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The Crowd: Witness to a 'genius'-level fashion show

April 06, 2012|By B.W. Cook
  • A model participates in the WOC Fashion show.
A model participates in the WOC Fashion show. (Daily Pilot )

Journalists must be cautious when using terms like "genius" and "inspired" to describe any person who is central to a story.

Last week in Costa Mesa, this columnist encountered genius while covering a ladies' luncheon on behalf of The Women of Chapman.

Arriving at The Wildflower Linen Salon in the relatively new design center known as South Coast Collection, this particular event was called for noon. A champagne reception would precede a luncheon fashion show created by the woman behind Wildflower Linen, Youngsong Martin.

Donna Bunce, co-chair of the Chapman gathering, called me in advance to explain.

"Youngsong will create a fashion show using her table linens, draping them on models, and pinning the fabric, turning the linens into garments," said Bunce with a twinkle in her voice.

"Really," I replied.

Thinking to myself, I asked "do I really need to go to a tablecloth fashion show?" Frankly, I did not expect to have much to write about it, but I went anyway to show my support for Chapman and Bunce.

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Lesson learned: Do not prejudge something that is new and unknown.

Youngsong Martin is, without question, a creative genius. Ok, I used the word. And I offer it with total, unequivocal praise, as I have never witnessed such a beautiful, inspired fashion show.

Not in Orange County, not in Los Angeles, New York or even on the runways of Paris and Milan. What Youngsong created with tablecloths and pins was breathtaking. It truly was fashion as art. A moving canvas of inspired design.

Joining Donna Bunce in chairing the event was Donna Calvert, with support from Kathy Hamilton, president of The Women of Chapman. Nearly 70 well-dressed women arrived at Wildflower for the spring event, most of them unaware of what was to unfold.

Sharing champagne toasts in the salon and checking out all of the fabrics designed by Youngsong (which she fashions into table linens rented to the event trade) were Donna Anderson, Adrienne Brandes, Barbara Eidson, Martha Green, Ollie Hill, Sheri Nazaroff, Mona Nesseth, Charlene Prager, Valaree Wahler and Mary Roosevelt.

Following small talk in the salon, the fashionistas were ushered outside and down the courtyard into a massive, all-white painted warehouse with polished concrete floors, fully-exposed venting and electrical wiring in the ceiling. The typical contemporary space, it was a gallery of sorts.

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