"Under Paris" skies . . . or, at least, on legally French soil . . . beau and I attended the "Fashion of Goodwill" event at the French Embassy last night. The event was comprised of a silent auction of about 100 carefully selected items that had been donated to Goodwill donation centers over the last year and a fashion show made up of outfits, shoes and accessories that were also donated.
Honestly, when I first heard about the concept, I was interested, but didn't know what to expect. In the end, the show blew me away. Tu-anh, from Polished by Tu-anh, and her team of stylists, did an amazing job styling the outfits to be so very current that you might have thought you were in a "best trends of NY fashion week" show at several points. We were treated to a lot of the retro-hip "Mad Men" early-60s silhouettes that are so prominent this Fall (fur accents, sheath dresses, feminine shapes, Asian influences, luxe metallics, hats, camel coats . . .).
For me, the most unexpected moment of the evening came when Catherine Meloy, President & CEO of Goodwill of Greater Washington, announced at the end of the show that all the modeled looks would be available for sale immediately after the show in the lobby. My notes say: "Ladies, rev up your credit cards." And rev up the credit cards they did. There was a bit of initial mayhem as savvy fashionistas pursued the racks being wheeled from the back of the stage, angling to catch sight of their targeted item. (Oh, wait. Maybe that was just me . . .) In any case, I found the dress I was hunting for immediately and, politely - yet with a determined air - ignored the woman who was holding the other end of the hanger. I had the top, and therefore, a significantly better grip, so there was really no discussion to be had. ; )
Here is the dress I lucked out on:
The still photo really does not do justice to how the light played with the beading and how the fabric swooshed and swayed. As one woman described it (in a ladies’ room post-show chat), it is a killer dancing dress.
The event was also a rendezvous of sorts for various DC-based fashion-friendly bloggers, all invited by the Goodwill Fashionista, whose meticulous selections from Goodwill stores were featured throughout the show and in the silent auction (um, if you haven’t figured it out from reading her blog, she works for Goodwill). Although I did not have a chance to meet all the bloggers that were there - or even chat for more than a few moments with any of the ones I did meet (or anyone for that matter - as good parties usually go) – they were definitely the most stylish bunch in the place. If you haven't already, check out their blogs/sites: Pandahead, Listopad, The President Wears Prada, Brightest Young Things. One of my other favorite bloggers was there (the Anti-DC) - and, you know, she is much sweeter than her slighty caustic- always funny blog would lead you to believe. She hovered as long as I did amongst the racks (most of the other folks had departed already).
It was nice to be at a fashion event that emphasized individual style and an eco-friendly approach to fashion . Although I am sure some of the stylish women in attendance had purchased their evening frocks from Neiman's or Saks (Jandel, that is), many were obviously wearing vintage ensembles, maintaining the theme of the evening. As one of the speakers before the runway show noted, the "House of Goodwill" was out in style last night. It was so very exciting for me to see the amazing looks that had been put together for the evening because that is very much what this blog is about – being true to your style by curating your wardrobe from vintage, secondhand and, yes, sometimes, new items. Not just haphazardly purchasing whatever the next trend is or buying clothing and accessories to fill emotional voids . . . but, really, truly developing your individual style, one well-made piece at a time. Also, as I noted to one of the marketing folks last night, as more and more consumers become excited about the idea of buying secondhand and vintage items (for environmental, financial or fashion reasons), Goodwill can fill an important market niche. And because many stores (especially in metropolitan areas) get a great variety of high-end and everyday items, Goodwill can target a different consumer than I think they have before - for higher revenues, which go directly to helping those in need with job training support. Everyone wins!!
So, without further ado, here are some moments from last night festivities. For ALL the pictures, click here and here (with thanks to Mark Silva Photography).
(note French Accent).