20 Years of Fashion – 1,000 Nights of Hope for RMHC: Day 1. Wednesday, August 22
Carrie Rowlands Johnson
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Concealed by the soft velvet of the dressing room curtain, one foot and then a second steps delicately into the blue fabric. Silver tipped nails grasp the top of the dress and pull it into position, just below the arms. The gracious boutique owner is standing patiently outside the curtain, expertly zipping the look together and offering an approving nod. One foot in front of the other, where a gilded mirror speaks its truth… after today’s show, this dress must be taken home with me and given a proper place in my rapidly filling closet.
I walk into the center of the boutique, where a small group of five girls gathers, each proudly clothed in pieces from the very same collection.
Each of us is six years old again, giddy on champagne and the play of dress up. Natalie Sillery is our delightful hostess… her personal invitation to be models for the day, a designer’s appearance and a dear charity the impetus for the gathering here at her upscale Saratoga clothing boutique, Saratoga Trunk.
Orchestrating fashion shows seems to be second nature to Natalie. Her poise and charm hide the hours and hours of laborious planning she and her dedicated assistant Trina Lucas and committee members so diligently log.
As we wait for Nicole Miller to walk in, talented photographer Lisa Miller of Studio di Luce guides us through various poses. Gleefully, we shop through the racks and play with different looks, slipping on these expertly crafted dresses as Miller captures the images in her camera.
Today’s trunk show will be followed by a cocktail reception at the Adelphi Hotel (see gallery below,) and so it is a day-long add-on to Natalie’s yearly fashion show at the At the Rail Pavilion at the Saratoga Racecourse, benefitting the Ronald McDonald House.
Light fills Natalie’s eyes as she explains the significance of this day. She has showcased Nicole Miller’s stunning collection in her store for more than twenty years but has never had the opportunity to feature the designer herself. When Nicole Miller agreed to appear at the event, Natalie orchestrated this day as a special preview to the grand yearly fashion show and a way to earn even more money for this dear charity.
Girl talk and giggles fill the air as we wait for Nicole Miller’s arrival. She is at the Saratoga Arms next door, freshening up after an earlier stop, a tour of the Ronald McDonald House in Albany, where she donated one of her dresses to a young patient.
Our anticipation is rewarded as we meet the petite redhead. She is Queen Bee, graciously entertaining the delighted women buzzing around her… straightening hems, offering suggestions, posing for pictures. Curious customers walk out with not only a new piece to add to their Nicole Miller collection, but a few words and photos with the namesake designer herself.
The night ends with a reception at The Adelphi (see gallery below,) female ticket holders showing off their own precious Nicole Miller pieces… some vintage, some purchased just that morning.
The blue fabric falls gracefully around my body at the hotel, a pause in front of a mirror murmuring further words of truth. I’m not the only woman whose six-year old self has emerged here tonight. Thank you, Nicole Miller – dress AND dream maker.
How grateful we are to have Lisa Miller Studio di Luce provide the photos for Carrie’s segment!
And, we cannot wait to show off her runway photos in part 2. This photo of her, above at right, with THEIA friends Pascal, Don and Evelyn – got her seal of approval. So we are further gratified to have it headline our gallery. Enjoy!– AG
************************A GALLERY OF MEETS + GREETS************************
UPDATE: Part 2 – Hitting the Runway – is right HERE..
August 29, 2018