The scene at the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Fall Fashion Preview at Belmont Country Club could have been taken straight from the pages of a high-end fashion magazine as beautiful and impeccably dressed, fashion forward women (and a few dapper gentlemen) from all over the region gathered to support the Tigerlily Breast Cancer Foundation. The Women in Business series is sponsored by Summit Community Bank and the spotlight sponsor for the Fall Fashion Preview was Telos Corporation, an advanced technology firm located in Ashburn, VA.
The evening began with a networking reception featuring the night’s signature cocktail, “The Queen of Hearts,” a refreshing and effervescent drink that was a perfect reflection of the festivities. The energy in the room was electric and crackled with anticipation as cocktail glasses flowed and conversations nearly reached a fever-pitch around what was surely the most highly attended and anticipated event of the year for the Chamber.
Vendors from all over the County were on hand, showcasing their goods and services, and not a single want or desire went unrepresented by the night’s business partners and sponsors. From delectable strawberry cakepops and chocolate eclairs from Chantel’s Bakery, to custom made jewelry by DIYA Designs, to exquisite Passchal Eco-Luxury Handbags crafted from recycled tires and automotive materials, it was a cornucopia of shopping delights.
Swag Bag sponsor Fortessa outdid themselves with goodies that would rival swag bags from any Hollywood or fashion event. Contents of the bag included a celebrity chef cookbook, jewelry from Lia Sophia, gift cards and discounts for spa and salon services and other items designed to please every woman’s inner fashionista. The door prizes were no exception and this blogger was fortunate enough to win a gift certificate from Parma Spa. Vendor booths and other promotional sponsors included ArtSquare Featured Artist Courtney Murphy, Blue Pretzel Studios, Dreams and Destinations Travel, Farmers Insurance, Miche Bags and 7Company Weight Loss & Wellness Center.
Emcee Angie Goff of NBC Channel 4 was bubbly and engaging with a self-deprecating sense of humor that was infectious. She was having fun and worked the room to make sure we all laughed and had fun right along with her. Nothing was off-limits, and she frequently encouraged us to “keep the wine flowing” because it made everything she did that much better. The theme of the show was “Through the Looking Glass,” and was divided into three segments, Casual Wear, The New 9-5 Business Wear and Elegant Evening Wear.
Annette Harris of Harris ImageWorks was the show’s stylist and provided commentary for the looks featured in the fashion show. The show’s models were all members of the Women in Business Community. They were Lorna Campbell Clarke of the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, Laura Fletcher of Comfort Suites Leesburg, Lena Heaslip of Beyond Networking, Maria Lohman of Costco, Pam Pines of Loudoun Insurance Group, Melanie Schmidt of NOVA Medical and Urgent Care Center, Inc. and the sole male of group, Chris Rajca of Capital Computers & Networks. Clothing for the fall preview was provided by Altar’d State, Coldwater Creek, Ebrada Atelier Bridal and Formal, with jewelry provided by lia sophia- Susan Kipp and handbags provided by Potomac Falls Express Lube & Car Wash featuring Passchal Eco-Luxury Bags. Hair styling was provided by Salon Montage.
Ms. Harris also gave a preview of the latest fall trends we should expect this season. A few of the trends mentioned by Ms. Harris included color blocking, peplum detail, t-strap and ankle strap pumps, cap toe ballet flats and printed/patterned jeans. She said it’s important to note that you don’t want to have an entire wardrobe comprised of trends, but rather create a wardrobe that has core pieces that can be “amped up” with more trendy pieces. The key to projecting the best image is to build upon your look and make sure your outer-self matches your inner-self. Another key element to creating your look is proper fit. “Make sure you fit the largest portions of your body and tailor to fit the rest,” Ms. Harris stressed. The message was clear: Understand your proportions. Fit is critical.
The highlight of the evening came when Maimah Karmo, founder of the Tigerlily Cancer Research Foundation, addressed the gathering with her truly inspiring and uplifting story of loss, hope, survival, love and ultimately purpose. In 2006, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. She had no family history of breast cancer and was only 32-years-old. While undergoing chemotherapy, she made a promise to God that if she survived, she would create an organization that would educate, empower, advocate for and support young women affected by breast cancer. After her second round of treatment, Tigerlily Foundation was born. Ms. Maimo was a vision of dignity in the face of adversity and, while her remarks were brief, they were powerful and incredibly moving. There was not a dry eye in the house when she stepped down from the podium, but they were not tears of sorrow but rather tears of admiration for a woman that is the epitome of a beautiful warrior–fierce, powerful and a force whose purpose is to help every woman she encounters to not just survive, but thrive. What an inspiration!
The evening ended with the models taking a final bow to thunderous applause. A young lady who sat next to me remarked, “This is the best show that we’ve ever put on. I cannot wait for next year’s event!” I can honestly say, neither can I!