Fashion is a key part of the Saratoga track season, and while this year has been anything but conventional, two women are bringing style back to the season tonight with Make Chic Happen.
The outdoor fashion show will have models walking down the Broadway sidewalk in front of The Palette Cafe, wearing looks from local boutiques styled by Randi Poillon and Nicole Nicholas.
The two have been friends for years and business partners since last year, when they started Haute Messes in Dresses, a styling business offering everything from closet makeovers to styling services, including virtual ones.
They hoped to hold their first large-scale fashion show in May and launch a monthly styling on-demand service, however, COVID-19 put a dent in their plans.
“We were launching all these big things. We were so excited and . . . enter COVID. Obviously, nobody is going to work, nobody is leaving their home, nobody has disposable income to shop so we just were at a halt,” Poillon said.
Instead of standing still, they pivoted and began designing graphic t-shirts with COVID-19-related phrases like “Just Stay Home” and “Socially Distant Vibes.” As the shirts started to gain traction, they created an online store where people could customize the graphics and shirt design.
In the last few weeks, since some of the safety restrictions have been lifted in the Capital Region, they’ve finally been able to get back to styling as well.
“We really loved designing [the] graphics, and we’re going to keep adding more, but at the same time we’re also starting to get back into our styling which is amazing and we’re so excited because now people are starting to [go] out,” Nicholas said.
It’s part of the reason they felt it was high time to go ahead with the fashion show. They’re hoping the show gives people something to look forward to during a summer that has been lacking in events and galas.
“We just wanted something to offer,” Poillon said, “When’s the last time we got to put something on a calendar besides a doctor’s appointment?”
During the Make Chic Happen event, there will be a pop-up shop where people can order their customizable shirts. The stylists will also present a fashion show that focuses on ways to mix and match wardrobe basics, bringing their styling sessions to life.
“It’s not going to be your avant-garde crazy high fashion show,” Poillon said, “The whole concept is taking your basic staples to build the foundation of a wardrobe and put them down the runway.”
They’ll use staple pieces like a classic slip dress or denim and style them in several ways that could translate easily from day to night. The featured styles will be from Broadway boutiques like Piper, Yellow Boutique, Lola and Violet’s of Saratoga.
Many of the models featured in the show are members of the Palette Upstairs co-working community, which Nicholas and Poillon are also members.
“We love being a part of it. Everyone is just there to root you on and help each other,” Nicholas said.
Without Palette, the show wouldn’t have been possible, according to Poillon.
“We might not have been able to find any sort of venue,” Poillon said.
While the show is outside and they’re capping the number of attendees below 50, they’re also taking precautions when it comes to seating arrangements. From 6-7 p.m. during the cocktail hour, attendees will be served from their seats to decrease the risk of people clustering around one another. Masks will also be required.
“We just want to be safe and do it the right way and make everyone that comes feel comfortable,” Nicholas said.
Make Chic Happen runs from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday at 493 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. Tickets are $40 and include entry, a signature cocktail and a custom-designed graphic t-shirt. For more information visit hautemessesindresses.com.