Fashion Forward

Inspired by the Runway
By Kristian Buckner | Jul 16, 2014
Photo by: Kristian Buckner Costume designed by winner Amanda Tucker- Blossoms at Biltmore Park. Model pictured: Sarah London

Monday, July 7, I entered the Asheville Community Theatre to see a show that would inspire me beyond measures.

Costume Drama: A Fashion Show, created by director Sara Fields, awed and amazed a full audience for the third year in a row. Local designers created masterpieces by hand out of natural elements and recycled/upcycled materials to compete with each other for the ultimate prize of $500 and the title, “Best in Show,” until next year.

Upon entrance, each audience member was given a packet of voting material where they would chose their favorite in each category, Paper, Nature, Transformation and Upcycled/Recycled, and an envelope where they could cast their vote for the final winner with their dollars.

The winner of the competition would be the design that had raised the most money. Amanda Tucker took home the title this year with her design, "Blossoms at Biltmore Park," with the help of her model Sarah London. Though Tucker was the winner, all the designers helped to bring together an amazing show that raised over 10,000 dollars for Asheville Community Theatre.

The show was inspiring to me, especially as an artist and fashion enthusiast. I was shocked by what could be done with paper, or flowers, or even dolls. All the costumes were made with painstaking detail that blew my mind. Many audience members including myself had a very difficult time voting because, in the words of a viewer, “They’re all so different and beautiful.”

The atmosphere was cozy, and had an upbeat and upscale feel, which was accented by the lighting done by Adam Cohen, and the mixing done by the DJ, Dylan Skidmore. Of course, the emcees, who had great on-stage chemistry, Katie Kasben and Scottie McCall, got the party started and kept the audience interested and laughing. There was also a musical guest, Aaron Price, who kept the crowd entertained while the final ballots were being counted.

During a brief intermission, I snuck backstage to chat with some of the designers and models. While many of the models were checking their phones, and others were wishing they could sit down, all of them were buzzing in discussion about how they were having a blast with the show.

Designers were checking on their models while some models spoke about how they were glued or sewn in to the elaborate designs that morning; and there was a mother who was modeling in the show spoke proudly about her daughter who was modeling a different design, and how well she had done.

As the show drew to a close, the anticipation could be felt in the audience. Finally when the winner’s name was called, with much excitement Amanda Tucker went to the stage to join her model. After the show, I spoke to Tucker about her design and the show. This was the first time she had ever created a dress, but she works every day as a floral designer for Biltmore.

She used the materials that she uses on a daily basis to become the foundation for a winning costume. “I lost count of how many hours I spent on this design. I read a lot of books on hat making,” said Tucker about her preparation for the event. “I get to design every day, I would like to make more dresses,” she said after I mentioned to her that perhaps this was her calling.

Overall, I am overjoyed that I got to participate in an event that elicited creativity and imagination. Although I am not sure that I could be one of the designers or models, I know I will definitely be returning next year to see what else Asheville has to offer.