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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tucson Fashion Week returns for 2013

    Amy Johnsn
    Amy Johnson/The Daily Wildcat Various models showcase the textile competition on the opening night of Tucson Fashion Week. Each model is part of a team of students from the Art Institute and Pima Community College.

    The 2013 Tucson Fashion Week premiered on Thursday night at the Tucson Desert Art Museum and will continue on into the weekend. Paula Taylor, one of the new producers of Tucson Fashion Week, spoke with the Daily Wildcat on the sold-out shows, the intricate incorporation of Tucson art and culture and, of course, guest speaker Betsey Johnson.

    For starters, tell me a little bit about each event that will be taking place this weekend.

    So, [Friday], that’s going to be at the Tucson Museum of Art, and we’ve partnered with the University of Arizona Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing, and the Center for American Culture and Ideas, which will be a new center by composer Daniel Asia. It’s really addressing the idea of culture in our society … So we’re very excited that we’re essentially sold out. We’ve got about 10 more seats left at the Inspired Icon event and then everything else is sold out.

    I just looked at the ticket Attendee Registration page on the website and every option just says in bold red letters, “Sold out, sold out, sold out.”

    I know, and we feel really lucky that the city has supported us and, you know, next year we’re going to really try to make this thing bigger and better. Obviously, Betsey Johnson will be coming that night, and Betsey is not only going to speak a little, but she’s showing her collections. … She’s bringing the wigs that they used in New York Fashion Week. She’s bringing the collection she had at her 70th birthday party, which is a retrospective of her life and her work. And she’ll be judging an aspect of that evening, which is our ensemble presentation. … We’re firm believers, [co-producer Melanie Sutton] and I, that we wanted to bring something different to Tucson. You know, runway shows are great, it’s what I do for a living, but I really like to create experiences. And [Betsey] is really funky, she’s interesting, she’s unique and that’s what we’re about. We didn’t want to do just three nights of runway show after runway show after runway show. It just doesn’t make any sense to us. So at the TMA, this week is about culinary, it’s about great music, it’s about art and theater and, of course, it’s about design and fashion.

    And Saturday?

    The 19th is what we call our Runway Wrap-Up and Fashion Awards Presentation Party. Whether it was the retail end, the design end or now the production end, … one thing that we wanted to do was to give prizes. … The prizes and cash prizes will be a benefit to the designers and help them launch their careers. … So Friday night is this urban aesthetic. Saturday is a little more of a smaller, intimate feeling.

    And then?

    And then I’m going to go to sleep for like two weeks.

    So, you’ve got Betsey Johnson, events at the Tucson Museum of Art, a great mix of both local and national retailers and designers. I’m curious to know what you’re most excited about for this coming weekend.

    For me, from an artistic perspective, I’m always excited when I get the storyboard concept and then bring it to reality. And I would say Melanie Sutton — my business partner on this — I bet she feels the same way. You know, when we sat down a year and a half ago and started conceptualizing what we wanted, it’s so cool to be able to say, ‘Wow, we took this from paper and made it reality.’ And the second thing I’m most excited about, I think, is that everyone really worked together on this.

    How do you plan to keep things intimate during the weekend? I know you’ve got a lot going on this weekend, so what personal touches have you tried to incorporate?

    I think this idea that, in every experience, you get direct contact with the creatives, and for me, I think that’s intimacy. Our mixologist on Friday will be out front talking to everybody about the drink they made. Our designers will be out in public afterwards talking. We want everyone to get a good view of Betsey, you know, it’s moveable, there’s movement, so everyone gets to experience a little something. This direct contact with the creatives and the people that helped build the event …. it’ll be chic, it’ll be sophisticated, it’ll run smoothly, but I think people will see the relationships it created and how important that communication is.

    And there’s something so riveting, too, about all of the personal touches, that it makes people feel less like an audience and more like participants.

    Exactly, and that’s what we want. You know, we know we won’t make everyone happy. I’m sure there’ll be long lines at the bar and it might be hard to get to the bathroom. But we didn’t know that we were going to oversell this sucker, but we’re glad we did, and we will continue to grow this thing.

    Follow Amy Johnson @Amy_Jhnsn

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