It's Always the Quiet One

Rambling about life, culture, Project Runway, and the occasional fruity drink.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Fashion Adventure with Kara Janx!

This is a longer version of the ‘recap’ I sent to Laura K. at Blogging Project Runway. Hope you enjoy it!

After I got hooked on Project Runway last season, I told myself that if, for some strange reason, a PR designer ever showed up in central Ohio, I was going to go meet whoever it was. Now, I wouldn't call this part of the country a fashion hotspot, so I figured that it would probably never happen. So I was very surprised to see that Kara Janx was going to be in town for a fundraiser! Unfortunately, the tickets cost more than I could afford. Imagine my further surprise when I got an email from Laura K. over at BPR asking me if I’d like to go, because Kara had graciously offered to arrange a last-minute ticket to the show! Of course I jumped at the chance. So this afternoon I dressed up, put on the fabulous Kenneth Fron necklace that I won from BPR earlier this summer, and headed downtown for the event.

The event, "Not Your Mother's Fashion Show," was a fundraiser, as I’ve said, for Women Build, a branch of Habitat for Humanity that encourages women to become more involved in the actual construction aspects of Habitat projects. The Women Build crews are all-female. The Central Ohio group has built seven houses so far, and are working on securing funding for their next home. The event consisted of a pre-show reception with little sandwiches and goodies, a local version of PR, Kara’s runway show, and a cocktail party afterwards (for those people who donated $250-$500 towards Women Build). They were also raffling off three items: framed sketches of Kara's designs, an autographed Season 2 DVD, and a clothes steamer that they purchased for the show but wouldn't need afterwards, so Kara was going to sign it also. I bought a ticket for the sketches. They were really beautiful!

When I got to the registration desk to pick up my ticket, there was a bit of confusion as they couldn’t find it listed anywhere. So one of the ladies went backstage and came out with the organizer, who apologized for not having a pass for me up front. (At this I was thinking, "they think I’m somebody important here.") They gave me a ticket, and to my complete shock, wrote “cocktail party” across the top, which meant that I was going to get to meet Kara! I hadn’t thought I would get to go to that.

I went in and took a back seat near the end of the runway, thinking that it was a good angle from which to take pictures, and waited for the show to start. I got out my little reporter’s notebook and started writing notes so I could type this up when I got home. After a few minutes, one of the organizers came up to me and said, “I’m going to move you up a bit” so I packed up my stuff and followed her across the room. She even asked me if I was a reporter and I said something dumb like, “Kind of… internet,” and she said, "Ohh."

I ended up in the second row! (One of her friends had decided to sit next to someone else so I got that lady's seat.) The woman who seated me referred to me as “one of Kara’s friends.” (I was shocked again - I probably should have corrected her but didn't.) It was a great seat, right on the aisle. About five minutes later the same woman came back and said, “I’m going to move you up to the front row” and I think I about fainted! I felt like I was getting serious VIP treatment. (They even had little paint buckets of swag - a tool kit and some other stuff - but I didn't feel right taking one.) I was sitting about where the judges on PR sit, in relation to the runway, maybe a bit closer.

The show was MC’d by Andrea Cambern, a local television journalist. She talked a bit about Women Build and Habitat. Then a lovely woman named Robin, who owns a Habitat house, got up and talked a bit about her experiences.

After that, there was the very entertaining “Project FUNway”, where four teams - made up of a local designer and a Women Build volunteer - were given ten days and a mere $75 to spend at Home Depot for materials to make an outfit based on a Women Build work site. I didn’t get very good pictures of the creations, just the backs of them, but they were very creative! The first team used black and cream colored bumpy shelf liner as a wrap, some kind of rubber-like flashing for the skirt and top, and the same kind of chains Vincent used on his “kooky hat” that appeared to be spray-painted black. They also used shelf liner to make a bag.

The second team made a dress and purse out of duct tape and clear drop cloth, with pictures of bathrooms on it (the kind they put out with the paint chips to show you what your bathroom could look like if a professional interior designer fixed it up), and jewelry made out of sink stoppers and drain covers. The third team used a bright yellow safety jacket (which is kind of blinding in the picture), painting coveralls, a clothes hamper, paint and ceiling glitter (which I’ve never heard of!). The last team’s model came out in a full-body coverall with a hood, but took it off to reveal a belly-dancing outfit made out of valances and shower hooks. (She was a wonderful belly-dancer too!)

They were all very clever designs. There were four judges with little scordcards like on PR and Team #1 was named the winner. (That's who I picked too!)

Then it was time for Kara’s show! It was amazing. She brought nineteen outfits, some of which were from her Olympus Fashion Week show. There were three of her kimono dresses (I’m going to start saving and buy one!) and a couple of her new Maya wrap skirts, one worn as a strapless babydoll dress and one worn using the straps. (Someone in the audience commented later that it would make a great maternity dress, and Kara agreed.)

She also had pants, shorts with suspenders, jackets, t-shirts, and even some screen-printed leggings, all in glorious bright colors and plaids and tweed-looking fabrics. And of course, several of the models wore the knitted caps she used at Fashion Week. It was so neat to see the garments up close and take in more of the details that you just can’t get from a picture.

After the show, Kara (looking lovely and thin in jeans, a purple t-shirt and a black cropped jacket) came out onto the runway for a little question and answer session. She answered a question about leggings (her advice: invest in a good pair, not cheap ones that ride up and get stretched out) and even brought out one of the models in the Maya skirt and showed us how to wrap it in a few different ways. She talked a bit about what it was like in the workroom (the questioner specifically asked about Santino and she said he was a really funny guy) and what it was like to be up on the runway during the judgings and dealing with the criticism. Before she left the stage, Andrea (the MC) asked her who she thought was going to win this season, and she said “Michael.”

The little cocktail party was nice – they served tiny shrimp toasts and nibbly things and free drinks, and Kara came out and chatted with people. Now, you’d never know it by reading my blog (which tends to be rather verbose), but I am a pretty shy person. I am not the type who can just go and join a group of strangers who are talking. So I ended up waiting probably an hour and a half for the chance to talk to Kara, and it was nerve-wracking! I'm sure I looked really odd just hanging out by myself in the doorway nursing my bottle of water, at a cocktail party.

In the end I had to go up and kind of interrupt her, but she was sooo nice and friendly!! I told her I was the “BPR reporter” and thanked her for the ticket. She gave me her autograph and took a photo with me, and I even got bold and gave her a hug before I left! (On the way home I kept saying out loud to myself, "Why did I do that?? Argh!!")

But I had a fabulous time, even though I was really nervous to meet her, and the ladies who were running the event were so nice to me and put on a great show. Please go check out the Women Build website!!

For those of you who live in the Columbus area, you can buy a Kara design at Substance in the Short North.


Blogger Tbone said...

Thank you TQO for a great report. You now join the exclusive ranks of the BPR field reporters. There's no pay, but the benefits are unequaled!

One day, I would love to have a Field Reporters meeting in NYC with all of our friends. Wouldn't that be fun?

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course you gave Kara a hug. She's so huggable!

And, you're pretty huggable yourself! (You look beautiful in that photo, BTW)

Women Build sounds like a wonderful organization. It's a brilliant idea to have all-women teams.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Brenda said...

Thanks for the extended report here. I loved it, by the way I can't wait to get to the Short North to get a look at what they have in stock.

1:56 PM  

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