It might have been a typical school fundraiser, if not for that glitzy backdrop.
There was an open house feel to Thursday’s “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” at All Saints’ Episcopal School in Morristown.
There were snacks and beverages for the younger crowd, including hot cocoa; and wine for the adults.
There were vendor and sponsor booths filled with holiday items, decorated Christmas trees for sale, pictures with a jovial Santa that started right after classes let out for the day, student-created Christmas cards and a concert by the school’s choir on the stage that had been set up in the middle of the gym.
The stage, however, looked a little more like a runway than a concert venue.
And when the music started; well, it became obvious — this was no run-of-the-mill event for supporter of education.
The $20 tickets for attendees included a full fashion show, with ASES parents and parishioners from All Saints’ Episcopal Church sporting the latest in cold-weather fashion.
The first model out was Kathy Jones-Terry Litz, who revved up the crowd with a performance worthy of the local theater.
She is a veteran of charity modeling events and usually indulges in entertaining crowd interaction.
Her competition for the “wow factor” of the evening was fierce, however.
The show featured children of school supporters, who took to the boards with skills rivaling Project Runway contestants.
They smiled, waved to their proud parents and posed in place for Citizen Tribune photographer Dan Munson as if this were a typical Thursday evening activity.
The showstoppers made their stage debuts in the arms of their mothers or walking holding their hands. Dressed in perfectly coordinated ensembles, their contributions to the cuteness overload of the evening was almost more than the audience could take. Applause erupted and smart phone cameras were engaged as the moms-in-heels completed their walks with not so much as a tear shed or a tiny shoe dropped.
According to Kelley Simpson, owner of Kelley Marie Fashion Boutique and host of the show, the inaugural ASES event provided an opportunity for women of all ages and sizes to try out the store’s winter selection that highlights faux furs, ranging from coats and vests to scarves.
This was also Simpson’s first winter charity fashion show and gave her a chance to show the new baby items and sleepwear available at the boutique.
The colors of the season are meant to inspire those who wear them, according to Simpson.
“Winter white brightens any scene. And Christmas red warms our hearts,” she said.
The ensembles featured on the ASES runway included pairings of gold and black, blazing white fur jackets, tunic sweaters over leather-look leggings, pants with splits at the ankles that perfectly highlight stiletto heels; geometric sweater patterns in black, gray and white; vests and jackets in teddy bear-plush faux fur (the pinks looked delicious); bell-bottom jeans paired with a comfortable sweater; a velour top with a low-cut, drawstring back; a red clutch bag paired with a red sweater/black pants combo; a holiday party dress in green; and a flirty knitted top with soft ruffles at the hem and wrists.
The finale of the evening was given to the ASES student models, who entered by twos to the song, “I Want A Hippopatamus for Christmas,” wearing coordinating pajamas and nightgowns.
Models included Kristin Porter, Whitney Finley, Paige Munroe Mattocks, Virginia Carey, Nikki Wisecarver and Susie, Alice Westmoreland, Chelslyn Deaderick and Lavinia, Susie Cox, Laura Stinson and Bristol, Barbara Simmons, Katherine Walton and Flynn, Brandi Rich, Jordan Leach and Livy Sloan, Whitney McGowan, Kristina Veit, Sarah Coughlin and Daxton, Emily Clark, Amy Eversole, Karman Knight, Emily Hazelwood, Devin Furgeson, Alyssa Chaipetta, Judy Yates, Jeannie Warren, Lisa Spoone, Robin Carpenter, Carly McKenna, Haley Hall, Avaleigh Davis, Julielle Hamblen, Allie McKenna and Julia Gibson.
The fundraiser was coordinated by Mary Katherine Coffman, ASES director of advancement. Proceeds will benefit programs at the school.