For me it was an emotional moment, sitting in the semi-dark in the audience, Phil and Stefanie, Deb and Colin, and my sister at my sides as we waited for the show to begin. Oh, let me just interrupt my unchecked tears here by adding that thanks to a perfect storm of Deb’s computer somehow deleting Colin’s e-ticket which prompted a contrite visit to the box office combined with Colin’s shall we say Recognizability Quotient, instead of all of us being seated in a hodgepodge throughout the auditorium (each of our assigned-seat tickets had been purchased separately and so we were all seated apart), we were graciously whisked to THE FRONT ROW and seated all together!! Yes, fame does have its privileges. And I was happy to partake thereof! Thanks, Colin *mwah*!!
Okay, back to my maternal sobbing. For the record, I didn’t expect to be so overwhelmed with emotion. I don’t know why. One would think, given my close relationship with my daughter, knowing that this would be her last school-inspired fashion show, that she would be facing her future and most probably one involving a move out of our city and most likely the country, I would’ve been inclined toward heavy emotion going in. But I think I was too elated and excited. More distracted by the promise and potential and—because I know her collection so well—so filled with parental pride about how it turned out that I forgot to be wistful. Instead, we all met for dinner before the show and feted Stefanie and laughed and caroused and I was just feeling so so good.
Flash forward to the lights going down and us sitting side by side in that theatre and the music starting up and my emotions suddenly and unexpectedly swelling and shifting to those of the proud mom who’s watched her child grow from a baby (who at 18-months would routinely pull herself out of her crib to change into elaborate outfits then crawl back into bed where we would find her later, sound asleep, peacefully donning—over pajamas—layers of swank tops, several posh necklaces, and a bedazzled headband or two) to a crayon-carrying child (no blank page would go left undrawn) to a fashion-curious teenager who HATED to sew, to a first year fashion design student (who had to turn down an opportunity to go to a top American university and who shouldered the disappointment with grace and determination) with lots of talent but only basic skills, to a mature and dedicated young woman who works two jobs (one as a paid design assistant at amazing Canadian fashion house, Greta Constantine, and one at super-cute retail store, Frock), designing several illustrations for online mags, while also going to school full-time, honing her sewing skills, developing her creative talent, and designing and building the extremely work-intensive collection you see here.
|Stefanie and I holding the gorgeous programs--yes, those are her dresses in the spread. |
Behind the mag, Deb, Colin and my sister, Nicole.
It all came rushing at me as the music started and the show began and I had to literally hold myself in my seat to prevent myself from grabbing my daughter and clutching her to my chest and sobbing out loud.
But the show did go on—and it was a magnificent display of talent and vision. Every student was required to design and create 5 outfits from any category they chose. There was everything from ballet tutus to Shakespearean costumes to bondage-wear to wearable art to men’s and children’s fashion to outfits for the fashion-conscious woman of today. Stefanie chose to design for women—and that’s the market she sees herself designing for in the future. Clothes that are classy and still sexy, that are beautifully and lovingly crafted, that are timeless while also being fashion forward. I know I’m her proud mother, but I also know what I like—and I LOVE her collection.
I also love the girl, this daughter of mine, who never stops dreaming and creating and pushing herself, no matter what the obstacles. Both my daughters constantly remind me that this is the joyful and courageous way we all should—and can—be living our lives every day.
Deb: I was praying that Barb was going to blog about Stefanie today. If she didn’t, I would have. Colin and I love Stefanie and have always stood in awe of her considerable talent and grace. Stefanie was nervous last night although you would not have known it until she said so. That is part of her charm. I had seen the sketch designs and knew they were good. I started to realize just how good, when we got there and found out that her designs would be closing the show. Then we saw them and knew why. They were ethereal and wearable, fanciful and edgy, sophisticated and sexy. They were Stef.
As I sat in that theatre I had my own feelings ruminating in my head, as this was the school that I had attended for four years, and we were in the theatre where I had done all my shows. And for the record it did not look smaller. And I remembered how it felt after the last show I was in and how, although scared, I felt I had the world at my feet. I hope Stefanie feels that way. Because she does.
|The dresses are all silk chiffon, with details in leather and wool.|
|Us at the end of the show (Nicole took the pic!).|
All photos: Philippe Ayoub, all dresses by Stefanie Ayoub. All rights reserved.
PS You can see more of Stefanie's work here.