Fashion boot camp pays huge dividends

allison martens

The CASA Cares committee celebrates at the end of the organization’s fourth annual fashion show, which benefited the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation. Last year’s edition raised $10,000.

Photo by marc losier

Hundreds of fashion addicts came to see the latest spring designs during the CASA Cares fashion show, which raised thousands of dollars for the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation.

For the fourth annual edition, the fundraising arm of the Commerce and Administration Students’ Association pulled together over a dozen of fashion’s biggest names including Diesel, Miss Sixty, Muse, Bertoni and Montreal’s own Fairyesque for the March 16 show at Marché Bonsecours.

Models strutted and shimmied down the runway to a soundtrack of rock, electro and soul. Those in the front rows couldn’t resist moving to the beat while watching the cavalcade of jeans, formalwear and swimsuits.

The lingerie segment was likely the house favourite, with the girls decked out in La Senza and the boys in JM creations. In reference to the televised Victoria’s Secret shows, many of the young women sported billowy angel wings.

Top trends for the upcoming season included punchy colours like peach and coral, fatigued camouflage and metallic accessories.

“It was beautiful, very well done and well organized. The models were gorgeous and the music incredible. It made you want to dance,” said Cheria Kyres, a professional event planner who came to see a friend model.

She attended with Justin Muzaula, a Concordia political science student. “The level of professionalism was quite impressive,” he said.

“It looks like what you see on TV.”

More than 40 Concordia students entered modelling bootcamp last January. With the assistance of an agency, they spent two hours each weekend learning how to walk and pose like the pros.

As for designer talent, Dilani Silva, Director of Corporate and Public Relations for CASA Cares, said they had zero problems getting the best on board. ”They’d never heard of anything like it: It’s more than a fashion show,” she said.

The event included a silent auction in the VIP lounge, where guests sipped cocktails while bidding on clothing from featured designers, Dior sunglasses, and two round-trip tickets anywhere in North America from Air Canada.

It also featured performances, from gravity-defying breakdancing to a sexy burlesque number.

Many of the designers attended, and Silva said they were impressed. “One of them actually came backstage after the show and said ‘We need to hire you, you really did justice to our brand,’” Silva said.

Many members of the CASA Cares committee have experience in the fashion industry, which also helps give them the credibility to put on a show of this magnitude, Silva said.

Organizing it took the better part of six months and meant several sleepless nights for all involved. “We were pushing our homework to late at night, “ Silva said.

All proceeds go to the pet therapy program at the Children’s, which helps alleviate the impact of hospitalization upon children by bringing a dog to visit them once a week.

“For these children, to be able to pet the dog, feed the dog, and to watch it do tricks means the world to them,” said Helen Magdalinos, a Child Life Specialist at the Children’s.

“And your support means the world to us.”