M-A fashion show spotlights student talent on stage and behind the scenes

by Sheri Baer on March 19, 2015

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When Mary Fischer took the job as creative co-chair for Menlo-Atherton High School’s annual fashion show, she was told by her fellow co-chairs Michele Culhane, Karen Fryling and Nancy Kessler that everything creative in the show would be up to her. She recalls thinking, “‘Well, this is a fashion show to raise money for the school, so I want to get as many kids involved as I can. They are talented, so let’s use them, let’s showcase them.’” With that goal in mind, Mary got to work.

With this Saturday’s performance of M-AKING FASHION H15TORY, M-A’s Class of 2015 will be making their own kind of history with a record level of involvement. As in past years, nearly 200 seniors will be walking the runway, modeling the latest fashions from local stores, but their efforts will be punctuated by countless other classmate contributions.

M-A student Devon Smith choreographer of fashion showMary says she started by unleashing M-A’s Digital Photography II students on campus: “I asked them to go around and take a bunch of photographs of all the styles they see, tight shots of funky shoes, someone’s cool earrings, the back of somebody’s hairstyle.” The class whittled down 60 favorite photos into a montage poster that will feature prominently in the fashion show experience.

“You can tell right away when someone has good fashion sense,” says M-A photography student Sally Stevens. “You just look at them and you may not know exactly what you like about their outfit, but you can tell when someone feels good with what they’re wearing.”

Next up, the Video II Production students. According to Mary, “they walked around campus interviewing kids wearing different fashions, asking questions like ‘What’s your style?’ and ‘What’s your favorite thing to wear?’ They put together a fun, fast and funky video that we’ll be showing before the actual fashion show starts.”

Mary then put out a call to anyone who wanted to design their own outfits, which will be featured in the show’s grand finale. She tapped M-A’s acapella singers for a special role, and then turned her attention to the dance segments “just because we didn’t have enough going on.” Rather than hire a professional dance choreographer, “we pulled seven seniors with massive experience with dance and they’re going to be the choreographers of the five dances in the show,” she says.

Dance team captain Devon Smith paired up with Sami Gaston to choreograph two of the dances. “It was a little daunting at first but also exciting,” Devon says. When it comes to teaching non-dancers, creativity and simplicity are essential. “We can’t just say kick up your leg and grab it right next to your head. They can’t do that. It was kind of tricky to figure out how to make it simple but still fun for the audience to watch.”

Senior technical wiz Kendall Lee is leading the show’s tech crew, and former M-A student Eisa Evans is bringing back her legendary DJ skills to the production. Mary says “to get all these wheels in motion and to add all this extra student help and to keep all that coordinated” made for extra work, but this year’s show will be a true reflection of M-A’s style and spirit. “It has been really fun to interact with all of these super creative, talented students,” she says.

M-AKING FASHION H15TORY will be performed at 1:00 pm, 4:00 pm and 7:30 pm on Saturday, March 21, at M-A’s Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased online and may be available at the door for shows that aren’t sold out.

Top photo by Maria Lobo; M-A’s Photography II students display their completed fashion show poster. Back row from left: Sally Stevens, Bella Lopez, Julia Moreton, Zoe Hafter-Manza, Ydalise Jacob Front row from left: Alex Jin, Lauren Bruce (not pictured Elana Schulman, Jackie Lopez, Diamond Hawkins)

Right photo by Michiko Miner: M-A senior and choreographer Devon Smith teaching classmates dance routines for the show.

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