"Fashion is Art" at Opera Guild brunch

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

The Opera Guild of Dayton’s annual BRAVO! Champagne Brunch and Fashion Show will take on an artistic flair this year with the theme of “Fashion Is Art.”

The event, slated for Friday, Sept. 5, is being held at the Sinclair Community College Ponitz Center. Las Vegas-based fashion designer, Crystal Ball, is coordinating the show in collaboration with Dayton’s DeFi Director, Caressa Brown.

“We really wanted to showcase the artistry of our local fashion incubator designers, so along with wearable and high fashion art by SoCrystal Designs and menswear by Chicago’s Bernie Martin, we will highlight “now fashions” by local designer Misti Leigh and custom ball gowns by Erika Beartie,” says event chair Helen Jones-Kelley. Jewelry designer, Elton, will return this year as well.

The idea, says Jones-Kelley, is to offer unique, affordable and wearable fashions for today’s woman.

Proceeds from BRAVO! support the Guild’s mission “to make new friends for opera” and also fund educational programs such as Opera Marionettes and Children’s Traveling Opera as well as High School and Tri-State College Vocal Competitions in which young performers win cash awards to assist them in their pursuit of musical careers.

The Guild is also a major sponsor for an opera each season, helps support Artists-in-Residence, and underwrites the surtitles that help make each opera more accessible to audiences.

Creative fashions

Brown says this year’s runway show will blend clothing and accessories from two Centerville boutiques — Nonnie Waller’s Parlor and Pieces of Style — with fashions from the up-and-coming local designers. Models were selected from a casting call held earlier this month and community leaders will model as well.

“Fashion is a way of self-expression,” says Brown, a native Daytonian and model. “It’s more than just beautiful gown or dress, it’s a work of Art.

Featured designers

Erika Berthy, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s fashion design program, labels her work “wearable art,” and gives all of her designs a name such as “Delicate Balance” or “Inner Passion.”

Misti Leigh is a Springfield native and self-taught painter, photographer and designer whose work has appeared in Vogue Italia and African Vogue.

“Some of the designers involved in this year’s show can customize their fashions at affordable prices, allowing the buyer to create her own personalized wearable art,” says Brown.

The morning traditionally begins with a social hour and boutique area with accessories, jewelry and gifts for sale.

Opera Guild organizers are carrying out their “arty” theme by having two local artists actually create paintings while guests mingle and shop: Centerville artist Cecilia Brendel, owner of Olde Masters Galleria, and Abby Rose Maurer, director of the Front Street Studio Gallery and a protege of well-known Dayton artist Mike Elsass.

This year’s community models include Tom Bankston, general and artistic director of Dayton Opera; Karl Keith, Montgomery County Auditor; Michael Roediger, executive director at Dayton Art Institute; and Nan Whaley, Dayton’s mayor.

As an additional fundraiser, the public is invited to vote for a favorite Community Role Model by donating $5 per vote: on the BRAVO! Fashion Show page.


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