Spotlight on fashion, design

2/3/2013
BY BARBARA HENDEL
BLADE SOCIETY EDITOR
Britanie Powell models a design by Kevin Leistner during an Evening of Fashion & Design featuring international costume designer Vin Burnham at the Pinnacle.
Britanie Powell models a design by Kevin Leistner during an Evening of Fashion & Design featuring international costume designer Vin Burnham at the Pinnacle.

An Evening of Fashion and Design featuring international costume designer Vin Burnham was Jan. 25 at the Pinnacle in Maumee. Film reels, thimbles, thread spools, scissors, paper patterns, and tape measures fitted with silver and gold set the creative scene, the creation of Joanna Koenigseker and Linda Birr. The Toledo School for the Arts Timescape Percussion Group played peppy tunes all night long.

Ms. Burnham discussed how she and her team designed costumes, considering the size and strength of the person wearing the costume and how it would be used so the actors and dancers could move freely to portray their roles. For Lady Gaga’s living dress, motors were sewn into her costume and she was suspended from cables, which had to be accounted for when designing the costume, The costume was all done in 6 weeks from a toille — a material dress form — since Lady Gaga was not present during the design making.

For Michelle Pfeiffer, 68 suits were made for the Cat Woman costume because it took a lot of wear and was worn by several stunt actors. The actress was covered in talc every time she wore the suit so it could come off easily.

PHOTO GALLERY: An Evening of Fashion and Design

PHOTO GALLERY: 20 North Gallery American Experience exhibit

PHOTO GALLERY: 'How I Became a Pirate' Scallywags party

A fashion show followed, highlighting designs from area shops including Elegant Rags, Lady C, Ragazza, Sophie’s Sister, and V Couture. Ballet Theatre of Toledo ballerinas danced in with the store names, and models were provided by StarBound Entertainment Group, Sylvania, with models ranging in age from 15 to 22 and size 2 to 4 and a few 8-10 plus sizes. Hazleton Salon and Flux did the models’ hair and makeup who were all like mannequins, showing off the fashions, rather than their smiles.

A costume design contest for local talents followed. I was one of the judges, along with Mark Moser of Paramount, Laura Nowak Glover of the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce, Todd Matteson of Lourdes University, and Ms. Burnham, with Norm Koenigseker tallying the ballots.

Sophia Witham - Age 2 - daughter of Dan and Lori Witham - playing walk the plank.
Sophia Witham - Age 2 - daughter of Dan and Lori Witham - playing walk the plank.

The winner of the Vin Burnham Design Award was Janine Middlesworth. Other award winners were: Ready to Wear, Linda Alexander; Sci-Fi, Lynn Saad; and Theatre and Film, Kathleen Dowd. Bravo to the other competition designers: Courtney Berry, Tina Greenslade, Kevin Leistner, Mona Malik, and Maya Ramirez.

The event ended, but Ms. Burnham stayed and posed for pictures and signed autographs, being kind and helpful to everyone. Then she headed back to London to work on a Mardi Gras mask making project in France. While here, Ms. Burnham had a busy week making several appearances leading up the fund-raiser: the Toledo Museum of Art on the 20th to tie in with the last day of the movie exhibition; Ohio Northern University; The Ohio State University; Ottawa Hills High School; and University of Cincinnatti College Conservatory of Music where theater costumes are made. To design students she said she was a runner getting coffee and doing errands but she watched and learned and eventually did more and more. Her advice is “If you can get an internship, do it, and learn from the experience.”

A total of $5,000 was raised for the Ballet Theatre of Toledo, according to event chairman Pat Nowak, executive director of the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce. Other event chairmen were Laura Nowak-Glover of the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce and Kaiko Zureich of Impact Products. They were assisted by Dee Dillon, Ballet Theatre of Toledo board member, and Nigel Burgoine, Ballet Theatre of Toledo artistic director, who was responsible for bringing his friend and former co-worker Ms. Burnham to Toledo.

Sponsors included The Blade, Cap Averill II, Jim Findlay, Sara Jane DeHoff, and others.

The 36th annual Black History Month 2013: The American Experience at 20 North Gallery opened with a reception Jan. 25. Started by Peggy Grant in 1977, the exhibition is the oldest Black History Month commemoration in the city of Toledo, said Eric Hillenbrand, gallery owner.

From left, Aaron Bivins, Peggy Grant, Condessa Croninger and Eric Hillenbrand at the Black History Month exhibit at 20 North Gallery.
From left, Aaron Bivins, Peggy Grant, Condessa Croninger and Eric Hillenbrand at the Black History Month exhibit at 20 North Gallery.

Guests mingled and viewed the works of 10 local and regional African-American artists along with nationally known Steven S. Walker of Westerville, Ohio.

Mrs. Grant, an artist herself, and whose late husband, Adam Grant, was an internationally known artist, reminisced with them. Her husband, thanks to his artistic talents, was a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camps where his family perished along with others of the forgotton Holocaust, people other than Jews who died in the camps. Thus, Mrs. Grant relates well to the history of African American culture.

Thanks go to the exhibition committee chairman, artist Aaron S. Bivins, and the many contributors including City of Toledo/Mayor Michael P. Bell; JN House Enterprises, Inc.; Dale-Riggs Funeral Home, Inc. and others.

Children who attended the recent production of How I Became a Pirate performance at the Valentine Theatre had a blimey good time as they sailed into an imaginative afternoon of adventure. Those who participated in the pre-party were even more prepped for their trip into a land of pirates. Treasure chests and ships set the scene for the fun foods such as Parrot Legs and wings, Pirate Dinghies, and Captain Hook’s Finger shaped cookies.