by Mellissa Thomas
Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th Orlando at the Orlando Premium Outlets on International Drive opened its store for Thursday night’s Wishing On A Star Fashion Show, the first fashion show produced on the property under its new management, Simon Outlets. The show raised funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and featured international fitness model, motivational speaker, and Vitaflex Supplements and Vitamins founder Bella Falconi as hostess. Fashion columnist and media personality Dr. Denise Y. Mose interviewed guests and models at the press wall.
Tickets for the high-end affair came in at an affordable $10 for general admission and $25 for VIP seating, and each person received a black Neiman Marcus Last Call tote bag filled with discount coupons from the various Orlando International Outlets stores and restaurants – even the complimentary eight-ounce water bottles were wrapped with a 10% off coupon from Calvin Klein, which made the little thing well worth keeping. Raffle tickets were also available for purchase, the proceeds for which also went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Vinito Ristorante and Texas de Brazil provided the night’s hors d’oeuvres (above), and attendees enjoyed a cash bar. DJ Magz (Alex Maglione), who also spun the tunes for Florida Fashion Weekend, worked his magic again Thursday.
House of Me’Ja founder Michael Ransom directed the show, selecting its flirty summer theme, booking the models with the help of Model Scout, Inc., and securing the clothing to be showcased from merchants right on the property and the nearby Orlando Premium Outlets – Vineland Avenue, including Tommy Hilfiger, Janie and Jack (modeled by three adorable children), Guess, Robert Graham, Bebe, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th Orlando, and Neiman Marcus Last Call, which showcased both men’s and women’s ensembles. In that order.
For The Love of Shoes furnished the show’s shoes; and Bon Posh Fashion Jewelry provided the show’s jewelry, as well as the edgy clutches during the Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th showcase. Other sponsors included Megastore, which provided hair styling for the show, and Elizabeth Arden, which provided the makeup.
During the show’s intermission and throughout the show’s second half, those who purchased raffle tickets enjoyed high-end raffle gifts provided by Orlando Premium Outlets merchants, including an all-leather Puma duffle bag, several-hundred-dollar totes from Calvin Klein and Guess, a Kipling backpack, a Michael Kors watch, a fully stocked Elizabeth Arden Rock the Croc Holiday Makeup Kit, a Bath & Body Works gift set, several twenty-dollar Bon Posh Fashion Jewelry gift cards, and a jaw-dropping $500 gift card for Zegna menswear. Four attendees who had purchased multiple tickets enjoyed multiple prizes. Also, Bella Falconi presented Make-A-Wish Foundation with a $500 contribution check on behalf of Megastore and Vitaflex.
Any show of this caliber requires more-than-average diligence, and months of procurement. “We started [recruiting] merchants and sponsors from all the way back in January,” Lorena Garcia, Area Marketing Manager for Orlando Premium Outlets, explained Thursday. She added that the show’s production process took about two months, “but things really started to kick into gear within the last two weeks.” The show was originally planned as an outdoor event in a tent, but at the last minute became an indoor event, with Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th Orlando saving the day.
During the show, Garcia and her colleague Casie Caldwell told the touching story of a young Make A Wish leukemia patient who initially wished for a Disney cruise. Unfortunately, however, she and her family lost their home in a fire, so she changed her wish to a shopping spree. On Monday, Orlando Premium Outlets treated her to a $500 spending spree there and the team’s staff personally escorted her throughout the mall. Florida’s Fox 35 News covered the story. Thursday’s Wishing On A Star Fashion Show raised $2,400 for the Foundation.
Garcia said the show was all about Make A Wish, and once the initial connection was made during the planning process, garnering greater event support was easy. “Lots of people wanted to get onboard, because Make A Wish Foundation is such a great organization.”
And thanks to the show’s inaugural success, the team is already planning for its next show.
All photos by Robert Barrington, Jr. except where otherwise stated.
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About the Author:
Orlando Fashion Magazine Chief Editor and Publisher Mellissa Thomas is a Jamaica-born writer. She’s a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with Entertainment Business Masters and Film Bachelors degrees from Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL.
She’s currently available for hire, writing content for websites, blogs, and marketing material, and as a book coach. She also writes poetry, screenplays, and ghostwrites books.
She has published four books, all available on Amazon.com. Her most recent release, “Faded Diamonds”, is now available in paperback on all major online book retailers and digitally available on the Kindle, Nook, and iBooks.
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