[intro-text size=”25px”]“Night At The Museum” Friday night kicked off the final weekend and biggest events of Fashion Week Cleveland.  Over 300 well-dressed guests moved between the many rooms of the Western Reserve Historical Society viewing costume pieces, browsing merchandise, making friends and admiring fashion.[/intro-text]

The main attraction was a pop-up clothing boutique in the museum’s main room featuring local small-business retailers selling their best wares to attendees of all sizes who were eager to find their perfect wardrobe piece.

Make-up artist Samantha Riffle, 23, of West Salem, found a pair of slingback high heels lined in rhinestones and covered in zombie faces. That’s right…zombie faces. Designer Donna Schlacht said they are “decoupage” shoes, meaning designed with paper. That’s also right…paper. Schlacht found the zombie faces on a co-worker’s coffee cup, made a photocopy of them, cut them out and stuck them onto the shoes with a special decoupage glue. She finished the job with several layers of clear lacquer to complete the design. Riffle fell in love with the shoes; she says her style is “part Marilyn Manson, part Marilyn Monroe” and the zombie heels were a “perfect fit”.

One of the most fascinating, beautiful people in attendance at Retail’s Night Out/Night At The Museum was jewelry designer Maria Pujana, M.D. That’s right again…M.D.  Pujana is a neurologist and former professor, originally from Spain, who moved to Cleveland in 1985 and has been here ever since, building her career in neurology and now as a designer, having shown her work at Fashion Weeks in New York and Madrid and selling her items in the showcases of Saks Fifth Avenue stores all over the country.

Her most unusual piece is a cameo (portrait carving) in Cornelian shell she found at an antique store in Florence, Italy. The portrait is of two Italian musicians; the shell sits in a metal casing lined with small, elegant pearls. She asked here jeweler to fit her design with a back pin and a connector so it can be worn both pinned to clothing or around the neck, whatever its future owner desires.

As host of the “Night At The Museum” event, the Western Reserve Historical Society was able to showcase its own collection for Fashion Week Cleveland. Guests strolled through the Halle Costume Museum to view costumes and designs of early Clevelanders, and curators spoke about items of particular interest. Four dresses from WRHS’s upcoming exhibit, “Political Fashion Statements”, were previewed to the Fashion Week Cleveland audience, including a dress and suit coat worn by Nancy Reagan.

Guests had many wonderful things to say about the event. Katie Callahan, 54, from Shaker Heights, regularly visits the Historical Society and “came for a fun evening out with friends”. Several of the models who will walk in tomorrow night’s runway shows came dressed in styles by the boutiques represented at the pop-up and said they were enjoying mixing and mingling with the attendees.

Pop-ups are a valuable asset to the retail community, and, as Fashion Week Cleveland’s Strategic Relations Director, Donald Shingler, pointed out: “Fashion Week is all about helping retail, continuing to grow the local retail clothing industry. Pop-up stores offer both large and small retailers special opportunities outside of their stationary storefronts: they can test new markets, establish a presence at relevant events, educate customers and increase awareness of their brand and its lifestyle – and they often cost less than operating a brick-and-mortar facility.

Join Fashion Week Cleveland’s grand finale tomorrow evening starting at 7 p.m. at The Arcade. The evening begins with keynote speaker Fern Mallis, best known as the creator of New York Fashion Week, followed by a black-tie reception and the much-anticipated designer runway shows through The Arcade’s center. Finish off the evening in style at the Official After-Party at The Vault in The 9, wrapping up another incredible year of bringing high fashion to the Midwest!

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