Fairy lights draped from the corners of the concrete walls, while a crystal chandelier hung from the center of the venue. A jazz band strummed guitars and fiddled saxophones to the melodies of classic songs. Trays of delicate desserts and local pop-up shops lined the entrance path.
Claire Planeta, a Phoenix influencer, hosted the second annual What Matters Foundation Fashion Show in the heart of downtown Phoenix on Mar. 28. The affair took place at The Icehouse venue hall and had a Night in Havana ambiance that took the audience on a Cuban getaway.
The models strut through a ring of palms as they made their way down the candle-trimmed runway, showcasing a range of looks in preparation for the summer season.
Flowing dresses and jumpsuits proved to be the night’s greatest hits with animated remarks, such as “I need that,” and “how adorable,” from the audience.
Many ensembles featured soft shades of violet and canary yellow, while others were decorated in floral patterns. The models were adorned with charming accessories like flower crowns and block heel sandals.
Summer trends to keep in mind while putting your looks together this season include off-the-shoulder garments, espadrille sandals and matching two-piece sets.
Planeta, the voice behind Vanity Claire blog, founded the What Matters Foundation non-profit in 2016. She was inspired by not knowing what to do with the free clothing and beauty products she was receiving from brands. Rather than keep the gifts for herself, she donated them to women’s domestic abuse centers around the community.
The mission of her donations is to assist women who have experienced domestic abuse, prepare to enter the workforce again. She says her goal is to instill poise and power back into these ladies after they have dealt with great pain.
“It was the confidence that came from the makeovers these women were receiving that was so rewarding,” Planeta says.
She hosts events like the What Matters fashion show throughout the year to raise money and awareness for the cause. Planeta does a great deal of planning herself and is hands-on from start to finish. She does everything from styling outfits, setting up the runway, to ensuring every little thing is in place for the final production.
Sticking with the message of empowerment, Planeta invites influencers from around Arizona to walk in the show. This year’s icons included the Bella Twins from the E Channel’s Total Divas, Miss Arizona, radio host Kyle Unfug from the Johnjay and Rich show, and several local bloggers.
The models ranged in age from babies to toddlers to teens and adults. While some women strut the stage alone, others were pregnant or holding the hands of their young ones.
The night may be over, but the message behind the clothing sure is not.
All photos courtesy of Emily Taylor
Also published on Medium.