“You can never be overdressed or overeducated”: The RLGC HBS Fashion Show

By Emily Dohse

Emily DohseThe Harbus columnist Emily Dohse had front row seats at the RLGC’s 7th Annual Charity Fashion Show. Here is what you missed or (if you went to the afterparty) don’t remember.

When Oscar Wilde said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated,” he had probably just attended the HBS fashion show.

On Tuesday, November 18th, the Retail and Luxury Goods Club hosted their 7th Annual Charity Fashion Show at Royale nightclub in downtown Boston.  The evening was attended by 500 guests, many of which were dressed to kill (see photos).  The show’s proceeds benefited the charity Dress for Success for Boston, raising $8000 for disadvantaged women aiming to thrive in work and life.

The RLGC fashion show has been featured by the New York Times, and is one of Boston’s Top 100 Events of the Year.  Did you miss it?!  Did you attend and love every second?!  Either way, I’ve got you covered.  I was lucky enough to have a front row seat, and I took notes, so read on to learn more about the pre-party at Cynthia Rowley, the Dress for Success charity, the confetti and stilettos on the catwalk, and the wild Euro Club after-party.

The Pre-Party

Prior to the fashion show, an exclusive pre-party was held at the Cynthia Rowley boutique on Newbury Street.  Gals from HBS sipped champers and snacked on mini chocolate cookies while being treated to a private showing of Rowley’s collection.  Cynthia Rowley was one of the sponsors of this year’s show, and a selection of her garments were featured on the runway.  Her designs are known for “flirty, vibrantly-colored dresses and tops in wispy materials with a carefree simple spirit.”  When the rosé was gone and several girls had new treasures, it was time to head to Royale.

The Cause

All proceeds of the fashion show went to Dress for Success for Boston, which is an international not-for-profit organization that offers services designed to help women find jobs and remain employed.  Dress for Success provides disadvantaged women with professional attire, a network of support, and career development tools.

One woman who received support from Dress for Success said, “I was told so many times ‘You’ll never amount to anything’ – but today I am overwhelmed and walking in victory.”  The HBS fashion show has been, and continues to be, an excellent way for students to enjoy watching their fellow classmates strut the catwalk while helping those in need achieve their own fashion dreams, and more importantly, their career goals.

One week in advance of the fashion show, RLGC held a clothing drive and collected over 300 pieces of clothing – an impressive number that will certainly help many women in need.

The Show

On entering Royale, ticket holders were greeted with a professional step-and-repeat boasting a banner with all of the event sponsors – Mr. Sid, Marc Harris Salon, Cynthia Rowley, Lord & Taylor, BCBG, Fred Perry, Catherine Malandrino, and Haute Hippie.  Guests posed for photos in front of the banner and were then ushered to the main stage via red carpet.

The first 50 guests were given goodie bags containing samples of nail polish, blush, lotion and other beauty gems.  Didn’t arrive in time to get one?  Mark your calendars to get there early next year and get yourself a swag bag!

The show featured 44 models, all HBS students, with about a 50/50 split of men to women.  Each woman walked in three different looks, and all the men walked in two.  Looks ranged from beachwear to evening wear, with looks running the gambit from professional dress to casual dress in between.

Before the show started, I got to sneak backstage and rub elbows with the models and volunteers who helped make the show possible.  “Real-life backstage” does not look like “movie backstage.” Real backstage is cramped and hot and dark, full of people tripping over each other and lighting cables.  The tight hallways and rooms are teaming with makeup artists, volunteers searching for clothing, models reading cases, models enjoying cocktails, models getting re-coifed, and a whole lot of energy.

And it’s that exotic cocktail of energy that creates such a good show.  The flawless timing and poise happening on the runway materializes from intense madness and organized chaos backstage.  You don’t know true hustle until you’ve had a quick change, people.  Ask your section’s models.

As everyone was channeling their blue steel waiting for the show to begin, I turned to one curler-clad model and asked how she felt.  “Nervous as f**k,” she replied, followed by her friend reporting, “SAME.”

Walking in five-inch gold glitter heels is not easy – and I know what you’re thinking – did anyone take a graceful-model spill while strutting their stuff?  I’m happy to report that there wasn’t one misstep, and the only heart racing moment (besides the entire Chubbies men’s swimwear sequence) was a near-miss backflip that ended in success.

Besides smizing under intense lighting and power walking without a wardrobe malfunction, most of the model’s outfits had accompanying accessories that they wielded like pros – floor length skirts, a pair of thigh-high lace-up boots, hats, briefcases, shoulder bags and of course, loads of att-it-tude.

One of the big crowd pleasers of the night was a male model walking with balloons, who paused at the end of the runway to spray two cannons full of colorful paper confetti over the delighted audience.

It was a raging success (at least from my seat) and all of the evening’s models deserve a big kudos.  An even bigger kudos goes to the show’s masterminds, Oneica Greaves, Britt Raetzman and Ingrid Wicklund – all three were calm and getting things done every time I saw them.

The After-Party

The after-party kicked off as soon as the show finished.  No sooner were the seated sections on either side of the runway broken down and the confetti swept away than the dancing and revelry began.  Who cares that it was a Tuesday!  Fashion waits for no one!

As for the duration of the after-party, if your section is anything like the rest, you probably woke up to GroupMe’s about needing to eat pizza and about how what happens at Euro Club parties stays at Euro club parties.  Or maybe you were one of the one’s asking about the pizza.  Either way, the event, the cause and the after party get a Haute Harbus grade of “1”.