Okay, so Reading is not yet New York, Paris, or London in terms of recognition in the fashion world, but what it lacks in celebrity designers, it makes up for in exuberance. The vintage show in Reading’s WCR last December and the more recent show at the Olympian Ballroom in West Reading are examples.
The models at both shows were local guys and gals supported by friends in the audience who shouted and carried on when they recognized their someone on the runway. It’s a folksy sort of phenomenon that turned the events into spectacles along the lines of a male strip show. Raucous and nothing but fun.
Know this: our area is not totally bereft of budding designers. Albright College Fashion is fast turning Reading’s 13th Street into 7th Avenue, NYC. They gave us two such Donna Karan hopefuls at the West Reading Fashion Show. Paul Cieri and Ashley Hillegass designed and showcased short lines of terribly creative outfits that were — as is the rule — unwearable to the ballpark, but stunning nonetheless. Hillegass had a cohesive line of maroon and black ensembles; Cieri gave us less cohesion but more stun with his cocky line. Both are talented and we look forward to the day when the Reading area will be considered a fashion Mecca simply because they incubated here.
The rest of the show was filled out by the local Penn Avenue purveyors of fashion: Lilibeas whose lingerie shop is world-renowned, A Touch of Grace and frock positioning themselves to be the leading outfitters of vintage and NY designer items, and Be Mine Boutique with totally wearable clothing. New Age Attire provided an urban slant reminiscent of the Reading show: strong, defiant, and ultimately hip.
DJ Gregg Nyce provided music-for-Vogueing with several of the models taking advantage with impromptu moves. Those of us in the seats shook our booties as we saw fit. Fine job, Mr. Music Man.
Local vintage purveyor, Kate Mallow, sporting a fetching Haston black caftan herself, helped out with identifying styles.
This annual event is enthusiastically attended by those in the know. Patrons lined up half an hour before the sold-out show out of fear that their ticket would be given away to johnny-come-latelys schlepping up to the door at half-past. To say the show is eagerly looked for each year is an understatement.
Kudos to the West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation for bringing a taste of haute couture to our area. Also big thanks to Berks County Living as sponsors. Can’t wait until next year’s spectacle.
And speaking of spectacle, Dust Nuggets will be released sometime this year. Get a taste here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZzWbleVa5M&t=8s