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Event Spotlight: Fash Bash 2015 {Preview}

We certainly hope you all have your best outfits ready, because Detroit’s must-attend event of the summer is just around the corner! Hosted by the Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Junior Council and Neiman Marcus, this year’s Fash Bash is taking place at the iconic DIA on Thursday, Aug. 13 from 7 to 11 p.m. This annual celebration of art, culture and fashion will feature a strolling cocktail party, the Art of Fashion runway show and an elegant after party.

We recently chatted with the lovely Amy Zimmer, Incoming President of the Founders Junior Council, and Lindsey Barile, Public Relations Manager for Neiman Marcus at Somerset Collection, to get the inside scoop on what stylish guests have to look forward to this year. Read on for Styleshack’s exclusive sneak peek of Fash Bash 2015!

Photos by Olga Gamburg Photography.

{SS}: Can you share the history behind Fash Bash?

{Amy}: Founders Junior Council is celebrating its 50th year as an auxiliary this year, with Fash Bash as the pinnacle event in our celebration, which is very exciting for us as an organization.

Started in the early 1970s at the Ponchatrain Hotel, Fash Bash initially drew a crowd too big for the ballroom, and was subsequently moved outside to take place around the hotel’s pool, becoming known as Splash Bash. In its first year, the fashion-centric event was sponsored by Hughes & Hatcher and featured local celebrities as models.

Following several years at the Ponchatrain, the event was hosted at other key Detroit locations, including the Renaissance Center and Fox Theatre, with both Hudson’s and Saks Fifth Avenue having served as sponsors throughout the years.

In its early years, the annual fundraiser benefitted the Detroit Youth Theatre, which began at the DIA, and helped to quickly grow the event into one of the city’s most popular and successful fundraisers. Today, it’s a much sought-after ticket that continues to draw a crowd of metro Detroiters eager to support the museum through an evening of fashion.

Fash Bash 2015 is proudly presented by the DIA’s Founders Junior Council and Neiman Marcus. The Lincoln Motor Company is the official automotive partner. We can’t wait!

Amy Zimmer at last year’s Fash Bash.

{SS}: How long has Neiman Marcus participated in hosting Fash Bash?

{Lindsey}: Neiman Marcus has been partnering with the DIA and FJC to present Fash Bash since 2011. We’re in our fifth year of this partnership and could not be more excited for the event next month.

{SS}: Can you tell us about your role and how you’re personally involved with Fash Bash?

{Amy}: I’m the incoming president and currently serve as the vice president and programming chair for the Founders Junior Council, host of Fash Bash. As programming chair, I’m FJC’s representative for the Fash Bash event with support from our unbelievably wonderful chairs: Lindsey and Tom Buhl, Christine and John Giampetroni, Elise and Rip Hayes, and Lori and Larry Rapp.

{Lindsey}: I’m the Public Relation Manager for the Troy Neiman Marcus store. My main roles include event planning and execution, managing charitable partnerships, working with the media contact in our market to increase Neiman Marcus exposure, and acting as the liaison between corporate and the store team to ensure clear communication of all marketing directives and special client incentives.

As the presenting sponsor, Neiman Marcus takes a very active role in the planning and execution of Fash Bash. We partner with the DIA and FJC to select event chairs, create an event concept, secure vendors and execute event logistics. Our main focus is the Art of Fashion runway show. Neiman Marcus takes full responsibility in the planning and execution of this highlight of Fash Bash. My team has been busy working on model castings, timelines, hair and makeup directives, and music to make this year’s fashion show the best yet!

Ken Downing, Lindsey Barile and Ken Dewey at Fash Bash 2014.

{SS}: What’s in store for guests attending Fash Bash 2015?

{Amy}: Fash Bash is a one-of-a-kind evening showcasing fashion, food and fun against the grand backdrop of the Detroit Institute of Arts. This year, we’re hosting the event on the John R Street side of the museum (the back side), allowing us an opportunity to highlight another beautiful museum setting that attendees may not have seen previously, as we’ve traditionally utilized the Woodward-facing front steps of the museum for the event. 

The celebration kicks off with an outdoor cocktail party, followed by Neiman Marcus’ Art of Fashion runway show in the DIA’s magnificent Great Hall. Afterward, drinks and dancing conclude the affair at the Lincoln Black Label Afterglow. The inspiration for this year’s party was Carolina Herrera’s pre-fall collection, so expect to see a lot of soft, watercolor touches throughout the party. Hendricks’s Gin will be creating a specialty cocktail for the evening, and Ken Downing from Neiman Marcus will be coming to Detroit for the second year to again style the fashion show.

{Lindsey}: We’re so lucky to have the support of Neiman Marcus Senior Vice President and Fashion Director Ken Downing. Ken is personally styling the entire show for Fash Bash. Guests will be treated to some of the top trends of the fall 2015 season, which include folkloric influences, full-bodied reds, wintry whites, flare trousers, ear candy and modern fur. There will also be a variety of top designers featured such as Chanel, Celine, Dries Van Noten, Etro, The Row, Derek Lam and Valentino to name a few.

{SS}: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Fash Bash?

{Amy}: This year, we anticipate another amazing evening that showcases the Detroit Institute of Arts (a world class museum right in our midst), and celebrates the city and all it has to offer as we raise proceeds that will directly benefit the museum.

{Lindsey}: Our team is most excited to be involved in the premier fashion event of the season. It’s a wonderful way to kick off the fall season and show all the fashionable people of Detroit what Neiman Marcus has to offer.

{SS}: How has Fash Bash evolved throughout the years? What are some of your favorite memories from past events?

{Amy}: Through the years, Fash Bash has had a variety of locations throughout the downtown area and a variety of formats, but the focus since the name became Fash Bash has always been on style and fashion intermixed with the arts. My very favorite memories from past Fash Bash parties, of course, have to include seeing what all our stylish guests are wearing, from the creative to classic attire. Each year is so special and unique. We’ve had special guests like Cindy Crawford and Ru Paul in the past; and one year there were models throughout the party painted in full body paint designed like pop art. The party has been held at a variety of outstanding venues from the Fox Theatre to rooftop locales, and the décor is always beyond compare!

{Lindsey}: The fashion show really is my favorite component of the event. Each year is so unique and exciting. I loved the 2013 opening with the electronic violinist, and last year’s show was styled to perfection! We’re so lucky to have the support of our Fashion Director Ken Downing. He came on board last year to personally style the fashion show and will be returning to do so again this year. Ken has fallen in love with the DIA and Detroit. In fact, he recently purchased a home in Detroit and will be a part-time Detroiter in the near future! With his support, I know that the event will continue for years to come.

{SS}: What do you love most about being involved with Fash Bash?

{Amy}: First and foremost, the best thing about being involved in Fash Bash is the amount of money we’re able to raise for the DIA.

{Lindsey}: Personally, the best thing about Fash Bash, besides the amazing party and unforgettable fashion show, is the fact that we’re helping to bring people to the museum. In light of the struggles that the DIA has gone through in the past few years, we’re truly celebrating this cultural gem and ensuring that it’s around for future generations to enjoy.

{SS}: Why do you think Fash Bash continues to be such a well-loved event in the Detroit community?

Neiman Marcus General Manager Renee Janovsky with last year’s Fash Bash event chairs: Vivian Pickard, Brooke Fisher, Ashley Crain and Fair Radom.

{Amy}: Fash Bash is a premier summer event in Detroit that’s appreciated by a wide demographic of people, as it focuses on philanthropy for the museum, fashion (through the runway show and the styles of our guests), fun and the city. The production of the event is bar-none, and guests really enjoy having a wonderful outside event in the summertime. The excitement and glamour of the runway show give the evening a special twist that takes the event beyond just being “another fundraiser” and elevates it to a new level.

{Lindsey}: I truly believe that Fash Bash has continued to grow in attendance and appeal due to the fact that it’s supporting one of the city’s most treasured cultural institutions. The DIA is near to so many hearts in our community, and at the end of the day, Fash Bash really is here to help support the museum.

{SS}: How does Fash Bash benefit the DIA and the city of Detroit?

{Amy}: Above and beyond the proceeds raised that will directly benefit the museum, Fash Bash also gets people into the city and to the DIA for an amazing evening of festivities. The party showcases the city and the museum, and it’s a great reminder of how vibrant our city and cultural community can be.

{SS}: How does the event speak to Detroit’s growing fashion industry?

{Amy}: Fash Bash highlights incoming fall trends in the Neiman Marcus Art of Fashion runway show, which features pieces from a variety of designers. Also, just by its very nature of being Fash Bash, the event supports the local fashion industry by appealing to individuals passionate about fashion and design; and the event becomes a place for those individuals to gather and share their fashion expressions through their attire.

{Lindsey}: We certainly love the momentum that’s growing around fashion in Detroit. Although local designers aren’t represented in the fashion show, I’m sure we’ll see guests showcasing creative designs from local designers. Because Fash Bash is a celebration of not only fashion but the city of Detroit, we do book all our models from local agencies as well as our DJs for the evening and event vendors. It truly is a celebration of all that the city has to offer.

{SS}: Are tickets still available for this year’s event?

{Amy}: The Fashion Show is completely sold out, but there are still limited tickets available to the Lincoln Black Label Afterparty, where guests can drink and dine on the event’s delicious food while watching a live feed of the fashion show on outdoor plasma screens. Tickets are available at www.dia.org/fjc or by calling the DIA Box Office at 313-833-4005.

Attending this year’s Fash Bash? Be sure to tag your stylish photos with #FASHBASH2015, and stay tuned for Styleshack’s event coverage and insider StyleNotes!

 

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