Going into Rene Ropas’ Dollhouse Prom fashion show, I was not sure what to expect. I had met the Founder, Creative Director and Lead Designer, Morgan Carson a few weeks before to talk business and I couldn’t picture what she was trying to explain! But it all made sense as I walked through the doors of IMusic on September 22nd for the event. During our business chat, Morgan explained the concept of her Team Unstoppable, a group of many volunteers she was working with to put the show together. After meeting Morgan, I got the sense that not only was she insanely creative but also that she has a drive like I have never seen in a local designer.
Her creativity was evident the moment I walked into the space. Her main sponsor, Neuro Drinks was prominently displayed throughtout the venue but not in that cheese, saley way but in the most creative way I had seen anyone use those cool Neuro bottles. Models along with Morgan herself were by the door greeting guests and setting the tone for the evening. Irreverant, fun, creative and quirky was the vibe I got. The models were wearing over the top Rene Ropas prom dresses with exaggerated make-up mimicking that of dolls and their hair, which were even more over the top, had lit up pieces of Neuro bottle protruding creatively from their big, bright yellow, pink, blue and orange wigs! Morgan used the entire venue as the runway, with a main floor stage and traditional walk-way anchoring the space with a very cool black and white woman’s face painting and Neuro bottles serving as the stage backdrop. Not to keep mentioning Neuro, but as I walk through the space, I noticed that Morgan and her team, had used the bottles to make center pieces for the table as well as flowers and chandeliers. She also made center pieces with Yelp.com print-outs and a chandelier of Shocking Goat colorful watches. By the way, all guests received a Shocking Goat watch in their swag boxes.
As the well-dressed and eclectic group of guests gathered, I still wondered what I was in for, she had mentioned the LED lights “doll” performance and I was trying to imagine what that would be like. I was also curious about how she was doing a “collection” given that her materials are limited due to the fact that she uses vintage, locally sourced, and recyled fabrics to minimize the impact on the enviroment. As we were getting ready for the show to start, Morgan came out and talked to us about the rewarding experience of working with her “Unstoppable” team. She talked about her believes in the power of community and was especially proud of having gathered close to 100 volunteers to work for this event.
As the lights dimmed, I got ready to take it all in and was pleasantly surprised to see a collection that was devoid of the flowery prints I had seen in her previous collection. It was a collection of beautiful feminine silhouettes with a vintage feel yet felt modern. But what I found most intriguing is how Morgan managed to make the collection feel cohesive by using the same organic motif through many of the pieces.
I asked Morgan about her inspirations and materials used, and here is what the young designer had to say: “I would call it organic lines. I used a lot of stretch wool and tweed (it is a fall collection). The line was inspired by my need to be self expressed within my own personal life experiences and constraints. It was about who I have seen myself as and transforming who I am into a powerful women. My best friend defined me, if she said she was moving to the woods, I would have moved to the woods even if I don’t like the woods (she was going to with her husband, I was ready to pack up). After she passed I had to learn how to be Morgan, not Ash’s best friend. I didn’t want to deny all the great the things she has inspired in me and created me as, but I wanted to be fully self expressed. This, to me, is like the 50′s housewife finding her own identity even within cultural constraints, we don’t want to put the pretty dresses down but we do want to be powerful women who manifest our destiny, and that is my collection “Infiniti”. The fabrics I chose were from a beautiful collection of fabric from a housewife from the 50′s. She grew up to be an old crafter with a house of vintage fabrics and an amazing family who loved her. They just seemed perfect. And putting them together in untraditional ways was a great way to show that we can still keep the symbols of the old and transform it into our unstoppable selves!”
The show was short and sweet but guests then experienced something that I can dare say most had not seeing in Seattle before and will be sure to remember. An extension of the fashion show, the Doll flashing LED light show began! The main stage and runway was overtaken by a multitude of dolls who quickly took their pose. A fashionable male model, walked into the stage and started to turn the “dolls’ knob” on their back, who them proceeded to dance to a very trance like music. The show lasted a good 10 minutes with different dolls, all with Morgan’s designs, coming in and out of the stage and representing different personalities. The show was interesting to say the least and created a trance-like vibe. When the show was over, I felt, the audience’s response didn’t fully reflect the magnificence of the show. Morgan came back out and a dance-off with a Mr.Fresh Stays Fresh ensued. Not sure who won but I’ll woud say Morgan held her own. Guests partied the night away after the show.
What I love about Rene Ropas’ Morgan Carson, is not just her creativity and unstoppable nature but her ability to have fun and not take herself too seriously. She is loving what she is doing and you can bet that you will see her name pop up not just in the local fashion scene but in the international fashion scene very soon. Congratulations Team Unstoppable!
Photos courtesy of Diana J. Lee, a few photos provided by Mike Adams.