Seattle designer J. Von Stratton's fall preview benefits Washington Women in Need
by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
On October 11, Seattle-based fashion and costume designer Jamie Von Stratton brings her visionary whimsy to the Triple Door mainstage for a one-night-only fashion charity and entertainment extravaganza.
The all-new fall collection of J. Von Stratton originals will take the stage with some of Seattle's finest performers. Proceeds from ticket sales and a live silent auction of the new collection will be donated to help Washington Women in Need, a local charity assisting low-income women and single mothers.
J. Von Stratton has also scheduled a special free pre-show party for 6 p.m., at Liquid Lounge (above the Triple Door Mainstage), where you can join local drag entertainers Jinkx Monsoon and Mama Tits for a specialty cocktail.
The benefit and show begin at 8 p.m. and features a bevy of beautiful and talented performers, including Ben DeLaCreme, aerialist Tanya Brno, opera diva Elizabeth Ripley, aerialist Quynbi, chanteuse Caela Bailey, Dance Belt (featuring Waxie Moon, Ruby Mimosa, and Lou Henry Hoover), and appearances by Miss Kitty Baby and The Pin-Up Angels.
SGN recently sat down with J. Von Stratton to discuss the benefit, the wonderful performers booked for the show, and why she chose Washington Women in Need as the beneficiary.
J. Von Stratton is best known for her clothing designs but as any Seattleite could tell you, she does so much more. 'It seems like I have my fingers dipped in many pots these days,' she told SGN. 'In the last 2 weeks my design workplace hasn't even been about sewing. I've been painting, and airbrushing, and hot gluing, oh my! It's a mix of projects for PAX, a client of mine in NYC (Calamity Chang), and Teatro Zinzanni.'
'I must say, I am really looking forward to spending the month of September working solely on this show, making whatever I want,' said J. Von Stratton, adding, 'Just me, my sewing machines, piles of fabric, and a box of wine.'
BenDeLaCreme is scheduled to host the event. J. Von Stratton says she picked DeLa because 'Ben is a comedic genius.'
'Any chance I get to work with her, I will. Ben is the type of professional I hope to collaborate with no matter where my career takes me. She is always aware of her audience, and keeps it upbeat and lighthearted yet poignant, as when presenting heavier subject matter in the DeLouRue Productions she co-produces,' she said. 'In the six years I've known her, I can honestly say I've never seen a 'by the book' act. Her acts always catch you off guard with a twist or crazy surprise. Ben is great at keeping a delighted audience on its toes, so naturally I want her to be a part of my show. Well, that and I've been making most of her costumes over the years, so she'll have lots to wear!'
The amazingly popular local dance dream team, Dance Belt (Waxie Moon, Lou Henry Hoover, and Inga Ingenue), will be joined by the lovely Ruby Mimosa. 'First of all, I love Dance Belt!' said J. Von Stratton. 'Ruby Mimosa's company, The Burlesque Boutique, is also helping with the event. I want to highlight the impressive quality and quantity of female-owned businesses and performers this city has to offer. Of course I don't want to limit myself to only biological women when it comes to performers. The art of female impersonation, or a man's expression of the feminine, can be enjoyable and loving to the female gender on many levels.'
The talented designer and performance artist says she is hoping that all 'my previous clients from over the decade I've been doing this, attend the show.'
'I would love to see a bevy of people wearing all the wild, wacky, and sometimes tacky things I've made over the years,' she admits. 'It's their chance to wear that outfit again, even if it has already been on stage over a dozen times.
'For folks who know me, and those that don't, come prepared to bid on the items,' said J. Von Stratton. 'One of the key features of this show is that all the modeled garments I'm making will be available for purchase via live silent auction. It might possibly the first fashion show where you can literally buy the items off the runway, right there! Plus, it adds more to the proceeds pot for Washington Women in Need.'
J. Von Stratton says she chose to do the show because 'it's important to me, when I produce an event, to try and give back.'
She told SGN that her mom always encouraged her to 'live by the Golden Rule' and help others whenever she could. 'I remember one Thanksgiving she made a bunch of extra dinner, packed it up on plates, and brought it to the folks on union strike out in the cold near our neighborhood, with the premise of 'everyone should have a warm meal on Thanksgiving,' recalled J. Von Stratton. 'Or the time she asked a fellow eating alone at a restaurant on Christmas morning to join us for breakfast at our table.'
'I learned by her example growing up, so it's ingrained in me to want to help out where I can,' she said. 'The last time I produced a charity benefit ('Boobies for Boobies' in 2005) I chose a national charity. This time I wanted to hit closer to home. I found the Washington Women in Need nonprofit and the puzzle fell into place. I love what they do, and how they directly help members of our community, offering assistance to low-income women in our state.'
'I'm very excited about this event,' she concluded. 'Patrons have a fun evening at a fashion show, I get a platform for my work, I can hire fantastic performers, the venue has a well-attended show, and Washington Women in Need receives the proceeds. Everybody wins!'
For ticket information, go to www.thetripledoor.net. Information about Washington Women in Need is at www.wwin.org.
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