The annual Little Black Dress Gala benefiting the Help Change My City Alliance was recently held at the regal and historical Vancouver Art Gallery. As someone in the industry, I had heard about this Gala, read about the event at every turn on social media, and had been asked to walk their runway, so I knew it was ‘The Event’ that everyone looked forward to.
HCMC does so much for communities throughout the city, but has also become the perfect platform for emerging designers to showcase their collections through this gala and a whole lot of teamwork.
Backstage, the circus unfolds with hair and makeup station set up, models are being fitted (then re-fitted), busy coordinators with clipboards directing everything. A familiar scene of chaotic beauty that I always welcome, especially when it is for a worthy cause. Greetings were exchanged as reunions were made. I was pleased to catch up with two fellow models who had recently returned from a contract in Milan. Ira Maslenikava and Kara Zhang always make any backstage waiting area joyful with their never-ending laughter and comedic moments. They are two (of a few) that learnt to never take this job too seriously.
Quickly I run into another familiar face, that of the uber-talented Ukraine model-turned backstage/runway coordinator, Kseniia Lieontieva. After 13 years experience in the industry, Kseniia was clearly proud to be a part of the behind the scenes production. Speaking of Ukrainian’s, one of the showing designers was Tetyana Golota, who had recently shown her traditional pieces with elaborate floral headpieces at Eco Fashion week. Other amazing designers included local faves Connally McDougall and Jennifer Kappler, Adella Zeller, Caroline Cho, and so many more.
In the modeling world, we hear ‘hurry up and wait’ all the time, but at the LBD Gala I did anything but wait! Curious by nature, I had to see more of what was happening around me as was so much going on. All designers were packed backstage with their latest collections, performers were prepping their dance sequences and practicing their vocals, and some were fine-tuning instruments. There was even the quad of stilt performers rehearsing their walks. Not quite the Cirque du Soleil but definitely with all the sights, sounds and excitement.
I was modeling for Ashley Parker line of Coidlyn Wight. This innovate, slow fashion designer thoughtfully constructs unisex apparel that is both attainable and sustainable. Keeping up with the theme of noir attire, our looks were complete with the Hold&Carry Bags by Cianda Bourrel. Our runway was in the shape of a backwards ‘L’ that ran all along the bottom floor of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
We would be walking to the mixes of DJ Chloe Morgan, not stopping to pose until the very end. With a strut that felt like it went on forever, I relished every moment on the runway for these designers who deserved every second to show the audience what they were capable of. They showed 27 collections back to back!
The Little Black Dress is Everywhere!
Unlike the gorgeous and generous patrons in their LBD’s, we models were there to work and did not have the luxury to stay for the remainder of the evening. As the circus packed up the feeling of success was obvious and after some last minute posing for final photos, we said good night.
For more information about how the Help Change My City Alliance and the Little Black Dress Gala brings together the hearts of our growing community, which includes a diverse crowd such as business owners and executives, entrepreneurs, lawyers, educators, medical professionals, first responders, the local art community, single parents and community influencers, click on the link above.
The professional photography, courtesy the Little Black Dress Gala, by Arjun Mallick Photography.