Libertae Fashion Show Gala
October 2, 2018
Philadelphia’s fashion-forward designers will shine at the Libertae Fashion Show Gala at Parx East in Bensalem, PA on Thursday, October 11, 2018. The fashions at the all-new, beautifully staged event express the experience and empowerment of recovery through the symbolization of color.
Libertae is a non-profit organization that is one of a very small number of treatment programs in Pennsylvania dedicated to treating and supporting women with substance use disorders. With an emphasis on gender-responsive treatment, Libertae strives to create an environment that reflects an understanding of women’s lives and responds to their challenges. Every year, Libertae hosts a fashion show as its biggest fundraising event. This year, Libertae collaborated with Philadelphia designers, specifically those who have attended Drexel University’s Fashion Design program.
The collaboration between Libertae and Drexel University started with Emily Conlon, who is a senior Design & Merchandising student at Drexel. Emily Conlon is the daughter of Libertae’s Board President, Martin Conlon. After working with Libertae on the 2017 Fashion Show, Libertae asked her to produce the 2018 Fashion Show. “I wanted the fashion show to reflect the recovery experience of Libertae’s clients,” said Conlon. This led to a fashion show production, which utilizes color to reflect on the recovery experience. The fashion show, a four-part color story, transitions from darks to neutrals to whites and finally ending in bright, brilliant color. Through the color story and music, the show signifies the physical, mental, and spiritual rebirth that occurs when one overcomes addiction. “After deciding the theme and story of the fashion show, I reached out to Drexel’s Fashion Design alumni and undergraduates to be featured in the show,” explained Conlon.
Emily first connected with 2016 Drexel Fashion Design alumni and award-winning Philadelphia designer Nancy Volpe Beringer. Nancy who is not only known for her innovative designs, but also for her using her design talent to support community programs that empower women, embraced the show’s theme and mission. “I was thrilled by Nancy’s enthusiasm and talent and asked her to be the show’s featured designer,” explained Conlon.
Nancy became inspired by Libertae and telling the story of recovery through color. “I envisioned collaborating with Libertae staff and clients to create a custom mini-collection, which would enable them to be part of the show’s finale,” noted Volpe Beringer. After reaching out to Emily and the art therapist at Libertae, Nancy held an art therapy workshop teaching the clients how to ice-dye over 25 yards of fabric. Nancy then used the fabric to design to three colorful couture garments. The mini collection reflects the journey of courage, creativity, and collaboration. The show is also debuting Nancy’s wearable colorful art coat through her collaboration with world-renowned artist and animator, Drexel instructor Liz Goldberg.
One of Emily’s collaborators is Daniella Pileggi, who is also a senior in the Drexel Design & Merchandising program. This year’s fashion show will also feature the work of four other Drexel alumni and one undergraduate student. The designers involved are the following: Nicole Feller-Johnson, Kattoo King, Clara Weisman, Dana Pernini, and Evan Hirsch. The works of the designers creates the show titled “The Colors That Inspire”.
“As a bonus, the show has allowed for the Drexel alumni and students to pay it forward by sharing their talents and compassion to help others in the community,” said Conlon.