Schenectady County

Couture lights up Electric City show (with photo gallery)

The glow-in-the-dark collection was by far the crowd’s favorite at the third annual Electric City fa

It was pitch black in the theater when Katie Pray’s seven models had finished their struts down the runway.

Fashion shows are dark, but they’re not this dark. So the crowd began eyeing the ceiling of the GE Theatre, collectively wondering if there were some sort of electrical problem at this year’s Electric City Couture fashion show.

While they were looking upward, Pray’s models were striking a pose at the front of the room.

Suddenly, the crowd could see a glowing neon smirk. And then a glowing blue hair bow. Another model blinks and her eyelashes are glowing neon. One woman’s yellow jacket lit up a corner of the stage.

“I did a lot of screen printing, spray painting and stamping just trying to turn the party out,” Pray had warned earlier. “It’s time to get things glowing.”

The glow-in-the-dark collection was by far the crowd’s favorite at the third annual Electric City fashion show. It was one of eight signature collections to be showcased by Capital Region fashion designers inside Proctors on Friday, which was also the start of the 5th anniversary of Art Night, the city’s monthly art celebration.

The show this year was truly electrifying, with crowd-pumping music by DJ OFI and a New York City-like atmosphere inside the packed, standing-room-only theater. YNN Sports Director Marisa Jacques emceed the event that brought local fashion luminaries to Schenectady, as well as the evening’s most buzzed-about celebrity.

Laura LaFrate’s celebrity precedes her in the Capital Region. As the Scotia girl who has made it to the top two on America’s Next Top Model, she needed no introduction to make heads turn and camera phones whip out of pockets.

In her now-recognizable manner, LaFrate showed off her brazen confidence a few minutes before the show started when she strutted into the theater in a revealing crocheted bathing suit, tall wedges and a platinum blonde top bun.

She had come out early to mingle with friends and pose in a few silly pictures before taking a chair at the judge’s table for the Best of Broadway competition, which featured one piece by each designer that had been inspired by a theater performance. This year’s winner was an outfit inspired by “The Lion King” by Danielle Breitenbach.

“This is the thing that really got me started,” said LaFrate, when it was her turn to introduce herself. “It was the inspiration and when I know shows like this are going on, I just want everybody in our community to get involved because it really is with the help of everybody that we live with that we can create our own dreams and make them come true.”

Ebony Mackey has always wanted to be a model, and her first visit to the Electric City Couture show made her realize that she might not need a New York City ZIP code to make that happen.

“I would recommend this show to anybody,” said the 19-year-old after the designers and models had taken their last bow. “I didn’t think I would.”

She grew up and lives in Albany and always found the area to be boring and lacking the fashion edge of places like New York City, Milan or Paris.

“But this is different,” she said, clearly exhilarated. “I actually see things here now. My cousin who is in the show is always trying to tell me of stuff that’s going on here and that there is fashion here. I was really surprised.”

Designer collections

Seasoned designers had put out full collections featuring seven pieces, or a mini collection featuring three pieces.

There were three collections that stood out from the rest, prompting excited murmurs from the crowd as models walked the runway.

The first was House of Lady Button, the design studio of show-sponsor Joleen Button.

“My inspiration is my favorite colors, which we all know from 1992 were hot pink and lime green,” said Button before her models hit the stage. “It is back and it is hotter than ever.”

The pieces weren’t as gaudy as hot pink and lime green sound, though. They were knit or crochet, and had a soft and feminine feel to them with floral motifs and a ’70s beach vibe. And if anything, it was a crowd hit with LaFrate modeling the knit bikini from the collection.

But of all the designers to go all out on a theme, it was Jenn Dugan with her “Seven Deadly Sins” collection from Jenn’s Creative Outlet.

In a leather bellybutton-baring outfit with red flames licking the sides, the first model epitomized “wrath.” Then there was “lust,” a sloppily made-up “sloth” and green-haired “envy.” “Gluttony” drew the biggest crowd reaction, with a busty and overwhelming plum gown.

“Let me just tell you, there is 15 yards of fabric in ‘gluttony,’” laughed Dugan.

Finally, there was Pray’s glow-in-the-dark neon collection. The headlining design literally put the electric in Electric City Couture on Friday.

Categories: Schenectady County

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