With the ever-so-talented and stylish, Wesley Nault
Still basking in the light of last week’s 2nd Annual Catwalk for a Cure. I am honored to be a media sponsor and to have the opportunity to work with passionate, organized and professional people like Bryan and Nick, meet the amazing designers, like Wesley Nault and capture the spirit of survivors like Marybeth Fratus.
It was amazing to capture the models from the end of the runway – I told Marta, my ever so stylish +1 for the evening, that I felt like a kid in a candystore. The shoes, the fabrics, the talent, the strength, the pride – it was all so touching and overwhelming.
I was proud to have my girls there to support me – Lisa, Stacey, Diane, Marta, Julie – you guys are amazing! I am already looking forward to next year and have lots of ideas for the team.
Want to see all the pictures? Check them out on The Stylish Eye Facebook fan page – become a fan too…stay up to date on the latest trends and style happenings about town!
Continuing my series on the designers who are making Catwalk for a Cure the style event of the season…I introduce Julie Montesion a local designer based in Natick, MA. Her collection carries her namesake, Julie Montesion, and is an amazing designer of evening, bridal and special occasion dresses. Cannot WAIT to see what she cooks up for us on Thursday night…hope to see you there and thanks, Julie, for your inspiration and dedication to fashion for a great cause!
And now, meet Julie Montesion…
Tell me about yourself. How did you get involved in Catwalk for a Cure? Why is this event important to you?
I am a self-taught freelance designer who specializes in special occasion/formal wear. This is my second year designing for Catwalk For A Cure. I got involved in 2010 because I was looking for a creative way to help raise money for cancer awareness. The event is important to me because I lost my grandmother to cancer in 2008. This is a way for me to honor her memory and to help raise money to one day find a cure.
What is your design philosophy? How does your creative process work as you’re designing new pieces?
I think fashion should be fun. I like a lot of color and my designs express that. It is classic styles with a flirty twist.
How did you work with the cancer survivors to design the pieces they will be wearing next week?
One of my models is currently fighting cancer and undergoing treatment. We worked together to make sure that the style was something that she would feel comfortable in. I moved up the necklines of some garments, added straps to hide bandages and incorporated silk scarves to add some modesty to the dresses.
Julie Montesion "Terri" Dress
How did you get started in design? What words of wisdom would you share with aspiring designers?
I got started in design and formal wear when I was high school. I would make custom prom dresses for all my friends. I would tell any aspiring designers to not give up and to keep at it. It is hard at times but also very rewarding.
What is one style trend for Fall you love?
I love the tie-neck blouses that have made a comeback this season.
What can the stylish guests expect to see from you at the event?
They can expect a really fun show with lots of sparkle!
What is your biggest accomplishment as a designer? And, what’s next?
Creating a wedding dress for a bride is always a big accomplishment for me. It’s a huge honor to share in someone’s special day and to be a part of their life changing event. Up next for me is my own wedding! I’ll be busy designing and making bridesmaid dresses for my 2012 wedding.
Being a media partner for this year’s Catwalk for a Cure has been inspirational in so many ways. I’ve had the chance to get the inside scoop on the creative process and what makes the show such a special event for everyone who attends. I wanted to share the story of Wesley Nault, creative director/owner of an inspirational collection of his own namesake, Wesley Nault. Wesley had the honor of being chosen for Season 5 of Project Runway (one of my fave shows!) and is based in one of the fashion mecca’s of the world, New York City.
Wesley is a featured designer at Catwalk for a Cure – just a few days away on Thursday October 13th at the ever-so-glam State Room in downtown Boston. Tickets are still available (get ‘em here) and I hope to see you there!
And without further adieu, I introduce Wesley Nault – his story in his words.
“I moved to New York to pursue a career in fashion at the age of 18. I was formally trained at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Fast forward a few years, and after spending a year working for Marc Jacobs, I was ready to break out on my own landing a spot on the 5th Season of the Emmy Award winning show, Project Runway in 2008. Although my “auf wiedersehen” came early, I said “guten tag” to countless exciting opportunities, everything from uniforms for the new Yankee Stadium and becoming a spokes person for Brother International, to vegetable dresses and superhero and showgirl costumes. In 2010, I won GEN ART’s New Garde grant with a fellow contestant from the Project Runway and together we showed a widely received collection that was hosted by Molly Sims. Later that year marked the launch of my namesake collection, Wesley Nault, which is currently in its third season.
When Bryan Finocchio, founder and director of Catwalk for a Cure, first reached out to me about participating in this year’s event, I could not have been more eager. Originally from Massachusetts myself, I would not be where I am today with out the support from all of my family and friends. And getting involved with Catwalk for a Cure meant I could finally give back to the community that has supported me all these years in a greater way… for a cause.
The easy part of designing for me is inspiration. I am inspired by everything! You just have to look outside of what something is supposed to be and see it for what it could become. But as the design process starts, it becomes a constant tug of war, a battle between hard and soft. Eventually, I find a middle ground that balances the two, but the road to it is sometimes a grueling one. There is so much emotion that goes into each piece I design, between the hints of inspiration and attention to detail and finishing. By the time I finish a piece, we have gone through a roller coaster of highs and lows. But at the end of the day, when I take a moment to breathe, I look around… and my creatively chaotic, too small, too cold, too expensive studio becomes a world full of beautiful things that I dreamed and sketched and designed and sewed and I just breathe it in… and its euphoric… because it is those moments I can see my past, present and future coming together and any doubts or what ifs don’t matter, because for that moment everything is beautiful again.
Wesley Nault Collection
I started designing during those awkward days in middle school. Growing up in a relatively small town, I didn’t have a lot of access to what you would consider “high-fashion,” so I was dead set on making it myself. Whatever I could get my hands on, I would push it through that sewing machine. I did a lot of deconstructing and reconstructing in those days. And I am so thankful for those experimental years, learning how things were put together by ripping them apart and really getting to know the sewing machine.
My best advice for aspiring designers is to first remember that the fashion industry is just that, an INDUSTRY. You really have to love it because the glamorous moments of photo shoots and fashion shows seam few and far between at times, especially with the countless, sleepless nights.
One could compare the Project Runway experience to an obscure sleep away camp… bunking together with new found friends, and foes, for a month and a half while every moment of every day is chaperoned, filmed, photographed and logged, with the added bonus of hyper competition mode. That set is a TENSE, TINY, HOT space. Did I mention TENSE. Oh and HOT. Who new mic packs could pick up sounds from the central air when its on? Thank G*d for my short shorts. Overall though, it was an amazing, exciting experience. It has really pushed me to come into myself as a designer since then.
Trends for Fall… Python seems to be the exotic skin du jour. Also among my favs, Navaho prints and palettes/sequins.
Welsey Nault Collection
I will be showing my Spring 2012 collection at Catwalk for a Cure, which I just debuted at New York Fashion Week in September. The collection is entitled The Annunciation of the Virgin, and was my first solo presentation under my name sake collection. The theme parallels works of art by the same title during the Renaissance and Baroque periods when the Arch Angel Gabriel ascended the Heavens to announce the Virgin Mary with child. Both gowns in the collection represent the majors players in the subject matter. The white gown representing Gabriel’s ascendance through the clouds and the beaded gown creating a three dimensional halo of embellishment, evoking the halo depicted in such works surrounding the Madonna. Black leather lilies stud and spike several pieces from the collection. Lilies being a common symbol in works of the same theme, Gabriel is often portrayed by artists with a spray of lilies upon his announcement to Mary. Lace also played a major role in fabrication throughout the collection. Laid among layers of tulle and receding into cloud-like dimensions, the lace was incorporated into soft drapes and tailored silhouettes, highlighting abstract skeletal structures. This season, I also collaborated with Satori Breonn, pairing each look with jewelry made for specifically for the line.In all, the collection was meant to be my annunciation to the fashion industry as a serious player to watch out for.
A milestone for the Wesley Nault brand this year has been dressing Kim Kardashian for several events, which also landed her on the best dressed list in People Magazine. Kim was recently quoted on E! News saying that Wesley Nault was one of her top 10 designers to wear. With only two seasons under my belt at the time, it was quite the complement and really gave me the motivation to push the collection to the next level.
Next on my wish list… have a chance to nap before my next show at Fashion Week.”
Well, Wesley, I hope you find time for a massage and a nap before your next show and will be sure to share a glass of vino at CW4AC on Thursday! Look forward to seeing you then and thank you for your amazing contribution to helping to educate and eradicate breast cancer.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Bryan Finocchio, Founder & Director of Catwalk for a Cure and wanted to know more about his organization and the event that’s coming up on Thursday, October 13th at 7pm at the State Room here in Boston (get your tickets here.) I’ve got my pink frock ready to go, along with my +1, the ever so fun and stylish, Marta Kagan. We’re ready for a fun night of up-and-coming designers, cancer survivors-turned-runway models and pink cocktails, of course. Thanks to Bryan for sharing the history of this fabulous event and for his passion and dedication to eradicating breast cancer.
Tell me about Catwalk for a Cure. How did it get started? What was at the core of how it all began?
In nursing school, many professors told us that “Nursing is your #1 priority, everything else comes second.” I guess I am defiant? Having a background in the performing arts, I have always wanted to do something different that incorporates my medical background and my arts background. I have had many women in my life diagnosed with breast cancer (grandmother, cousin, family, friends etc.) and one women in particular, my Women’s Health professor. She was a “tough broad”, or that’s what she called herself. She was very different from all the other professors. She understood everyone has their own separate lives and that you are able to do anything. Also, to be a women’s health lecturer, you need to have a sense of humor, and she did.
In April of 2010 she told the class, after waiting 2 hours that she was diagnosed with progressive Stage 3 breast cancer. I can honestly say there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. I remember sitting there speechless. I also remember thinking I am going to do something to give back. I am going to do a pink dress fashion show in Boston (something that hasn’t been done). I guess you could say she was the core inspiration for this whole idea.
I love the combination of fashion for a good cause. Tell me about some of the designers who will be featured on the runway?
Zack Lo - Bumble Zoo Cerise
This year we have eight designers participating in the show. Their assignment was to create a mini collection having one all-pink look and the rest pink accents. This approach is different than the all-pink fashion show last year. I wanted to give the designers more creative freedom to express who they are as an artist. We first start off with the cocktail hour. We will have eccentric shoe designer, Zack Lo, and environmentally-friendly designer, Janice Louise Miller dressing models to walk around cocktail hour and give the guests something new and fresh to look at. On the runway we’ll see six designers Nicole Herzog, Julie Montesion, Candice Wu, Julie Kontos, Drea Couture and Wesley Nault. The audience will be seeing fashion school graduates from School of Fashion Design on Newbury St, Lasell College, self-taught designers, ones who have studied abroad, and of course, Wesley Nault, our featured designer from Season 5 of Project Runway!
Susan G. Komen has done an amazing job raising money for cancer education and research. How did you come to partner with this organization for this event?
Before I started Catwalk for a Cure, I knew I needed a charity to give back to. My mother worked in Radiology for some time and used to do the walks for breast cancer and had mentioned Susan G. Komen. I wanted a charity in Boston where the money went to education and research, because that is where the knowledge and prevention happens. The root for it is education. If women/men are not taught self exams, signs and symptoms, new treatments etc., we will be in much worse shape with statistics off the chart. After researching, I met with The Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for a Cure in a Starbucks right in the Financial District and explained what I wanted to do. Right away I had great feedback, it was something new and fresh, and they were thrilled to help with this project.
What can people who attend this fashionable soiree expect on Thursday, October 13th? Tell us about the venue, the program and the fashion!
I think telling people that it is at the State Room is good enough. The view from the 33rdfloor of 60 State St. is absolutely incredible. Not to mention the modern architecture of the venue. Most people remember the place at the old “Bay Tower room”….I guess being 23, I have no idea what that meant. The event will start at 7pm with a cocktail hour and silent auction. Here guests will walk around, bid on items, enjoy a signature cocktail, fresh beer from Harpoon Brewery, hors ‘doeuvres from State Room, watch models walk and admire the looks, take a photo infront of our SOUL by Ludacris “step and repeat”, be interview by TTN-HD productions, and have their photos taken by “paparazzi”. The fashion show will start at 9:15pm. Here guests will enjoy our designers, music by Andrew Mason (DJ Dropl3t) and their collections as well as models, cancer survivors, and business professionals walking for the cause. After the show, guests will be escorted to the mezzanine of the Great Room for more cocktails, desserts from Five Bite Cupcakes, Pinkberry, and Chobani, as well as meet the designers and models who have made the night possible.
Where can people go to buy tickets?
Please visit catwalkforacure.eventbrite.com. Tickets are $100 and include signature cocktail, passed hors d’oeuvres, silent auction, fashion show, gift bag, and post reception and proceeds go directly to Susan G. Komen for breast cancer education and research.
What do you love best about the event?
Everything! I love the stress and excitement of planning it, the final product, but mostly the smiles on all the guests faces as well as the survivors. After all it is for them. When they smile, I smile. The survivors are who inspired me. I remember last year, a guest coming up to me, with tears in her eye, and explained to me how much she enjoyed the show…she was currently going through treatment.
Also, a few thank you’s to my team and the people making all of this possible. The event is hosted by Practically Broadway, Inc., a non-profit visual and performing arts organization. Also, I could not have done this without my team: Neira Pekmez: Event Coordinator, Christina Ruggeri: Model and Designer Coordinator, Iliana Galvez: Asst. Event Coordinator, Nick Mandella: Lead Photographer and Press Liaison.
And the big question…what will you be wearing?
That is a good question! I spend so much time planning, its usually the week of the event type deal. This year I have been looking at Express, Cole Haan, Nordstrom, and Brooks Brothers. I will most likely go with a black or gray jacket and pants, pink shirt and a pink tie, still keeping it fashionable and different. I guess you will have to wait and see! Be sure to follow us on Twitter for all the latest news on the show!
Well, Bryan, thanks so much for telling all the Stylish Eyes out there about Catwalk for a Cure and the event on the 13th…I cannot WAIT! I am spreading the word to all of my fashionable friends who are looking for a stylish night out for an amazing cause. Breast cancer has personally touched my life through too many family members and friends and I am thrilled to support such a great organization and a fantastic night out in the city. Great work, Bryan and team!
PS: Stay tuned…I’ll be interviewing some designers and breast cancer survivors over the next few weeks as part of my Catwalking for a Cure blog post series. Thanks for tuning in and hope to see you on the 13th!