I have never been to a fashion show, and the ones I’ve seen in movies required the audience to wear quasi-formal dress. But hey, this was the Montpelier Fashion Show. I was sure I wouldn’t need to break out the old bridesmaid dress — almost.
I wandered over to the catwalk on State Street in my Birkenstocks and tank top, hoping I wasn’t underdressed for the soirée. My fears lessened when I took my place on the sidewalk amid the rest of the Birkenstock-and-tank-top contingent. The show kicked off with students of the Contemporary Dance and Fitness Studio doing a jazz number to Judy Garland’s “Get Happy.” Then, with DJ John from Buch Spieler Music spinning the tunes and Sarah Merritt and Emma Bay-Hanson of Damsels emceeing, the models took to the catwalk.
First to display its wares was Onion River Sports. One of the models appeared to confuse the fashion show with Planet Rock as he lustily ripped off his “waterproof yet breathable” raincoat. A gentleman dressed to mountain bike in the Vermont hills came out “strutting down the runway in his protective headgear by Gyro.”
After that, I settled in for the rest of the show with the assurance that my footwear was right at home. The hour-long event treated me to a fashion showcase of local stores, from Salaam to the newly opened Shaline Bridal and Formal Wear. Nothing compared to the flower fashions from the Pink Shutter. Dressed in gold lamé ribbon and strategically placed leaves, the sparkly painted male and female models were living proof that Pink Shutter employees can create anything from flowers.
The 3-year-old Montpelier Fashion Week, a brainchild of the Damsels crew, was created to “announce to the world that this town is a shopping destination,” recalled Merritt. “Anyone that didn’t see it the first couple of years has regretted it, because people talk about it all year long,” Bay-Hanson added. Fashionistas, start gabbing.