LAKEHURST – The theme of the evening was “beauty, not perfection” at the 3rd Annual Lakehurst Beauty, Fashion and Prom Expo. The fashion show event was held on the evening of March 9 in the banquet hall of La Bove Grande Restaurant, where local businesses and residents got together to celebrate beauty and community in a showcase of local fashion products.
What began three years ago as an effort to reconnect local businesses in the Lakehurst community has since, “morphed into this gigantic display of beauty, fashion and talent,” according to Rose Kaiser, head organizer of the prom expo and employee at Dimensional Designs Salon & Spa on Union Avenue in Lakehurst.
Kaiser noted that the entire staff of Dimensional Designs worked on the expo and helped the girls and guys get ready for the fashion show, by providing hair, makeup, and spray tan services. Tons of local businesses donated their time and products for the event, making the expo a successful demonstration of community collaboration at work.
The purpose of the prom expo was to facilitate getting businesses back in touch with the youth, said Kaiser. She held auditions back in February for teens to model in the fashion show, to which 68 local kids from the community came out. Only 20 girls and 8 guys, all 19 or younger, were chosen to model in the event.
“We don’t look for perfect,” said Kaiser, on choosing the models.
The fashion show was not only meant to connect businesses and the community, but also to, “empower the kids and make them feel good about themselves,” said Steve Szczypinski of Chazmatazz Formalwear in Toms River, which donated the tuxedos for the evening.
And many could see the empowering forces at work as the girls and guys strutted down the makeshift runway with confidence, modeling stylish fashions, both casual and formal.
Local businesses such as Sunshine 22, Agnes and Dora, Monica Korinne Couture, Antoinette Rose, and Silk Purse donated dozens of ensembles for the girls to show off.
In the banquet hall of La Bove Grande, tables lined all four walls, displaying merchandise from all kinds of local vendors to be purchased throughout the evening.
“It’s a shopping spree in here,” joked Kaiser.
The entire inventory at the event consisted of prom-related items such as makeup, hair products and accessories, clothing, prom dresses and tuxedos, nails, jewelry, handbags and more.
“The vendors are local businesses, local women and men that either have store fronts or run businesses out of their house, they’re all community people,” said Kaiser.
The show was structured to alternate between the fashion show and raffles for the audience members. Businesses contributed not only their time and effort, but some also threw in an extra perk offering special prizes for raffle winners.
Kaiser noted that they raffled off limousine rides, gift cards and discounts to local stores, and items from certain vendors, such as a loaded basket of goodies from Avon Makeup.
Falling in with the collaborative theme of the night, Kaiser noted that, “It’s not about the money, and the money we do make we put back out into advertising”