An out-of-town (just-over- the -bridge) guest at the second annual Hilly Awards sponsored by CHAMPS summed up the look among the many Hillys sparkling attendees Friday night by noting that the women who tried hit it out of the park, and the men looked like they were at least trying. Since I live here, I am not going after the things that didn’t work quite so well, and any attempt at haute fashion on the Hill gets an ‘A’ for effort. But, more than that, it is all about the range of styles that greets the eye any time you walk into a Hill event.
Again, the intentionally silly mixed with the sublime for what is turning out to be the “Hill Prom,” held again at Eastern Market’s North Hall.
First, the flash and sparkle, because nothing says Hill dress-up more than sequins — it is where the mid-Atlantic mind goes when the goal is glitz.
Okay, I wore sequins – white – in a not-quite-vintage Badgley Mischka from Clothes Encounters across the street, bought earlier that day. “Service Provider of the Year” Mickey Bolek of Michael Anthony Salon, was bedecked in Swarovski crystals from head to… no, from collar to… belt; his collared, bedazzled shirt taking a cue from his figure skating regalia. Our lovely Brunch Girl and CHAMPS volunteer Claudia had a to-die-for lush black sequin dress that sizzled when she presented awards and cost a song at Forever 21, although she made it look like the red carpet had been rolled out chiefly to greet HER. Clever Dawn Price and her boutique’s savvy manager Ellie draped themselves in boas (turquoise and black, respectively) with their little black dresses and made the event seem even more festive and fabulous.
There were more bow-ties among men than a children’s pasta art project, and a man in a kilt, and I am okay with that. Some men’s jackets were very nice, and photographed well (always a good sign), while I loved Drew’s gold tie. (Did you choose it, Winnie?) Alex from The Fridge (runner up, best arts business), wore a hand-knit orange mama hat from Homebody–I have the exact same one, I found out, when I saw his a week earlier at my child’s birthday party there, although his looks more lived-in.
Out-of-town Mary noted a look that really worked, on Elizabeth from Frager’s. She wore a lovely, bias cut silk charmeuse mauve dress draped with a shawl, while platform heels and saucy hair prevailed among many younger women. Racy black stockings of lace and back seams added more visual interest than the North hall usually bears witness to, and there was even a Toulouse-Lautrec look among some women of black tights, heels, and petticoat or puffy-style flounces on shorter dresses.
Winnie “Mama Wore Prada” Yagan, Hill fashionplate, wore a chinchilla stole with leopard skin print heels as she rubbed shoulders with our lovely vegetarian Jen (Congratulations, Atlas!) who wore a lovely dress the rack lady at Nordstrom warned was “fashion-forward.” Jen rocked it, bow and side pockets and all.
There were a few bold red dresses, old-Hollywood-style, and shawls that happily were not worn by anyone shy, and while one wearer arrived in green Crocs paired with a “bridesmaid” dress, but changed to strappy shoes, another remained in her silver Crocs outfitted with sparkly things, which out-of-town Mary thought came across as fun and festive. It is refreshing to get a local fete sized up by someone who is “not from these parts.”
A friend and graphic artist attendee sported a high-contrast, geometric mod look, in a black dress with wide, white racing stripes on the sleeves, straightened black hair, and boots, which I thought looked smashing.
So there you have it–modern prints, florals, sequins, a little Moulin Rouge, 1940s red-dress glamour, smart jackets and the obligatory kilt make the Hill’s fashion look uniquely its own, yet you wouldn’t want it any other way. The idea of two Hill people showing up in the same dress to “Who Wore it Better” blues is never gonna happen here.