Project Red Dress: The Fashion Show / by Kamie Chang Kahlo

The winning dress by Rebecca Beesley! Photo by Sean Watson

My good friend Sean Watson and I arrived at the Fairmont hoping for a night of elegant fashion to match the opulent hotel. A petite set of stairs carried us to cocktails and flashbulbs. “May I take your photo?” an event photographer asked.

“Of course!” I kindly replied. Apparently we looked liked something special. I wore a lace mini dress that I found at Queen Anne Dispatch, some darling little lace-up boots and Sean was kind enough to lend me a black necklace he had at his studio. Mr. Watson looked smashingly current in a fabulous pinstriped shirt and blazer. Attendees dressed to impress in their sexy one-shoulder dresses, cute vintage frocks and elegant cocktail dresses. With all the best dressed, it was certain that we would run into a friend or two and we did.

As we perused the giant sketches from the eleven contestants, we saw Luly Yang. Luly has a beautiful shop in the Fairmont with delicious formals for that oh-so-special occasion. I remembered that the last fashion show I attended at the Fairmont was, in fact, Luly Yang’s. A very dear friend of mine has worked along side this local celebrity for years.

Project Runway Season 5 alumni Blaine and his entourage were there as attendees. He typically dresses one of his girls in a wildly original creation complete with accessories. Have to say- love the shoes girl! Were those his too? They weren’t neon so, hmmm?

Of course, Nick Verreos from Project Runway Season 2 was also present as he was one of the judges. His faux-hawk was particularly perky that evening but not as perky as the MC Notorious Portland Drag Queen Poison Waters arrived in diva-style with feathers, sequins and stacked ‘petite’ 14 heels. All of them took their place along side Seattle Met’s Laura Cassidy in front of the logo wall. Sean and I snuck a photo in of me while they weren’t looking. Shhhh.

Good lookin people. Photo by Sean Watson

The show took place on a long well-lit runway. I wondered if they could not have turned down the house lights a little; such beautiful surroundings but very little drama. Except of course from Poison Waters who managed to get a few chuckles out of me. Each judge was introduced and took their turn down the runway as well as each designer. Psst. Rehearsing is always good. Except if you're Mr. Verreos who most definitely doesn't need any runway instruction, he seemed born for the job!

Designers, the lovely Monir Zandghoreishi, judges and a cute pooch! Photo by Sean Watson

Finally, the show. As each model came slowly, slowly, ever so slowly... I checked out the corner where the designers were biting their nails, you know, I was trying to guess whose dress belonged to who. But, they were all so nervous, I couldn't get a read.


After the 11 models took their places backstage again and Ms. Waters spoke with each designer who then explained their design inspirations, Poison spoke with a few of the judges which felt more like staling. Ever the impatient one I just wanted to know who won!

There were a couple of competitions, people's choice and the judges' pick. We all had little slips of paper with the design numbers on them so we could vote for our favorites. Clearly I have some very different taste. I liked number three by Jordan- it was original but also reminded me of something that Miss Marie Antoinette might wear today, poofy drama. Love, love.

Everyone else, audience and judges preferred Rebecca Beesley's sophisticated take on architecture. (Personally, I think I was having a prom flashback. It looked a little too much like me and my mother's emerald green creation, my Apollonia moment.) Congratulations to all of the designers, your elegant fashion did indeed fit the opulent surroundings!

10 creations from the competing designers. Photo by Sean Watson