Out & About: Trust fashion show combines couture, costume

November 9, 2018

The advance buzz for the Westmoreland Cultural Trust’s 14th Annual Runway Fashion Show sounded a bit like a local version of the Met Gala, the annual New York extravaganza often called the biggest night in fashion.

The theme of the Oct. 17 event in Greensburg’s Palace Theatre was “Fairy Tale Fashion,” and it promised to combine “haute couture and theatrical costume into a night to remember.”

Just like the Met Gala.

Local boutiques indulged in their wildest fashion fantasies to present modern looks inspired by fairy tale icons like Cinderella, Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood.

The opening dance number was “Be Our Guest,” from “Beauty and the Beast,” choreographed by local dance instructor Leyna Wright.

Appropriately, one of the hosts was Broadway star (and Greensburg native) George Dvorsky, who played Prince Charming in the New York City premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”

Dvorsky’s co-host was another rising star, Aubrey Burchell of Irwin, who lived her own real-life fairy tale as a 2018 “American Idol” contestant.

Halfway through the event one of the stage lights broke and shattered.

Guests thought the flying glass was part of the show, but Dvorsky quickly realized it wasn’t. He immediately asked if there was a doctor or nurse in the house when he noticed someone was hurt. The right foot of a Dorothy Otto of Hempfield, who was seated in the second row of the VIP section on the stage, was bleeding.

Otto was attended to by a doctor and nurse who happened to be in attendance. The stage crew cleaned up the pieces of glass, and the show went on -- with Otto staying to the end.

“I have been through worse things,” she said as she walked off stage with her foot wrapped in white tape. “I’ve survived an earthquake and breast cancer.”

Kelli Brisbane, assistant to the president and Westmoreland Cultural Trust special event coordinator said, “Sometimes, as you know, life isn’t always a fairytale. I am glad she is OK.”

VIP pre-party guests had the option of an up-close-and-personal look at the fashions with onstage seating. Everyone was invited to stay for the after-party, with an enchanted forest of pop-up shops, light bites, desserts and a cash bar.

Working hard to ensure another successful fashion fete were Brisbane; staffers Kayleigh Nestor, Jennifer Benford and Shayne Louder; and intern Lea Wesolowski.

Planning committee members included Christina Cernuto-Guzik, Emily Balizet, Susan Dickson-Houser, Monica Faulk, Melissa Herrington, Mary Ann Jaram, Lynne Jesko, Ashlea Lee, Kate Lloyd, Connie Mahl, Lisa Mensch, Kary Milan, Kensie Porterfield and Crystal Stone.

Not to be left out of the fun were Trust President Mike Langer and his wife, Paula, and board members Jamie McHugh, Mona Pappafava, Terri Grabiak, Kevin and Jeanie Bock, Barbara Ferrier and Keith Biskup.

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