This weekend Harvard students give supermodels a run for their money at Eleganza, BlackCAST’s annual charity fashion show, clad in fashion designs from locales ranging from Jasmine Sola and the Tannery to pieces imported from New York City. All proceeds from this spring’s show will go to the Center for Teen Empowerment.
Eleganza has evolved from a low-scale act in the auditorium of Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School to a high-stakes operation with a budget of over $15,000. Executive Producer Derek R. Melvin ’05 and Creative Director Jonathan R. Ardrey ’05 wanted to push the envelope, so this year Eleganza is expanding to the Bright Hockey Center, where you and a thousand of your closest friends can watch scantily-clad models and performers do their thing on the elongated runway, while a large projection screen in the background magnifies each person up to twelve times their normal size. With a planning staff of about twenty-five people and over $2,500 spent on lighting alone, Ardrey calls Eleganza a “creative playground for those without a voice.”
Although planning for Eleganza has been a 50-hour-per-week job for the producers, all of their diligent efforts hope to make traditionally studious Harvard students put their books down and have some fun. In addition to models, there will be stepping and dancing, aiming for an all-around “assault on the senses,” as Melvin calls it. According to the producers, the aim is to put on something commercial and professional with a distinct Harvard flavor.
250 students tried out for 37 coveted modeling spots in the show. The producers looked for a diverse group of attractive hotties with enough energy and confidence to fill the space in this year’s larger venue. Shouldn’t be a problem, according to catwalker Kwame Owusu-Kesse ’06, who says the models “feed off of audience participation. The more people present, the hotter the show.”
Although they were fantabulous during auditions, after a month of demanding rehearsals, the models are simply smoldering. “When I get back to my room [from rehearsals], I have to throw ice on myself, because the show is just so hot,” says Kosaku Yada ’07.
“Apparently we’re supposed to melt the ice in there, raising the bar not only for entertainment, but also for the Harvard physics department.” says Tiffany Chantra ‘04. “I mean, I definitely want to see that.”
Although Busta Rhymes will be performing at Harvard immediately following the fashion show, producers say that Eleganza is in no way a pre-game to the concert. “Each show is strong enough to stand on its own,” Melvin says, “but put together, they are simply amazing.”