2009 HBS Fashion Show

On April 7th, a team of ten visionaries brought together thirty HBS models and an eco-friendly palette of New York, L.A., and Boston-based fashion designers for the 6th annual HBS Retail & Apparel Club Fashion Show. In collaboration with the Social Enterprise Club, the team focused on global biodiversity. Thus, Elements of Style was born, reflecting the timeless union between style and nature.

Over 300 guests arrived at Mantra to not only support the models, but more importantly, Conservation International, the global non-profit beneficiary. Fair trade and eco-friendly companies like Patagonia, Whole Foods and Passport donated luxury items for silent auction. Blending fashion with philanthropy to make an impact outside the HBS community, the Fashion Show team was grateful for vital financial sponsorship from the SA Community Impact Fund. From the breadth of design to the ever-so-fierce models and professional execution, the 2009 HBS Fashion Show was certainly a “breakthrough” on all fronts.

In keeping with the elements, Earth, Wind, Fire and Water, some models showed: Steven Alan prˆt-a-porter one pieces woven with natural fibers and dyes, Isoude airy silk evening dresses, organic neck-ties by Collard Greens and of course, high-end swimwear by Querida Penelope. I stepped onto the top of the runway in a black raw silk ensemble by Angela Chen, reminiscent of East Asian rice paddies – “clamdigger” pants cuffed below the knee and a square-cut tunic. Screaming voices of friends and fans were audible above the live DJ’s heavy beats; the S-shaped runway stretched ahead of me and bright lights disguised the faces in the crowd. The walk – eight distinct poses in total, professional photographers poised to capture each one. A feminist at heart, I was truly surprised by the strength I felt which each long stride I took forward. Is this what Natasha Poly or Lakshmi Menon experience on the runways of Milano? There was indeed a raw and natural aspect to the experience.

Danielle Prout (OE), VP of Fashion Show, led a team of RCs and ECs, who covered every detail from scouting designers, securing production, booking professional photographers from five studios, and marketing the event through all channels including Boston.com and Citysearch. Diverse in background, the organizers hailed from retail companies like Donna Karan, Barneys, and Liz Clairbone, as well as financial services and marketing. HBS partner, Laura Saenz (OJ), a burgeoning designer in her own right, joined forces with Jazzmin Lamas (NB) and Vivian Song (NG) to identify designers to feature in the show. The Designer Relations team leveraged personal relationships with established designers like Kate Linstrom and further identified fresh designers like Claudine and Angela Chen through genart.org and seekingdesigners.com. Past HBS Fashion Shows have featured the likes of Catherine Malandrino, Milly and Lewis Albert (founded by HBS’s own, Elizabeth Whitman of OB).

And what about the models, you ask? After a flurry of try-outs on the lofted ‘runway’ of Gallatin Hall, the team selected thirty models on the basis of their “enthusiasm, unique look and perceived comfort walking in front of an audience of peers and section-mates.” To borrow a term from America’s Next Top Model, veteran models, Mike Lyons (OB) and Chris Wilson-Byrne (OE) were indeed “fierce,” yet natural. Fortunately for those of us virgins to the runway, professional model and style manager, Aileen Benson from Boston-based Style Fashion Productions was present at every practice and offered personalized instruction in walking, smiling, and “showing” the clothes. A team of stylists from Salon 10 and make-up artists, Alicia Yoon and Natalie Flowers completed our uniform look.

All elements had indeed come together. And I stepped out one final time in nautical, yellow and blue swimwear by Querida Penelope.

Visit www.thehbsfashionshow.com to access photos from the evening.

Pooja Sinha was born and raised on the North Shore of Long Island. A student of art history, nouvelle vague film and literature, she has always perceived high-fashion as art. This was her first time on the runway.