Suppose it is August 17, 2015 and you are the designer for Chalina Couture and Chalina Swimwear. You have come from Paris to Las Vegas at great expense to show your collections at Fashion Week Las Vegas, and after you arrive you find that Fashion Week has been cancelled. You are alone, away from your family in a city where the only people you know have just disappointed you, you don’t speak the language well, have no transportation, and staying in the hotel at your own expense is costly. Then two people you don’t know contact you with a suggestion: “stick around, spend more of your money on hotels, we will put on a free fashion show for you with media coverage and it will be wonderful.” What do you do?
Well, if you don’t fall over in a fit of laughter at the sheer audacity of the idea you might ask some questions:
“Do you have a place to put on this show?” No.
“Do you have any budget for the show?” No.
“Do you have you an organization behind you that has put on multi-designer fashion shows before?” No.
“Do you have models lined up?” No.
“Makeup artists and hair stylists?” No.
“Food and beverages for the crew and attendees?” No.
“Production assistants?” No.
“Media committed to attend?” No.
“So why should I spend that time and money to take that risk?” Because it will be wonderful. Trust us.
At that point the reasonable thing to do would be to just put the whole idea off to the ravings of a couple of crazy Americans, pack your bags and go home. No way could they pull that off. And quite a few of the designers scheduled for Fashion Week Las Vegas did just that. It took an enormous leap of frankly unjustified faith to do otherwise.
Stevie Boi did otherwise. He was a designer with star power, scheduled to be a headliner at Fashion Week Las Vegas. His career is solid. He didn’t need to support some upstart group with no track record and no budget. But he did it anyway. So did Shy Figaro, Atzi Headwear and IShinenSparkle Jewelry by Elena Pineda. But of course Elena would; she was one of those crazy Americans who thought she could pull off a miracle.
Those commitments from designers came in on Wednesday and Thursday after the remarkable generosity of Shane O’Neal, who committed his SON Studio to the cause, became known. Kristen Pock (the other crazy American) and Elena Pineda then had the problem of putting together what they promised to deliver – in three days, with no budget. It had taken enormous faith in the talent and generosity of the people of Las Vegas to believe they would find good folks willing to give up their Saturday night to support this effort.
A core team of supporters was in place, including Lori Lee Samson, who rustled up media and community support as well as some production assistants and money out of her own pocket. Louisa Voisine provided hats to accent Shy Figaro’s clothing and helped as a back-stage organizer. The local media came on board: either it was going to be a train wreck or a great success, and either one made for a story. Cheryl Lowthorp of BSV Models sent five of her girls, and in addition to providing an excellent model, The Model Factory provided still pictures and video of the event. The UNLV DECA organization promised production assistants.
Calls were made by the producers. People responded and panic set in because it actually began to look like it could be made to happen, there was an enormous amount of work required to bring it together, and just three days to do it. Work they did – and it came together. The crazy Americans, it seemed, weren’t so crazy after all.
At the appointed time of 7:00 PM on Saturday, August 22, MC Asia Jade began the introductions, and less than two and a quarter hours later six full fashion shows involving eight designers, 23 models and six makeup and hair artists had walked the runway to the clear appreciation of the large crowd who attended. Chalina Couture and Swimwear were among the shows that night. She had taken that leap of faith, and it had paid off.
Letty Lopez, one of the makeup artists, summed it up later in a facebook post: “Thank you so much for the opportunity and the kind words! You were a rock star in all you did for this incredible event! Loved working with a great crew of talented, hard-working individuals to make it the success it turned out to be!”
And from Kristen Pock: “We could not have imagined the possibility of being able to pull this off if it weren’t for all the love & support we received along the way, up until this point. I am eternally grateful to all of you.”
The show required the generous participation of many people. They deserve huge credit for having faith in the Las Vegas community and skill at what they do which made it a success. In addition to the media people who supported this show, they include:
Venue and video support:
Louisa Voisine Millinery
Rhinestones & Razor Blades
Hair and make up artists:
Wendy Ryan Shelton
Leticia Cecilia Lopez
UNLV DECA volunteers: