As more business is being conducted online, it is no wonder that a group of creatives in Arkansas got together on August 8, 2021 for a virtual fashion and floral design showcase streamed directly to social media across multiple sources entitled Fleur de Muse. Althea Wiles with Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio in Fayetteville, Arkansas decided to take on an experiment to see how a virtual-only event would be received by the public as a modern option to showcase artisans’ work.
“This was something completely outside my comfort zone. I knew it would be a challenge. As a business that has always strived to create in the most eco-friendly and socially responsible way, I felt it was appropriate to give it a try,” says Althea Wiles.
The goal of the showcase was to reduce waste often associated with large events while providing an interactive and fun experience for “virtual” onlookers. Paul Rainwater with Q Clothier provided suits, tuxes and his latest product he calls men’s shirt dresses. The men’s shirt dresses were custom-tailored to fit each model’s body with several fittings completed and in the color palette used for the show. Tess Mann with Couture by Tess Bridal provided the finale couture wedding gowns of the show. Each model was adorned with fresh floral accessories designed by Wiles with Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio. Necklaces, anklets, bracelets, rings, hair clips, handbag embellishments and a host of other fashion accessories created from live flowers accented the runway and provided a little something special to every look.
The showcase took place at Castle on Stagecoach in Little Rock, Arkansas where the stone veranda staircase was transformed into a garden-filled runway. Models carried selfie sticks attached to their cell phones to capture the moment for their social media channels and to document a memory of the day for themselves. By utilizing the entire cast and crew’s social media outlets, the event set out to maximize exposure and outreach. While it takes a bit of extra preparation and planning, the results were successful.
“So many great people were a part of every detail. The Castle on Stagecoach always sets the stage for an event to be remembered. Paul Rainwater continues to raise the bar for the wardrobe game. Vibrant Occasions gave a tasty presentation. I am so thankful I got to be a part of experiencing a small taste of all that these people do so well,” says Chase Rackley with The Rackley Team and model for Fleur de Muse.
Vibrant Occasions Catering greeted each model at the end of the runway with artisanal hors d’oeuvres. Their staff was dressed for the occasion in tuxedos and served nibbles on silver platters. Models enjoyed their morsels poolside then joined the rest of their group side stage while continuing to document via selfies and videos of their experience.
“We wanted to curate architecturally designed hors d’oeuvres that appeared sculptural to coincide with the artisan theme and tasted great. Our team served house-smoked salmon with dilled cream cheese on mini house-made bagels, hummus shooters, caprese pipettes and our latest menu addition (a play on the word, charcuterie), jar-cute-erie.
“Always look to the artists to reflect what is happening in real-time with a bit of optimism and whimsy,“ said Meredith Corning with Meredith Events.
Other participants in the show included Art Photography by Sydney Rasch, Byrd Creative, Meredith Events, Meredith Corning PR, The Taj Salon, Central Arkansas Entertainment and Chic Little Honey. Models for the showcase are Erica Watkins, Kiley Salge, Kyla Dishman, Samantha Anderson, Michaela Boothby, Stacey Heath, Alyson Perry, Chase Rackley and Joshua Ang Price.