This past Friday the Columbia Design League put on Runaway Runway 2011 in the Township Auditorium here in Columbia, South Carolina. The event is the biggest fashion event in Columbia and has only recently moved to the Township after outgrowing 701 Whaley Street.
Punctuated by acts that were just as varied as the creations that served as the centerpiece of the production, the night was most certainly a barrel of entertainment. Even from my volunteer position working the Fashion Club section of the seating arrangement, it was clear that some of the acts, like the one involving local drag queens Patti O’Furniture, Lady La Poodle, Paris Lefaris, and Carla Cox, hit their marks. Even the emcees, Betsy Newman, who wore a dress designed by 2010 Runaway Runway winner Bohulmina Augustinova(commissioned by the 2011 presenting sponsor Palmetto Clean Energy), and Larry Hembree kept spirits high with a few jokes of their own.
While the competition was stiff, with designers like Molly McNutt of the famed 2010 “Gaga-Monster” Dress returning, there were definite standouts. The panel of judges which included the 2010-2011 President of Fashion Board USC, Marquis Bias, as well as partner at grass roots event organizing firm Flock and Rally, Tracie Broom, and Frame of Mind owner, Mark Plessinger, narrowed the decision down to three looks for the audience to vote on by text the night of the show.
Being the wholehearted supporter I am, I threw my support behind the “Mad Hatter” look designed by Miles Purvis, which came complete with a hat, cane, dress, as well as white wig with neon lights strewn throughout. A few texts, tweets, and short conversations later, I felt I’d done my duty in garnering as much support as I could. Though the Alexander McQueen-esque look was just as beautiful(though it wasn’t a finalist), as was the gorgeous Diet Pepsi evening gown designed by Kyle Taylor Kirchman, there was something about the dedication of the “Mad Hatter” look, which featured the model in gold glistening body paint, that spoke to me. So of course I was ecstatic when the look won.
After the event was the afterparty(where these images were actually taken because I had to work during the show) which was right across the road. It was a very nice, understated affair in comparison to the event and so people really got a chance to see some of the garments up close. The entire experience was amazing and I’m sure the Design League is proud of their first run at the Township. The new location gives the event a chance to grow to proportions it would not have been able to reach in 701 and I can’t wait for the future.
See more images from the show.