The Birmingham Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and Belk at The Summit hosted their annual fashion show fundraiser Saturday, November 16, 2013. This fantastic fashion show was a sold out event with 350 guests attending. Belk has sponsored this fabulous annual event for five years, and this fashion fundraiser is the signature event for the Birmingham Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.
What is Jack and Jill America?
Jack and Jill is a national mother’s civic organization with the focus of providing cultural, educational, leadership and social opportunities for African American children. Strong emphasis is placed upon community service and civic responsibility.
What is the Jack and Jill Fashion Show Fundraiser?
Each year, two local charities are awarded the proceeds generated from the event ticket sales. This year’s recipients were Leading Edge Institute and Grace House. Much preparation went into bringing a wonderful morning of elegant fashion, food, and fun to the Jack and Jill mothers and their guests.
The Jack and Jill special event committee members Karla Fields, Bonika Wilson, Ty Davis, Terri Gardner, Vickie Ausmer, and Michelle Nalls worked closely with Belk at The Summit Store Manager Susan Held, Belk Special Events Coordinator Katie Jones, and Fashion Stylist Melissa Melvin to make the event truly special.
A special highlight of the morning was the Jack and Jill teen models that walked the runway with the professional models. Malik Kofi was the featured musical guest, and Chef Julia May provided an elegant continental breakfast.
Now, without further ado, here are some fabulous fashion highlights from the Annual Jack and Jill of America Birmingham Chapter Annual Fashion Show Fundraiser at Belk the Summit! Enjoy!
Read more about the Jack and Jill Fashion Show Fundraiser here.
Glamorous, playful, and unique are three words that describe the handcrafted accessories designed by Mary Frances. As I chatted with Mary at her special appearance at Belk Phipps in Atlanta, Georgia, I was blown away with her love of the craft and her customers. “I do not come out to personal appearances very often, but when I do, I love hearing all of the feedback from my fans….It is so interesting to hear the stories about who gave them their handbags, what they wear with it, how they collect the handbags, and so forth. It is always a pleasure seeing a smile on a customer’s face when she talk about my bags. It is always so much fun and so inspiring,” explained Frances during the VIP interview.
Mary Frances, a fun-spirited woman with a keen eye for perfect details, started her home-based business 23 years ago. Since then, she has become an international leader in the world of fashion. From the arms of some of Hollywood’s hottest stars to the everyday woman, Mary Frances’s handmade designs are available in over 3,000 boutiques and department stores worldwide at an affordable price point. “When I am designing handbags, I try to think of things to appeal to everyone. When I hold it [the handbag], I always think about what kind of person would carry that handbag. It is all about creating a variety of pieces so that there is a handbag for anyone and everyone,” stated Mary Frances.
Now, without further ado, I introduce to y’all the magnificent VIP interview with Mary Frances! Come on, y’all! Let’s get fabulous!
VIP: Who or what inspired you to start designing handbags and accessories?
Mary Frances: My inner desire was to do something creative. I wanted to be able to mix work and business with my love of traveling, while getting to be super creative. So, I found this tiny venue of creating embellished jewelry and handbags. The thing I would say that really got me going was, as the business grew, not only was I creating a livelihood for close to a thousand people, but I was also being able to provide a product that was pretty that truly made people feel happy!
VIP: What color best describes you?
Mary Frances:I would have to say green because I love all of the different shades of green…I wear green…my house has a lot of green in it…I just love green!
VIP: What is your favorite era in fashion and why?
Mary Frances: Oh, Gosh…hmm…This is a great question, Abby! I feel like I have switched around a lot, but I would have to say the Great Gatsby–1920s and 30s style–is my favorite. At the very, very beginning of my designs, I was really inspired by the amount of beadwork that went into some of the clothing and bags during that time….Just as people took a lot of time to hand-bead clothing in that era, we do that with Mary Frances bags. In the fashion industry now, so many people want things done quickly, and they are not taking the time to do the hand beadwork. I want to keep that art of hand beading alive with my designs, and there are not many designers out there like myself, willing to go the extra mile to do this kind of labor. Each Mary Frances bag takes about three to four days, minimum, to create because everything is done by hand. I have experimented with different processes trying to make things simpler, but it just does not feel right because I am so trained to want the more detailed work. It honestly bothers me not to put that extra work into a piece!
VIP: How would you describe your personal style?
Mary Frances: I have to be able to move! I would have to say that my personal style can vary from cute and playful to very ornate. I also love to dress boho chic. When it comes down to it, it really depends on what I am doing or where I am going.
VIP: VIP Question. What is one item in your closet you would never toss out and why?
Mary Frances: Hm….What would I not toss out? Hm…I am going to have to go with this really outrageously embellished black velvet jacket that I got overseas. It is all embroidered…it has amazing prints and patterns….and it is completely out there and wild! I do not wear it as much as I used to wear it, but it is so unique I just cannot toss it out! I love it!
It was such a delight getting to interview and hang out with Mary at Belk Phipps in Atlanta! Fabulous bags and a celebrity designer all at Belk…Talk about fashionista heaven!
Stay tuned for upcoming posts where I will feature the fabulous Mary Frances handbag I got autographed by the designer.