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Fashion show fantastic fun with colors, fabric

I usually devote most of my creative thinking to art and decorating. But over the last month, I have forced the right side of my brain to think about fashion. My wife and I were asked to coordinate our Cherry Blossom Fashion Show and Brunch. Even as I type this column, my mind is swirling in a sea of colorful fabrics and pinstriped suits. Sometimes over the last month, I have felt like I was drowning in this fabric sea, but since the fashion show is today, I have had to learn how to swim really fast!

I certainly have always loved to pick out my own clothes. Being an artist, I consider myself to have a certain sense of style. I know some of you who see me wonder about my style sometimes, but I have always felt is a great way of self expression.

I have spent most of the last week in various shades of pink. I have worn it proudly in honor of our Cherry Blossom Festival. This pink palette has included everything from blush to bright and bold fuchsia. I must say I have enjoyed it! I feel like I look my best in bright colors. Again, I think that goes back to the artist in me.

While I was going from event to event at the festival in my pink clothes, I was also putting together a fashion show. A couple of hours here, a few minutes there, it came together bit by bit! It is one thing to pick out and wear things yourself, but quite another one to do that for someone else. Just think about the pressure you have when you are trying to buy someone a gift. It reminded me of picking out clothes for my children at Christmas, only to have them returned the next day.

My models didn’t just return from Milan or walking the red carpet in Hollywood. Instead they are local celebrities, politicians, television and radio personalities who are gladly volunteering their time for a very good cause. Because of this, I have tried to keep all their personalities in mind as I was selecting their outfits. I have been in fashion shows over the years where I was asked to wear something I didn’t really like so I definitely wanted my volunteer models to feel confident in their borrowed outfits.

I especially had fun working with our mayor’s wife. Yes, Dele Reichert is going to walk the runway today. In fact, so is her husband. I must admit I was a little intimidated picking out their outfits. Dele has such a fashion sense herself. In fact, I feel like she is one of the best dressed women in Macon. Well, after all, she should be. I mean she IS the MAYOR’S wife.

The afternoon I was to meet her for her fitting, I was speeding back from a small town near Macon. I spoke to a group of ladies that morning and, as usual, my time got away from me. The whole time I was exceeding the speed limit, I was busy preparing the conversation I would have with the police if stopped. It went something like this. “Officer, I realize I was speeding, but I have an excuse! I’m meeting the mayor’s wife at the mall. She’s waiting on me to try on some clothes!”

My lesson to you today is to always try on an outfit before you decide it won’t work. Sometimes things look one way on a hanger and another way on a real body. The first outfit Dele tried on looked fabulous. It reminded me of something Jackie O. would have worn back in her heyday — timeless and classic!

However, I misjudged my second selection for her. The size and style was perfect, but the ivory color of the dress completely washed out her complexion. She must have noticed the disapproval on my face when she walked out of the dressing room. We then went to plan “B”!

Dele, the sales lady and I took another spin around the dress department in search of the perfect dress. I had passed by one many times in my selecting process but I didn’t choose it because of the way it looked on the hanger. I suggested she try it on anyway. I was amazed! What looked shapeless on the hanger came to life on Dele. I became so inspired I even picked her out some very high heeled shoes to wear as she glides down the runway today.

In this economy, it’s fun to choose anything you want and not be concerned with price. The entire time I was shopping for my model’s clothes, I pretended like I was wealthy and didn’t look at one single price tag. However, just like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight, the ball gowns, tuxedos and stiletto heels will all have to be returned to the store after the fashion show. But, if only for a few moments, it’s fun to pretend they belong to you!

Upcoming Events:

.Ÿ Check out Mark’s Website. Visit for current projects, recipes and lots of other fun stuff for spring and cherry blossom time!

Ÿ The Mark Ballard Show. Cox On-Demand.

Ÿ Mark’s on 24 hours a day! Videos, columns and articles are featured.

Ÿ Mulberry Street Festival, Saturday and Sunday. Visit Mark at his booth both days where he will introduce his new design for spring on T-shirts and aprons. His cookbooks and other merchandise also will be available. He will be glad to personalize any purchases.