The Walk at Lenox: Trends & Friends Night
I arrived at Lenox mall last Friday evening a little before six to witness the Simon Fashion Now Style Setter Runway Show. I made my way through the crowded parking lot, booming with people ready to kick-start their Friday night. Lights, Camera, Action, and the show began in front of Macy’s on the lower level of the mall. The first thing I noticed was the quality and professionalism of the models on the runway. With every stride there was an anti-blemish of infatuated perfection, elegance and charismatic. The great thing about professional modeling, is the noticeable difference in the model’s cultures. They were clearly of different origins, and it made for a wonderful display of fashion (that within itself comes from all over the globe). The walk showcased some major brands, including Ann Taylor, Rockport, Nine West, Caché, Gap, Original Penguin, Macy’s, The Limited, Steve Madden, Lacoste, Guess, Adidas, Free People, Bebe, Diesel, and Swim and Sport.
The most tremendous aspect about this catwalk was the models abilities to change into something new. There could not have been more than eight female models for each walk, yet they managed to change their clothing drastically with extremely quick speed and precision. The highlight of the night for this eager crowd of about two hundred people, was the Atlanta Human Society’s charitable production, which featured several dogs making their way down the aisle along with the models. Also in this incredible spectacle, was a chance to win several wonderful prizes. Throughout the night instant messaging could be used to win prizes. I specifically remember gift cards of $100 and $200. With that, the night was truly filled with surprises and fashion. The first two hundred attendees to sign up with Simon were also issued a “Swag Bag” with gifts from many of the catwalk clothing brands. This free event was also sponsored by Grady Hospital and The Atlantan. The city of Atlanta was the first stop on the Simon Fashion Now tour.
Jacque Ellis, the Associate Vice President of Social Events for the Simon Property Group was also the emcee for the night. At one point, she called Lenox Mall the “Mecca of Fashion.” This was her fifth year filling this position and she was spectacular. She was energetic, funny, and full of wisdom concerning the fashion world. She explained on several occasions how everything on the runway was available for purchase, from clothing to accessories. The first walk down the runway brought many genres and new styles: a pink high rise dress, white pants with a pink blouse, a long black dress with a zipper slit and a turquoise satin dress (all produced by Ann Taylor). During the show, the clothing generally went from formal to less formal; however, the male models were all in inexpensive, informal materials.
Ellis, who is also a fashion expert, felt the show went extremely well. She constantly reminds herself of some of the real satisfactions of being apart of the fashion industry. She said in an interview that night, “’One of the things I love about Simon Fashion Now is I’m always being introduced to something new. Just when you think you know everything about the retail industry they surprise me, so I can get introduced to new brands that maybe I wasn’t familiar with or a store that I thought I knew…kind of like what look they have and then they show something on the runway, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I love that! Today, my example was Crocs. I know what I think of Crocs. They had sandals and wedges, and almost canvas-like shoes – a completely different array that I wasn’t familiar with. I think that’s another place that’s constantly getting inspired.”
To say the least, Ellis is a remarkable woman, with a significant talent. I’m sure we will see a lot more of her in the near future. When asked why Lenox Mall was selected as a venue to hold this event, she exclaimed, “I think it’s fun to see how our shoppers interpret the trends. Every market’s a little different. Fashion should be fun. It’s the exclamation point on you as you walk out. Seeing the different personalities that come alive, I think I’m inspired by that. Simon Fashion Now is all about accessibility. We want to show something for everyone, so a property like Lenox allows us to.” Ellis said she and her colleagues think it’s important to connect with the consumer and they want to hear from the people that love to shop and those who love fashion. She also explained to Va Mag how important it is to get college students involved with the industry. Bauder College students showcased their designs during one part of the show and they also had students working backstage. The winner of the college fashion show was nineteen year old Adonis Austin. He loves creating bowties and cardigans, and his ultimate goal is to open up his own fashion school.
If you are reading this article, and you have never been to a professional catwalk show, I would highly recommend it. It is a great way to spend an evening. Its very upbeat and personal. Ellis explains the atmosphere perfectly, “There are some people that are very fashion savvy and go to lots of runway shows and have the chance to be in the front row, but then there are other people that love fashion, but never get that chance and this program gives them the opportunity to be up close and personal to see it. It’s so accessible – you don’t have to buy a ticket. You can save those dollars so you can go buy what you like.”
-Stan Walters, Geneva Toddy & Shantice Edwards