Heels & Picks: Ladies in red
BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser
If you’re looking for a lady in red to dance with you, there was a prime opportunity to do so at the Life Foundation’s “Red Dress Ball” on March 1.
It was an entertaining evening of sass and fashion at the Blaisdell Center’s Pikake Room with a room full of red in support AIDS research and awareness. Fashionistas, drag queens, dancers, models, celebrities and entertainers were out in full force, uniting together to raise awareness — and shamelessly having a great time doing it.
My dance card was full, as I attended the event with my boyfriend. He wore a red button up shirt and blazer in a shade of red he dubbed, “Darth Vader.” (We had a chat, as I had to make sure we were talking the ORIGINAL “Star Wars” Darth Vader, not those ridiculous prequels.)
I picked up an apple red ASTR dress from Nordstrom Rack for the occasion, although I nearly bought a red leather jumpsuit in a turn I can only assume was inspired by my recent interview with Joan Jett. But I put the rock ‘n’ roll in my back pocket and went ultra feminine with a mini dress instead.
This was also my first full night out in heels after breaking my ankle in December. My emergence was so wobbly, it made me even more impressed by the local celebrities and drag queens strutting the runway in their killer stilettos. But it was good to see familiar faces, including model buddies Neka Stephens and Tim Rose, and incredible two- and three-dimensional designer Melissa Rivera from Unleash Studio out in the crowd.
THE GALA was the first of what’s to be an annual event for the Life Foundation, a group that’s provided critical support for AIDS/HIV patients in our community for 30 years. With food and drink courtesy Soul De Cuba Café, Diamond Head Market & Grill, Redds Apple Ale, Koloa Rum and Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand, the refreshments were just as on point as the fashion and performances.
The LGBT community are some of my favorite people. They are always about trying to have a really great time; no matter how serious the underlying theme of an event is, fun is paramount. And anyone who knows me can attest that, even though I work hard, fun is pretty much my middle name. There was not one dowdy second in the whole affair that night.
In between the “Celebrities in Red” runway fashion show, a showcase of designer Andy South, and the Cure Couture fashion competition (won by Kyle Woolsey), entertainment included the fantastic 24-7 Danceforce, the cast of Manoa Valley Theatre’s “Rent” and Hawaii’s hottest drag performers.
The grand finale of the show blew the roof off the joint, with large-scale, elaborate feather pieces worn on the backs of the models in a turn that was a little Victoria’s Secret, but much more artful and bold. The models looked stunning — and I am happy to report that no one fell!
The feather pieces were from Couture by Calvi and were a highlight of the evening. After restraining myself from going backstage to barter drink tickets for couture earlier in the night, I came very close to going for one of those, but my boyfriend talked some sense into me. We just can’t fit ten-foot feather back pieces in the car.
I know, you’re disappointed; you were hoping to see me at a Chinatown meeting in a ten-foot feather couture piece, right?
Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.