Tavishi Dewan
Tavishi Dewan

On Thursday, October 13th, the Retail and Luxury Goods Club hosted their highly anticipated 9th Annual Charity Fashion Show at Park Plaza Hotel Boston to help raise awareness for a Boston-based charity through the lens of fashion. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and festive music. In attendance were over 800 enthusiastic spectators who were waiting patiently, eager to see their section mates walk the ramp.

The lights dimmed, the chattering ceased and the crowd cheered heavily as our very own HBS students glided down the runway with gusto, donned in fabulous designer clothes. It was an event like none other. Anita Mehrotra, one of the models, says, “The energy on the runway was incredible – I was floored by how many people from our section came out to support us!”

The runway extended along the grand ballroom with enormous glittering crystal chandeliers overhead. Upon entering we were greeted with pizza and goodie bags containing nail polish, a complimentary gift certificate for a signature manicure at MiniLuxe, Soul Cycle passes, Nike, Bonobos and Meltemi discount cards and much more.

I went backstage to mingle with models and found most of them rummaging frantically through the aisle of clothes, sometimes peeking a glimpse at their cases for next day and a few even relying on their drinks to survive the organized madness. From the front row, fashion seems a chic way to bring together models, designers, and latest trends but have you ever wondered what goes on backstage? According to one of the organizers, Daniella Turenshine, “Backstage is pretty wild! We had more designers this year which meant our models were wearing more looks, so we had to move and get people changed even faster than last year. However, we try to keep it as organized as possible – we each have a role, we have labeled all of the clothes and each model knows the look they will be wearing next.  Yet, it’s still a blur of semi-naked people running around looking for their next outfit!”

The Cause

The show’s proceeds benefited the Greater Boston Food Bank, raising over $22,500 for the largest hunger-relief organization in New England.  Committed to eliminating hunger in Boston they provided over 500,000 meals in 2015 alone to those in need.

When asked what inspired the organizers to work with Boston Food Bank, Cara Aiello said, ”the winter season is when the Food Bank needs the most help. As the holiday season approaches, we believe that our donations can truly make a difference in the lives of hundreds in our surrounding Boston community.”

The moves like Swagger

The fashion show featured both established and emerging designers with 124 looks ranging from evening wear, active wear, casual wear, bridal and menswear. Designers included Alice & Olivia, Blank Label, Bonobos, Darwin, Diane von Furstenberg, DKNY, Ingie Paris, Joanna August, Meltemi (an HBS-founded Greek-inspired swimwear line), Ministry of Supply (Launched in 2012 – born out of MIT), Onia, Tanya Taylor, Ted Baker and Topology (from our own HBS designers).

You could hear our collective heartbeats as we saw DKNY’s oversized jackets, Joanna August’s elegant cascading ruffles, and Meltemi’s men’s swimwear collection. Ahem! Ahem!

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From our very own HBS designer, Alex Mahylis (HBS 2017), comes Topology – a collection of high-quality shirts inspired by the unique cultures and vibrant fabrics of Asia. Alex says, “We are very excited about representing the brand second time in a row for Harvard Business School. Events like this allow people to see the brand and get excited about it.” When asked how he finds a balance between school and work he says , “It gets a little crazy trying to carve out time every week from a busy student life to handle an entire business”. Kudos to you, Alex!

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HBS students are known for taking risks, going out of their comfort zones and succeeding with flying colors. So when it came to the show, they knew, an ordinary well-dressed-zombie walk was not going to make the cut. Passion and attitude oozed and the crowd came alive as our highly talented models gave us multiple doses of backflips, high-heels, hip-hop, flying beach balls and beautiful red roses – leaving everyone awestruck. And then there was a selfie pose – because what is the point of walking the runway when one can’t turn around and take a selfie?! An RC model, Cara McCutcheon, states: “It was so much fun being a part of the fashion show. I was nervous to walk down the runway, but the beautiful clothes, cheers from my section mates, and the great cause made it an incredible experience!”

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The After Party

Towards the end, as confetti floated in the air, all the models descended upon the stage and bowed in front of the audience thanking them for coming to the show and honoring the noble cause. The show had ended but there was still a party waiting at The Brahmin.

I gathered my friends and rushed with the rest of the crowd to the nearby club where we were welcomed with a professional RLGC step-and-repeat banner – were posing in large groups wearing oversized props was a must.

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As hosts of the after party, the Euro Club chose a fantastic location to unwind and celebrate the success of the fabulous event. It raved with HBS grads who were overjoyed with having witnessed a flawless performance and keen to keep the soiree going as they danced the glamorous night away. With a cosmopolitan in one hand and goodie bag in the other, I let the night take the lead, feeling grateful to those who organized this remarkable affair with so much love and zeal.

Tavishi Dewan is an HBS Partner, who is serving as the co-chair for Volunteer Corps Initiative (Gardner Pilot Academy) and also as the Partner Rep for Section G. Apart from occasionally writing for Harbus, she is involved in organizing the EKTA Event (South Asian Business Association). She likes to spend time with photography and filters and hanging out with friends within the fascinating HBS community.

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