Monday, November 3, 2008

Without further delay... Video of the Show

Here is the video footage of Carousel Couture in case anyone wasn't there (I'm sure you had a good excuse!), and so that masqueraders who were there can take a closer look. This is the unedited full show, so you will not miss a moment. It includes the entire show and also the finale at the end with the models and designers.  I know it is a little hard to hear, but everyone was just having such a good time, they couldn't help but squeal with excitement!  

If you are having any trouble viewing this video or would like to post it to your own blog or website, click here.

The order of appearance is: Zoe Collins, Tereneh Mosley, Emma Shutko, Jena-Anne Sabom, Brittney Thieroff (the one that lights up!), Mary McVay, Karen Page, Lets Get Trashed, Nami Ogawa, Tori Mistick, Carl Williams, Nicole Scarpone (whip performance), Jennie Canning, Kiya Tomlin, Richard Bryan, and finishes with Marla Parker's design.

Don't forget to vote for your favorite gown in our poll!

We were SEEN

The Seen column insert of the Post-Gazette came out this weekend and they did an amazingly wonderful article on Carousel Couture at the Madcap Masquerade.  Five of the gowns were featured in their full-color glory, and I was even credited with letting the whole city of Pittsburgh know about our local design talent!  How fabulous!

Check out the article here and don't forget to click all the links on the left side to see the photos that were published. The photo here of mine and Carl Williams' designs is just one of five great pics. Special thanks to our models Marlee Fritz and Jenn Thomas for working it on the runway!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Photos Have Been Posted

TONS of photos from Saturday's Madcap Masquerade have been posted to Pittsburgh Grapevine. There are 476 photos posted, so if you want to skip right to the fashion show they start around page 22 of the album.  Since many of us who were backstage didn't get to see the beginning of the party, be sure not to miss photos of Bill Kolano and Bridgette Pavlik showing up as Amy Whinehouse and a London Police Man... in a working ambulance! Amy (I mean Bridgette) was wheeled into the party on a gurney! Don't miss those photos.

The pic you see to the left is of Samantha Scott of the Docherty Model & Talent Agency wearing a carousel inspired design by Brittney Thieroff for Babylove designs. Photos of all 16 of the designers' work can be seen on Pittsburgh Grapevine.  Don't forget to vote on your favorite design below after checking them all out.

Monday, October 27, 2008


It is all said and done now! Carousel Couture was a great success, and if you were lucky enough to have seen it, you know what I am talking about. The gowns were absolutely spectacular this year. I know I may be a little biased, but I was so impressed by the amount of detail, creativity and care that was put into each garment. Thank you designers for really making this the best show yet!

Of course, the gowns would not have looked nearly as beautiful without our 17 stunning local models provided by Docherty Model and Talent Agency, the Talent Group, and independent models provided by some of their own designers. Thank you girls for being so easy to work with and being so beautiful!

At every fashion show I've even been to the music is a key part of the audience's experience. This year we had amazingly helpful people working on the music to ensure it all went as planned. Thank you, as well!

There are so many people who made this event the hit that it was, too many to list here. So, if you were one of them, THANK YOU!

Please cast your vote in the poll below on which gown was your favorite at the show. If you can't choose just one, you can select your top three.

Also, stay tuned to this blog for photos and even a video of the show to be posted later this week. I know many people were there taking photos, please feel free to post links to their location in the comments section of this post.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Poll: Which Gown was your Favorite?

Which Carousel Couture gown was your Favorite?
Brittney Thieroff for Babylove Designs
Carl Williams Jr.
Emma Shutko
Jena-Anne Sabom for SABOM Style
Jennie Canning for Diondega
Karen Page
Kiya Tomlin Couture
Lets Get Trashed!
Marla Parker
Mary McVay
Nami Ogawa for ZETO
Nicole Scarpone
Richard Bryan
Tori Mistick
Zoe Collins for Threadneedle Street free polls

Friday, October 24, 2008

Press Preview: Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Please run out today and buy the Tribune Review to read their article on Carousel Couture at the Madcap Masquerade.  Fashion journalist Joanne Harrop sat down with myself and a few of the other designers this past Monday night to talk about the show and our inspiration. Online you can also view some photos we took of a couple of the gowns in Oakland's Schenley Park.

Included in this post is one of Nicole Scarpone's designs modeled by Samantha Sham.  Nicole has choreographed an elaborate dance for herself and her model for Saturday's show, you will not want to miss it!

The article also goes on the mention Kiya Tomlin, Tori Mistick, Carl Williams and Margaret Gerhart and Vanessa Koch of Lets Get Trashed!.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Designer Spotlight: Margaret Gerhart & Vanessa Koch

Both design undergraduate students, Margaret Gerhart (Industrial design) and Vanessa Koch (Communication design) are in their third year at Carnegie Mellon University in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. They enjoy stretching the boundaries of the design field in many different directions.  In February of 2007, they debuted their first collaborative effort in Carnegie Mellon's annual student fashion show, the Lunar Gala. The collection, titled Let's Get Trashed!, featured ten outfits made from completely recycled materials such as cardboard, newspaper, and plastic bags. This concept explored the relationship between human consumption and waste, giving recycled trash a new home on the human body. As a design team, they continually push creative possibilities and always aim to surprise and entertain their audience.

Vanessa is currently spending a semester studying abroad in Florence, Italy. As a result, the team's collaboration for this year's Carousel Couture show has occurred via the Internet. This design experience has beenequally challenging and rewarding for the team.

This is the first year that Margaret and Vanessa will design for the Madcap Masquerade.

Sneak Peek: Final Chance

OK, this is it!  My third and final sneak peek of these amazing gowns for Saturday's show. 

I still can't reveal who designed this gown, but I think you know what I am going to say now - Come see the show to find out!

A link to buying tickets is to the right. "After 9" tickets which include open bar, dessert, dancing and the Carousel Couture fashion show are just $65.

Don't Tell: Another Sneak Peek!

OK, here is your second chance to preview some of this year's gowns. This shows the shoulder detail of one of the designs.

Again, to see the full design and find out which fabulous designer created it, you will have to come see the show on Saturday night!

Tickets are still available online for the "After 9" party, they are now $65. Check out the link to the right to buy tickets.  You will also be able to purchase tickets at the door for the same cost.

Don't Tell: Sneak Peek

The Madcap Masquerade is just 2 days away! So, I think you deserve a sneak peek at some of the gowns. This is the first of three little previews I'll be providing here.

Of course, I can't share any of the details yet! You will have to come to the show to see the full design and find out who created it. Buy your tickets ahead of time here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This Year You Can OWN a Madcap Couture Gown!

This year, we have a very exciting new addition to the Madcap Masquerade. By popular demand, we will be auctioning off a selection of the Carousel Couture gowns directly following the fashion show. Party-goers have asked every year where they can get their hands on the wonderful gowns, and the designers are also eager to see their designs off the runway.

Eight out of the sixteen gowns for the show will be auctioned off that night. The designers of the auction gowns are:

Brittney Thieroff for Babylove Designs
Carl Williams
Jennie Canning for Diondega
Lets Get Trashed!
Nami Ogawa for ZETO
Nicole Scarpone
Jena-Anne Sabom for SABOM Style
Zoe Collins

I can tell you right now, that you will want to bid on not one, but all of the gowns available. From what I have seen so far they are all stunningly avant-garde and wearable at the same time.

One of the first concerns about this auction was that all the gowns would be small sizes, but all the designers are willing to alter the gowns to the winning bidder's desires and many of them are able to be altered from a size 2 to a size 10! The prices of the gowns are very diverse too, we will have a price point for everyone. Currently, the lowest starting bid will be $100 and the highest is $1,800.

After the fashion show on Saturday night, don't forget to go up to the runway to see the designs up close, chat with the designers, and palce your bids.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Designer Spotlight: Karen Page

Karen has been designing and making "stuff" all her life - from designing clothes and houses for her Troll dolls, to designing jewelry and felted objects that are in The Shop at the Mattress Factory.  Her interests have included "all things textile" from knitting and crochet to weaving and feltmaking. Her expertise is feltmaking has allowed her the opportunity to travel to Denmark and Turkey. For several summers Karen worked with various women's co-ops in Kyrgyzstan teaching feltmaking and design.

This past summer Karen collaborted in the Container Exhibition at the Three Rivers Arts Festival with Joanna Commandaros and Anna Divinksy (see this work at Always seeking the new, the wonderful and the unique, Karen will combine free-form crochet pieces with handmade felt to create a whimsical piece for this event.  She teaches at CAPA High School where she continues to be challenged and invigorated by her wonderfully creative students. Several of the "young designers" in Madcap this year have been in her textile studies classes! (Tori Mistick, Emma Shutko & Marla Parker were all Karen's students!)

This year marks Karen Page's second time to participate in the Madcap Masquerade Ball.

Festival of Lights to be Showcased at Madcap

Last night was the official debut of a lighting installation on the 535-foot-tall Cathedral of Learning and the Stephen Foster Memorial on University of Pittsburgh's campus. The buildings also look over Schenley Plaza, the location of this year's Madcap Masquearade, and will serve as an elaborate backdrop for the ball next Saturday.  Special clear tents have been arranged so that masqueraders will be able to see the lighting display throughout the night without obstruction.

The Cathedral of Learning display is just one of the amazing lighting displays, including Katz Plaza and the Omni William Penn Hotel, that are illuminating out city for the next few weeks.

For more information check out the official photo-site for the Festival of Lights, and this Post-Gazette article that gives more details on the project.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Did you Buy Your Tickets Yet?

If you have not yet bought tickets for the Madcap Masquerade, what are you waiting for?  The event is less than 2 weeks away now - gowns are being made, floral designs are being planned, food is being tasted and music is being selected for this year's can't miss event.

Tickets can be purchased online at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's website or by calling the Parks at 412-682-7275. 

VIP tickets are $250, and include the 7-9 VIP reception, dinner and valet parking as well as the "After 9" part of the night.  To attend only the "After 9" party, tickets are $50 and include the Carousel Couture fashion show, open bar and dessert.  

Festive black tie or costumes are encouraged!

Spotlight: Tori Mistick

Tori Mistick is a designer as well at the producer of this year's Carousel Couture during the Madcap Masquerade. She has been a designer and co-producer of the show since its inception and she is thrilled to take the reins this year.

She graduated from CAPA where she created the school's first large-scale fashion show - raising sponsorships, approaching local and student designers and creating a collection herself. That show, called Spiked Fashion, ignited Tori's interest in the fashion industry, in particular in producing fashion shows.

Since then, she has worked on a Pittsburgh-based lifestyles magazine, attended London College of Fashion, worked on many local fashion shows, and this December she will graduate from Duquesne University with a degree in Integrated Marketing Communication and Studio Art.

Tori designs for fashion shows, private clients, friends and family. Her design aesthetic is usually simple but with embellishment and luxury finishes that set her pieces apart from the crowd. She believes the worst crime of fashion is to blend in, and vies to be unique in everything she does.

This is the fourth year that Tori Mistick will design for and produce the fashion show for the Madcap Masquerade.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Designer Spotlight: Marla Parker

Marla Parker was born and raised in Pittsburgh's Friendship neighborhood. A CAPA graduate, she now attends the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. As a fibers major she creates both fine art and fashion-based work.

Marla began sewing seriously in high school when she created looks for CAPA's various fashion shows and recently participated in the Mattress Factory's annual Garden Party fashion show (along with fellow Carousel Couture designers Zoe Collins and Jennie Canning!). 

Intricate detail, unique materials, and a feisty charm characterize her designs. Inspiration comes from a variety of sources, including Japanese textile designs, ornithology, and quilt-making techniques. Marla has an upcoming solo exhibition at a MICA campus gallery in January and plans to design a full line for the College's annual fashion show in the spring.

This will be the first year Marla's work appears on the Madcap Masquerade runway.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Designer Spotlight: Zoe Collins

Best known for her innovative styles, Zoe Collins is a self-taught artist who dresses individuals with discerning taste in uniquely spirited custom designs.

Originally part of the vibrant '90s New York art scene, Collins moved to Pittsburgh in 1995 to blaze a trail uniting fashion and fine art in our town. Featured in numerous local and national publications in the U.S. and Ireland, she is a dedicated member of the Pittsburgh fashion community who strives to "live the dream." Check out the photo below, of her favorite local model, Blythe Bort, dressed in a Zoe Collins original for the Mattress Factory's Marie Antoinette-themed Urban Garden Party this past June. (Look for Blythe wearing Zoe's gown at Madcap as well!)

Zoe delivers quality service to her clients by expertly engineering - a la couture - for all body types. She reinforces her service through 22 years of commitment, integrity, and her characteristically enduring, "Yes, we can do that... with flair!" approach to sewing and design.

Currently creating in Sharpsburg, PA, she owns and operates a full-service tailoring salon named Threadneedle Street. There, she offers fine tailoring for men and women, a custom
 design service, and a showroom featuring her unique specialty and ready-to-wear garments.

Zoe Collins can be reached at 412-799-0616 to schedule an appointment for your tailoring or design needs.

This will be the fourth year that Zoe works on the Madcap Masquerade Couture show.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Event Site: Schenley Plaza

This year's Madcap Masquerade is moving from the Hunt Armory in Shadyside (where the past three spooky spectaculars were held) the the shiny new Schenley Plaza in Oakland. Situated in the heart of Oakland (right across from the Cathedral of Learning, and next to the Carnegie Library), the Plaza is a major destination for university students, business people, and anyone who loves the outdoors. With proximity to many cultural attractions, and plenty of open space, it truly has something for everyone!

Food vendors along the perimeter provide everything from hot chocolate to pizza - and with free Wi-fi, the Plaza is the perfect place to spend your free time.

We can't wait to see the space transformed for the Masquerade. Giant clear tents will be annexed to the existing round white one, and heated that night to ensure a comfortable atmosphere. A floor will also be put down so nobody's stilettos disappear into the ground (what a travesty that would be!). In addition to fabulous decor and lighting, this will all be constructed immediately before the event so that there is minimal risk of damaging the grass below. Once it is all deconstructed on Sunday, the party will disappear like a ghost!


Check out these photos of the Plaza and the amazing carousel - you can see why we chose it as the inspiration for the fashion show!

The carousel features more than just your typical horses - look for giraffes, pigs, dragons and dolphins!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Designer Spotlight: Carl Williams Jr.

Carl Williams is a Cleveland native, born and raised, and a recent graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, majoring in Fashion and Retail Management. His speciality is styling and merchandising. There is no glamorous story of triumph or tale of hardship behind his passion to design. He considers himself a self-taught designer, with a passion for men's and women's sportswear. Hi inspiration comes from music and natural anomalies, and his best work comes from draping directly to the dress form. His design philosophy stem from the appreciation of structure and tailoring, organic shapes, and an elegant asymmetry that emphasizes the raw beauty of imperfection.

Carl is a working 20 year old, recently hired to organize the Children's Very Own Santa Land that the downtown Macy's. He says that he is a sucker for the classics, including old school rhythm and blues, Dior's "new Look", and Nike sneakers - although he never leaves home without a sketchbook and Ipod. While the future is so uncertain and spontaneous, he hopes to continue his education, and someday develop an eponymous clothing and accessories label.

This is Carl's second go at the Madcap Masquerade.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Designer Spotlight: Brittney Thieroff

Brittney Thieroff is a Pittsburgh native who recently moved back to her hometown to pursue her career in fashion. She began her design studies in Milan, Italy and continued her education at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She completed her final year in Florence, Italy, where she graduated with a B.A. in Fashion Design. Her first collection, entitled 'Babylove', debuted on the runway at Localmotion last fall. Babylove blurs the line between a girly-girl and a femme fatale. 'I design for women who aren't afraid to take risks...someone who has a sense of self and individuality. Someone who doesn't take themselves too seriously.' Brittney is currently working on her next collection while simultaneously producing a maternity line that will be available in Spring '09 ( You can view her work, as well as place custom design requests on her MySpace page or reach her by email.

This will be Brittney Thieroff's first year participating in the Madcap Masquerade.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Designer Spotlight: Jennie Canning

Jennie Canning, a Northside based designer, began sewing and creating one of a kind clothing for friends, and friends of friends as a way to earn money when her son was an infant. In 2001, she was encouraged by the then owners of Luxx (a boutique on the Southside) Jessica and Erin, to take her unique, urban-inspired designs to the masses.

So, she started Diondega in 2002- Diondega is the original Seneca name for the Pittsburgh area. Her one of a kind hand-dyed creations were well accepted and sold throughout the US and in Japan, as well as on her website.

Today, Jennie still desgins for Diondega, continues making custom clothing for her favorite clients, and is an art teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

This is the first year that Jennie Canning will be designing for the Madcap Masquerade.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Inspiration: Alexander McQueen

This year's Madcap fashion show's theme of Carousel Couture has all of the designers overflowing with inspiration. There are so many angles, references and interpretations that everyone can have their own unique view. Carousels have been an inspiration for many world famous designers as well.  The collection that really stands out in my mind is the Alexander McQueen Spring 2005 show where carousels were both a subtle inspiration and an obvious theme. Just look at this gown that McQueen has literally circled with horses and wrapped with candy striped lines.  Equestrian inspired pieces were also seen in other pieces and particularly in the accessories.

A video of this theatrical show can be seen on, a full retrospective of all of Alexander McQueen collections can also be seen on the site.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Designer Spotlight: Tereneh Mosley

Tereneh Mosley is the creator of her own line called Idia'Dega. She was lucky enough to have a childhood filled with dance, beauty, art, literature, music and diversity.  This gave her the passion to seek beauty in all its forms for her clothing line. She came up with the name of the line by looking into definitions of meaningful words in indigenous languages/ Idia means "mother of the queen" and Dega is short for the original Shoshone name for Pittsburgh, Diondega.

Tereneh recently moved to Los Angeles to further pursue her clothing line, but brings a distinctive creation to this year's Madcap Masquerade with a custom carousel inspired mask. Her line uses exclusively organic and sustainable materials and we are excited to see how this is brought to the runway this year!

This is the first year that Tereneh Mosley will be participating in the Madcap Masquerade.


Designer Spotlight: Nicole Scarpone

Nicole Scarpone is a Pittsburgh born and raised young fashion designer.  She fueled her passion for the arts while studying at Point Park University and was given the opportunity to refine her clothing designs skills.  Locally, Nicole has designed notable costumes for Pittsurgh's historical Gateway Clipper Fleet where she also performed as a lead vocalist.

Her most recent endeavor is the launch of her own fashion line, Scarpone Italian Made - where fashion meets art. The line has been hugely successful so far and has fueled demand for Nicole's limited and customized creations.

On a national level, Nicole's designs landed her as a semi-finalist in the popular Project Runways fashion design show on Bravo.

This will be Nicole's fourth year designing for Madcap, in 2006 she was also recognized as a fan favorite by Metropolitan Magazine.

Purchase Your Tickets for this year's Madcap

Tickets for this year's masquerade are on sale now and can be purchased through the Parks Conservancy's website. There are three distinct levels of tickets that can be purchased for the event.

The first level is Benefactor which sells for $1000 per ticket. This ticket includes two reservations for the event and VIP reception, dinner, Carousel Couture fashion show, program recognition, valet parking, event signage, and sponsorship listing on

The next level is Patron for $250 per person. This ticket includes admittance for one person to the event and VIP reception, dinner, Carousel Couture fashion show, and valet parking.

The third level is After 9 Supporter for $50 per person. This ticket gains admission to the "After 9" portion of the evening, including complimentary drinks, dessert, and dancing.

The Carousel Couture fashion show takes place each year during the After 9 part of the night, so no matter what level ticket you purchase, rest assured you will be able to see the fabulous couture creations by our local designers! The Parks Conservancy is a wonderful cause to support, so please buy your tickets soon for this unforgettable night!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Designer Spotlight: Nami Ogawa

Nami Ogawa grew up in Tokyo where her mother, who was an excellent seamstress, inspired her to start sewing when she was 11 years old. Nami designed and created her own clothes for many years but it never occured to her to become a fashion designer. Her first career was a ballerina, where she quickly volunteered to help with costume design. She soon realised that fashion was her true calling and began working in the fashion industry as a buyer and a designer.

She launched her line Zeto in 2001 as a clothing line with a keen focus on innovation and attention to detail. The line uses only the highest quality of fabrics and custom dyes to showcase a Japanese and an American influence in the sophisticated and contemporary designs. Zeto is sold in Nami's store Apartment in the Southside, on her website and in boutiques from New York to Alabama to Japan.

This is the fourth year that Nami will be designing for Madcap, in 2006 her design for the event was recognized as a fan favorite by Metropolitan Magazine.

Source:, WQED

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Designer Spotlight: Kiya Tomlin

Kiya is the first designer we will be spotlighting here with a brief bio so you can get to know her before the show on October 25th.

A native of Morristown, New Jersey, Kiya Tomlin began sewing when she was 10. She asked her mother for a sewing machine and rapidly progressed from a pillow to a duck to women's apparel. After recently moving to Pittsburgh with her family, she still manages to find time to focus on fashion despite a busy schedule. The wife and mother of three somehow fits in about six hours of designing in an average weekday. She sews from 6 to 8 a.m., resumes from 1 to 3 p.m. while their two sons are in school and their toddler daughter is napping, and then picks up again from 9 to 11 p.m. when the kids are in bed in their Shadyside home.
Her favorite styles to design are women's formal wear and she caters to many private clients as well as making gowns for herself.  One of her clients, singer Brynn Williams, wore one of Kiya's gowns in the 2005 Broadway production of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

This is the first year that Kiya will be designing for the Madcap Masquerade.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Video Coverage of the 2005 Madcap Masquerade

We are so excited for this year's Madcap Masquerade to move to the Schenley Plaza in Oakland this year. The past four years have been at Shadyside's Hunt Armory which was a fabulously spooky venue for the Halloween bash. Check out this video, courtesy of Mike Lee, of the 2005 event at the Hunt Armory. The fashion show that year had a Couture Noire theme which inspired designers to create extravagantly dark gowns.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Designers For This Year's Show

Over the course of the next few weeks we will be posting bios on all of this year's designers so you can get to know them and their style.  We have an amazing line-up of 16 Pittsburgh-based or Pittsburgh-connected designers who have already begun creating their looks for this year's show.

Carousel Couture will feature:
Brittney Thieroff for Babylove Designs
Carl Williams
Emma Shutko
Jennie Canning for Diondega
Karen Page
Kiya Tomlin
Lets Get Trashed!
Marla Parker
Mary McVay
Nami Ogawa for ZETO
Nicole Scarpone
Richard Bryan
Tori Mistick
Zoe Collins for Threadneedle Street

We are so appreciative of the designers for generously creating the amazing looks for Madcap every year. The results are so impressive each year, I cannot wait to see what comes down the runway this year!

The Date is Set for this year's Madcap Masquerade

On Saturday, October 25, 2008 the fourth annual Madcap Masquerade featuring this year's fashion show theme
Carousel Couture will take place at Schenley Plaza in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  The event is one of the annual fundraisers for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, funds raised at the first Madcap went towards creating Schenley Plaza where the event will take place this year.

This year, the Parks Conservancy expects 600+ guests, many of whom return each year to see the spectacular fashion presentation. It is unlike any other fashion show in Pittsburgh in that it features one-of-a-kind original creations by Pittsburgh designers. This year's show features 16 designers who will create black-tie couture gowns inspired by the carousel at Schenley Plaza. Past themes for the show have included Couture Noire, Black&White, and International Masquerade.

Check out this blog often for updates on the event as well as bios on all of the participating designers.