked off the show depicting the theme of “transformation” perfectly. Dancers from the Configuration School of Ballet were made-up to what looked like little woodland nymphs and played up the earthy and natural feel of the entire show. The first group of looks consisted of outfits and styles presented by the Elmwood Village Boutiques. Here are some highlights from the local vendors:

Lotions & Potions
- Tousled low side ponytails on the models proved to be one of the most chic hairstyle looks of the night—not to mention the most wearable.
- The gold flake eye make-up on the last couple models were the highlight of Lotions & Potions collection and very pretty.

Half & Half
- The teased up hair on the models added some serious volume and looked highly inspired by a bird’s nest complete with random twigs.
- A very earthy undertone was the theme for Half & Half’s collection and was reiterated with a few bone necklaces.

Urban Threads
- While the ready-to-wear looks were appealing, Urban Threads lacked any sort of theme with their collection.
- Some styles included 50’s dresses, bandage dresses, a snowboarder and Kiss 98.5’s Janet Snyder walking a distracted bulldog down the runway.

MS Eye Candy
- Sheer blouses and subtle animal prints proved successful for the MS Eye Candy collection—it was almost a rendition of “sexy business casual.”
- Kudos to the hair stylists who created pseudo faux-hawks by braiding the sides of the models hair and teasing the middle section upwards.

Second Chic
- A more conservative business casual look seemed to trend throughout the Second Chic collection with vintage inspired dresses.
- The winner of this group was a black and silver sequined dress that lit up the entire room as soon as it hit the spotlights—perfect for New Year’s Eve.

Anna Grace
- The Anna Grace collection began with a ballet dancer in pointe shoes performing on the runway in what looked to be a chic and simple black dress.
- High necklines and short dresses took over the runway with another dose of “bird’s nest inspired” hair complete with branches and woven nests.

Splash Panic
- The street chic style of this collection was a simple and effortless look complete with comfy sweaters and long charmed necklaces.
- The model’s walked to Amy Winehouse’s rendition of “Valerie”, which was a nice change in tone from the house music that had dominated the night.

Next up for the show were the collections of local T-shirt designers from the Buffalo area. People might have assumed this section would have been the least creative of the show, but they proved otherwise with their unique take on America’s favorite fashion piece—the cotton T-shirt.

- With pin-up inspired looks that complemented their shirt designs, the EuroStyle models rocked short-shorts with their graphic T’s.
- Red lipstick and tattooed legs were also a common trend to this collection. 

Positive Approach
- Another dog was walked down the runway for the Positive Approach designs. It was cute, but I still don’t know why it was there.
- Mostly menswear was showcased for this designer and with a pretty bad-ass look, these “BFLO” hoodies and shirts screamed rock ‘n’ roll.

- The combination of unique patterns and strategically made this collection the most creative when it came to shirt designs.
- Plaids were definitely the stand out pieces of Derailleur and made for a cool and updated look to a regular button down.

Celebrate Buffalo
- The most widely recognizable local T-shirt brand showcased some dark shirts printed with fluorescent yellow, pink, orange, and blue to name a few.
- The Gaga inspired looking make up was also a hit with red lightning bolts painted down the faces of some models —“Just Dance” video anyone?

Definitely the most awaited part of the fashion show, the local designers got to show what they can do for the third part of Mass Appeal. Such an eclectic group with many different inspirations and ideas, the local designers really put out a great show of their own original looks and styles.

- Long and slicked back ponytails complemented these local designers looks perfectly and kept all the focus on the clothes.
- Faux fur paired with leather pieces led to an interesting combination and Channel 2 News anchor Maryalice Demler even made a model appearance.

Jenna Murray
- The “Before and After” pics of the models that were projected onto the backdrop of the runway was an incredibly creative idea—a nice switch up.
- Mostly menswear was showcased for the Jenna Murray collection with dapper gentlemen complete with suspenders, ties and suit jackets.

Sai One
- Hands down the most insane collection of the night, models wore black masks covering their entire head with red mohawks made out of feathers.
- What really took the cake was a male model rocking taped together, leather looking, ass-less chaps booty shorts that made all the cougars go wild. 

Tony Bruce
- The hipster chic look of Tony Bruce was a great combination of plaids and stripes fused together with leather and lace.
- Dark red lips and printed tights went well with the hardcore collection—very ready-to-wear as well.

Once Vintage
- Some pretty crazy hair was going on for Once Vintage including animal horns, what looked to be a small palm tree and a Daniel Boone raccoon hat.
- The outfits were stellar though when it came to structure and style. They had great lines and angles, but the head wear was a little distracting.

- After speaking with attendees after the show, Anatomy was hands-down the all over favorite designer of the night.
- Incredibly wearable and expensive looking dresses were especially detailed, yet had a certain simplicity that won over the room.

Finally, for the most creative portion of the show, local businesses got a chance to create wearable art that was clearly a great ending to Mass Appeal. The audience cheered loudest for these looks, mostly out of surprise and having no idea what kind of look or outfit would walk out from behind the runway curtain.

We Never Close/Vitaminwater Zero
- This collared dress was made entirely out of Vitaminwater labels and gave off a nice shape from being woven in and out.
- The model’s bright pink bangs also played off the colors featured on the dress.

Abraham’s Jewelers
- From what looked like to be a play of the dimensions of a cut diamond, the model rocked a metal outline of a dress with chain straps.
- She hobbled down the runway exceptionally well for wearing hard metal that looks to be wrapped close to her knees.

- The olive oil shop went all out and provided the model with a loopy straw that wrapped around her and found it’s way into one of their bottles—genius.
- She even looked like a bottle of oil with a shiny green long dress and shiny skin as well. They definitely stayed true to their company with this look.

The Treehouse Toy Store
- One of the more colorful looks of the night, this model was rocking clown make up with an outfit made completely out of balloons.
- Not very creative when it came to the build of the look, but when she released a few balloons that flew into the audience, everyone was amused.

Can Can Candy
- By far the most structurely complicated look of the night, this dress was composed of what looked to be thousands of gumballs sewn together.
- Rumored to be around 26 pounds, this floor-length gown was ridiculous and had people talking the rest of the night.

Palladian Health
- The premier sponsors of Mass Appeal, Palladian Health designed a simple and chic looking gold dress with an asymmetrical gold lamé bottom.
- The outline of the look was very sharp and a classy design to end the night. The model’s sparkling gold shoes were my favorite footwear.

Overall, the show was a great success. The ability for these local vendors and designers to have a place to show their collections is really an incredible opportunity that is rare in this area. Following the show, all guests were invited to attend the official Mass Appeal after-party located upstairs of the church. Liz Lozier and Amy Klockowski of Buffalo, were hanging out at the after party and can’t wait to get tickets to next year’s event. Both agreed that Anatomy had the best designs of the night, although D’Avolio’s rendition of an olive oil bottle stuck out in their minds as well.

Take a look at some of my favorite wearable art looks from the show in this video re-cap!


TAGGED: elmwood village, fashion show, local designers, mass appeal, runway, style, wearable art

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  1. Erica Morano November 21, 2011 @ 8:19pm

    Very nice recap!

    Erica Morano's avatar