By Carol South, Special to the Record-Eagle
TRAVERSE CITY — From a dress created from flowers to gravity-defying hair sculptures, haute couture hits Traverse City thanks to the Global Hair and Fashion show.
Friday evening's event at the City Opera House promises avant-garde hairstyles and one-of-a-kind clothing. The event is a fundraiser for the Women's Resource Center, which since 1975 has served survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
The participating designers, clothiers and stylist create an evening of art in motion, said founder Sandra Dunn.
"This is fashion season in New York, Paris and Milan and we're imitating that in Traverse City," said Dunn, proprietor of Impres Salon Spa who was inspired to launch the Global Hair and Fashion Show after a training expedition to London. "It's just a fun night out of fashion, hair and art."
"It's all about lifting women up," Dunn added. "Lifting each other up and creating a community."
Founded in 1995 and held 11 times since then, the Global Hair and Fashion Show is a runway extravaganza presented thanks to area styling salons, clothiers and about 75 volunteer models. Participating salons in addition to Impres are Salon Verve, Signature Salon, Salone De Capelli, Epiphany Salon & Spa, Salon Saloon, and Salon 804.
The models showcase clothes from Lima Bean, Raven's Child, Relish, Ella's, What to Wear, Spirals and Top Drawer Consignment.
In addition, the show's finale pulls out all the stops, showcasing the salon's creativity around a central theme. This year's theme is colors and each salon was assigned a specific color for their final production, which features handmade outfits on models styled to match.
"Last year at the end of the show, I really did think the show did belong in Paris," said Mackenzee Bull, manager of Salon Verve. "The talent in this town is really amazing. It's fun to see what they come up with."
Salons work on their designs and couture creations for months ahead of the big reveal.
"The girls are just inspired, we do tear sheets and that's what starts the inspiration," said Dunn. "They're so excited about what they can do, they collaborate and share with each other."
Award-winning floral designer Derek Woodruff of The Floral Underground in Traverse City is fashioning a dress made exclusively from flowers. His assigned color is yellow.
"Flowers are a new aspect and I'm very excited about it," Bull said.
The Global Hair and Fashion Show is the second largest annual fundraiser for the Women's Resource Center, which served 2,081 men, women and children in 2011.
Covering five counties — southern Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau — the Women's Resource Center also housed 403 victims of domestic and sexual violence, helped with 436 personal protection orders and fielded 7,538 information and crisis calls.
The 2011 Global Hair and Fashion show drew more than 300 attendees and raised $18,300, both personal bests for the event.
"It's really nice because it's being done for us," said Valerie Kirn-Duensing, director of development for the Women's Resource Center. "It also helps raise awareness, October is Domestic Violence Awareness month."