It was Saturday morning March 22, 2014 as I pulled up a seat at a bistro-style table, awaiting for a fashion show themed for the Great Gatsby.
I was able to get a seek peek of the models behind the scenes. I examine the gowns, suits, and dresses that were on the mark with the era and the costumes of the movie released in 2013. The runway room was dark with white accents brimming the edges. It was very film noir.
The room slowly fills with eager eyes, as the anticipation built for show time.
The clothing worn were created by different designers, leading me to believe that this fashion show was more of a showcase of novitiate fashion talents, rather than designs.
"You are the Evolution manager, right?" I ask Locked Semaphore.
He confirms his managerial status with a yes. Bingo! I had come to the right man. I was curious about Evolution, as I have never heard of the fashion brand.
Locked happily acquiesced, more than glad to relinquish whatever information he could about the brand. So, I naturally asked "What is Evolution?"
Locked answers, "We started as just "Opium" - a fashion agency - but we always did more that runway type shows".
Just as I had figured. He then continues, “more like stage productions - usually based on a book or movie theme".
I was still curious about the fashion agency, but my curiosity was more focused on whether the agency educated their models; Locked stated, "We still maintain educational classes - but mostly for our in-house models". This meant that there is an education component, but the focus was more so geared towards continued education of the Opium Evolution models, and not those seeking to enter into the realm of fashion.
I was able to spot the owner, but she was far too preoccupied with hosting the fashion show that was mere minutes away from pulling us into the fashion rapturing.
I turn my attention back to Locked, “How long has the agency been in business?" There was a pause, assuming for collection of thought, before I received an answer, “I would check with Ana [the owner] for an exact time but it has been at least 5 years." This is an impressive amount of time, I am guessing for a fashion agency to have doors open.
The countdown continues as nerves are jiggering and spirits are high in wait for the show to commence. I was curious to ask a model of his/her experience with the agency and the sensation before a show.
I walk about the grounds before bumping into a model, Habib Maalouf. He was equally ecstatic to hiccup any information. He tells me that his experience has “been a great and magical experience". He then goes on to mention that the "agency is always doing [an] out of the box presentation for everyone, for every designer". I also questioned his sentiments and gut before talking flight on the runway, "I am excited and I hope lag will not kill me". Lag is his only concern as I am informed that he and the other models "have lots and lots of rehearsals" to ensure they are confident and set their skills.
The show had begun and, boy, was Habib right, this fashion show was like none other. Instead of a runway, there little vignettes of fashion. The first was an immersive vision of pieces by the late Donna Flora. The next featured fashion in a unique and beautiful manner-a mini concert featuring models in roles of musicians and a songstress.
As we continued to roll through the fashion vignettes, we looked on in awe at the fashion mannequins strut forward. I closely watched and inspected clothing for pieces that were inspirational, and I was shocked along with my compatriot at the antiquated pieces featured in the show. In the words of my new friend, "is that an [entire] prim outfit on Brittany (one of the models), in 2014?" I agree! I understand that every designer is at different levels of creating, but to feature entire prim outfits, especially ones of poor craftsmanship is tacky and a complete turnoff.
I dare not mention the designer for "fear" of "backlash", but I will say to the designer, return to the sketch pad for your skills are in need of revamping my dear.
After visually partaking in this long drawn extravaganza, the audience begins to applaud and the grand finale comes to the horizon.
I definitely took in the experience as I've learned from and enjoyed all that the vintage fashion world had to offer.
But, before I departed from the party, I had to get a few words from the Opium Evolution owner, Anastacia Markova. I got right into my question, “What was your inspiration behind Opium Evolution, and why put on productions of this nature?"
Ana quickly answered, " it isn't always famous stories but, we have done a lot of them :) it is fun to recreate and put some modern twists to things and adding fashion is the frosting on the cake. We want to give designers a creative avenue to sell and show their wares. It’s fun!" As far as Opium Evolution, Ana says the company has "just celebrated 5 years [of production magic] in October with our Haunted Mansion". And after seeing the Great Gatsby themed show, I can definitely see why the company is still going strong after five years.
As I thanked Ana, I parted ways and indulged in the little party happening in celebration of a production well done.