Red Pump table display
There was something in the air at last night’s affair. Splashes of red sequined the crowd, and camera flashes added an extra sparkle. Culturally-center art drew thought and commanded attention. The who’s who of Charlotte’s prominent elite were in attendance. The smooth sounds of Jazz echoed outside the building as everyone enjoyed the live band, 5th and York, inside.
This was the feeling at the Red Pump/Red Tie Affair, December 1, 2009; World AIDS Day. The benefit, honoring the Red Pump Project and its national efforts to bring about HIV/AIDS awareness and education, was the first RPP event in Charlotte, NC. The festivities took place at Palmer Fire School near uptown. Cocktail hour and a silent auction began at 6 pm. The “Rock the Red Pump" runway show, featuring three Charlotte-area designers, began at 7:30. Later in the evening, Chef Jay Jones amused the crowd with a live culinary demonstration of his strawberry mousse recipe.
The fashion show was a nice highlight to the evening. Beth Pilger, of Pilger Designs, began the show with her collection of separates and dresses, which were obviously inspired by the fall season. Her collection embodied muted earth tones of brown, taupe, orange and gold. She used wide leg trousers paired with fitted tops, trouser-style shorts paired with a textured sweater, and printed tops with flared bottoms to interpret her ideas for fall. The Pilger collection lost its cohesion towards the end with a short red velvet Baroque-style dress. The full skirt, red and white corset bodice, and black lace motifs had no association with the collection; however the dress may have been shown in homage to the event’s theme.
The second designer was Aswad Abasi of Abasi Couture. The opening number, a textured leopard print trapeze dress, was definitely a crowd favorite. From there the collection switched gears as the next few looks were Asian inspired designs made in bright satin fabrics. Another crowd favorite was a satin champagne jumpsuit, which also contrasted with the Asian inspired pieces that preceded. Overall the collection was well made, trendy, fashion forward, but very un-cohesive.
The third designer was Blaine Degannes of Rain Anthology. Though he just learned to sew within the last two years, Blaine showed his second collection last night. As the newest designer, his collection surprisingly showed the most cohesion and direction of all the collections shown. With a color palette inspired by the Caribbean, Blaine’s collection, ‘Feminine not Fragile,’ featured bright colors, soft fabrics, and body-conscious designs. Crowd favorites included a lime green jumpsuit with a sheer hooded top, and a pink floral printed jacket that was paired with a blue satin pant.
Though the atmosphere was chic and uplifting, there was a serious purpose behind this event. The Red Pump Project is a nation-wide AIDS awareness initiative that focuses on educating and empowering women and girls. The Red Pump Project-Charlotte, along with JSW Media Group, decided that this was the year to commemorate World AIDS day in Charlotte.
While many of those in attendance took time to mingle and converse, Ms. DeVondia Roseborough demanded attention and a silence fell over the crowd, as she received her award as the event’s honoree. Roseborough spoke passionately about her 6 year battle with HIV/AIDS, a disease she no longer claims as a force in her life. She spoke of her faith in God and how that faith transcended into her non-profit organization, The Rasberrirose Foundation, and her self-published books. Her message was short and simple. “Your choices are you consequences.” She also said to do three things in life; “lie, steal and drink. Lie in the bed of success, steal away from bad company, and drink from the fountain of youth.” These powerful words, from a powerful woman, were heard and remembered.