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  Women on Top 2.3.01
by Katie Brownrigg

Venue: The Mattress Factory - Atlanta, GA
To benefit: GNESA (Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault)

Girls, girls, girls...and one emcee in drag. The Women on Top fashion show/art auction/benefit party was oozing with girl power.

Emcee Jason Jupiter and friendsFour designers (all women) and an assortment of local artists (more women) gathered at The Mattress Factory to exhibit their wares for the hippest of Atlanta's hip and to benefit GNESA (Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault).

Although Michele Marcombe, Lee Blalock, and Rene Sanning (of Rene Rene) design for both men and women, the clothing showcased at Women on Top was primarily focused on...well...women. The fourth designer, Candice Culiner, designed the models' accessories including everything from sparkly handbags to slinky chain belts. The models' hair was cool but simple. Sculpted and sleeked by the trendy "artists" at Van Michael Salon, the basic styles proved very adaptable to the variety of wardrobes.

As the flygirl DJ spun atmospheric break-beat tunes, the models paraded down the runway in everything from polished pantsuits to hotpants and heels. To '70s velour. To schoolgirl plaid. To glittered gowns. The combination of styles from the four designers created an eclectic montage of forms and moods, but also a stylistic discontinuity. The intermingling of each designer's individuality kept the audience on their toes anxiously anticipating the next ensemble.

"So what'd y'all think? Not bad for Atlanta!" Jason Jupiter, the evening's emcee, summed it up perfectly as the last girl sauntered off stage. The models were beautiful but real, the clothes were hip but wearable, and the art was innovative but affordable. But it was all the crème de la crème of Atlanta's creative fashion scene.

The Mattress Factory, one of Atlanta's newest gentrified lofts provided the perfect backdrop for the affair: cool, trendy, and almost inaccessible. The sort of place your mother would insist you bring your cell phone to. The upside to the intimacy of such a small event is that the woman with the cool '80s 'do nibbling on a bruchetta slice is likely to be one of the designers. But such accessibility also means that the guy in the flying ace suit sitting next to you thinks he belongs on the runway.

Attendees study the art up for auction. Although the relative anonymity of the artists meant some of the items up for auction were reasonably priced, many of the silent auction sheets were left notably blank. And the only response to Jason Jupiter's enthusiastic endorsement for a $500 VIP Crescent Room annual pass was an awkward coat shuffling. Obviously not quite affordable enough for these young Atlanta hipsters.

A diverse assortment of the best Atlanta has to offer, Women on Top provided a little something for everyone. For the art aficionado, artistic creations ranging from original paintings and photographs to antique furniture to Mardi Gras feathered masks. For the style-conscious "It Girl," fashion designs and accessories for every mood. For the glutton, tasty treats compliments of Il Fornaio and a cash bar. And an afterparty at the Crescent Room in case you hadn't quite got your fill. And for the philanthropist or the guilt ridden, a portion of all proceeds went to charity.


    Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault. 659 Auburn Avenue. Suite 139. Atlanta, GA 30312. Office: 404/659.6482. Fax: 404/659.6383. Crisis: 800/656.HOPE.

  • Michele Marcombe
    The Michele Marcombe line for women is carried at Scout, the new men and women's store at West Side Market on Howell Mill and Huff Roads. Her studio is located at 1668 Belle Isle Circle.

  • Lee Blalock
    The Lee Blalock line, Spi, for men and women is carried at Rene Rene in L5P. 404/522.7363.

  • Candice Culiner
    Candice Culiner's line of accessories, Karma Fashions, is carried at WVN and Bill Hallman in VA Highlands and at her showroom in The Apparel Mart. She designs handbags, necklaces, bracelets, belts and rings.

  • Rene Sanning
    Rene Sanning started the Rene Rene Boutiques in Atlanta in the '80s. The only location exists now in L5P. 1142 Euclid Ave. NE. Atlanta, GA 31107. 404/522.7363.

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