Vogue’s “visionaries” for charity

Student fashion show raises $55,000 for charity

The fashion show set an event record for fundraising.
The fashion show set an event record for fundraising.
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Running from March 1 to 3, the 21st annual Vogue Charity Fashion Show (VCFS) strutted down the Grand Theatre’s runway to meet their donation goal of raising $55,000 for mental health in Kingston.

Going towards Kingston’s branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), this year’s proceeds mark the largest donation the group has made to date – exceeding the 2017 donation of $53,000 to Camp Trillium.

“We’re really lucky that we partnered with CMHA, and that we chose a charity to donate to that everyone is affected by, whether it’s through yourself or through a family member or through a friend,” co-president Alex Young, Con’ed ’19, said. “We wanted to choose something that really touched the hearts of everyone here at Queen’s and in the Kingston community.”

“Ticket sales definitely help[ed] out for that final donation number, and with the Grand there are 750 seats, and every single one of those proceed go straight to the CMHA,” Young added.

On top of the sold-out shows, co-charity head Olivia Folick, Comm ’19, said this year saw additional sources of revenue for the organization. These included various fundraising events and the introduction of a VCFS men’s calendar.

Hired in second semester of last year, the executive team has been working since March of 2017 to prepare for this weekend. One of the creative directors, Zelia Bukhari, Artsci ’18, was thrilled to see the year’s worth of work payoff over the weekend.

"We've put in at least a couple thousand plus hours into this show," Bukhari said. “Knowing we're combining our love for creativity and the arts with charity, such a fundamental aspect that drives us to do the best we can each day is inspiring to me."

Photo by Nicole Langfield

Annually pertaining to a new theme, the VCFS this year paid tribute to “Visionaries” — eight cultural icons that guided the evening’s display of entertainment and fashion.

The show opened with a collection inspired by Fred Astaire, a classic film star and influential singer and dancer. The piece balanced Astaire’s signature style of tap dancing with contemporary music and fashion styles.

Next came a collection of fashion design, choreography and music that paid tribute to artist Frida Kahlo. The presentation brought an airy glimpse of nature to the stage as the dancers’ movements mimicked birds chirping on the sound system. The choice was deeply appropriate for Kahlo’s artistic tendencies, which often included nature as a prime influence.  

A section inspired by photographer Petra Collins offered a bright and vibrant follow-up. The unique addition to the program was matched to music that had the audience dancing along from their seats, with collections of upbeat remixes of pop songs like Lorde’s “Ribs” and more. The first act closed with the night’s standout “Visionary”, inspired by the singer Cher, presenting fashion designs by Julianna Nemeth, Comm ’19. Nemeth captured Cher’s fearless attitude through her unique, risqué designs and challenging patterns.

The final act before intermission brought the show’s renowned men’s dance, an opportunity for the men of the show to display their talents to the audience without shirts, dancing to Sisqo’s “Thong Song” in a truly memorable performance.

Following intermission, the presentation of Visionaries resumed with a tribute to director Tim Burton, who was showcased fantastically in a creepy and elegant collection of dances, fashion and song. The models sported stripes and safety pins, and the musical performance presented a hauntingly beautiful version of The Lumineers’ song “Dead Sea.”

The following visionary, Lupita Nyong’o, was represented with a gorgeous collection of flowing dresses, all of which captured the effortless beauty the actress displays. The elegant simplicity of the line allowed each model to reflect Nyong’o’s unique sensibilities.

Model Kate Moss received a tribute that was perfectly punk rock, with just enough Nirvana and leather to have the crowd feeling feisty.

After the renowned lingerie line, the show closed with Alexander McQueen, designed by Brie Miklaucic, Sci ‘20. McQueen was famous for his dangerously-dressed models, captured successfully by Miklaucic in her unique line. The models were in an array of red velvet, floral patterns or stripes, each piece offering something new of its own.

Co-creative director Aleksandra Uzelac, Artsci ’18, voiced her pride for the weekend’s performances.

“Everyone involved in the production took our creative vision and brought it to life in their own, unique way. Seeing everyone’s creativity expressed was a pleasure and made this role very gratifying,” Uzelac said.

“Overall, the passion the cast and crew have for VCFS and raising money for the [CMHA] contributes immensely to the quality of the performances and designs you see on the stage, and I wouldn’t trade the opportunity to be involved with the show for anything else.”

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