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Mace & Crown | April 30, 2017

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Slover Hosts House of VII’s Inaugural Metallic Gala

Kamaria Mason | Contributing Writer

“Virginia is for lovers of fashion,” Ron Cooke said at Slover Library in downtown Norfolk on April 1. This motto was the theme as models and guests alike were dressed to the nines as they celebrated the House of VII’s inaugural Metallic Gala.

Although most people would enjoy looking nice while surveying chic designs, this fashion show aimed to do much more. Event co-creator Mikasa La’Charles teamed up with Friends of Norfolk Public Library to gain support for positive community outreach programs.

President of Friends of Norfolk Public Library, Ellen Selig, had this to say:

“Our organization consists of 12 local branches in an effort to provide a neighborhood library for many different communities. We hope that tonight’s gala will help to promote more visibility and support for our community outreach programs, such as our multicultural, women and LGBT groups. In addition, we hope to expand our summer reading initiative which last year reached over 14,000 families and youth.”

The festivities started with a VIP reception where guests enjoyed treats and live music featuring jazzy ballads. As attendees made their way to their seats for the main event, co-hosts Kristen Crowley from WTKR and Trevor Lucas from VAdio pumped up the crowd for the seven designers showcasing their work.

The designer roster included Norfolk native Paulette Washington, Richmond designer and owner of Angela’s Couture, Angelia Cooper, Washington DC’s Michael Carter, White Plains, New York’s Thomas Ruffin, owner of F.N.O. Laura Williams, and Chesapeake’s own RicLamar. The grand finale included none other than Metallic Gala’s co-creator and House of VII owner, Mikasa La’Charles.

As audience members gazed in amazement at each designer’s jaw-dropping creations, I spoke with Sonal Rastogi, Slover’s Director of Libraries.

“Events like this help to show that the Slover is able to bring art, culture and fashion together. It also makes a great statement to the youth and community by advocating for self-confidence and education in a welcoming environment.”

The excitement in the room was palpable. Attendee Maria Coston said, “This is my first fashion show. I was told about this gala by Teens With a Purpose. I am so excited to see these designers in action.”

Precious, a 7-year-old designer, encouraged her mother and sister to attend the gala with her for inspiration.

As the event came to a close, visible bonds were seen formulating as guests shared their thoughts on their favorite designs.

“I really enjoyed the event,” Joelle Cowell said. “It was great to know that local designers were being showcased.”

House of VII stayed true to their community outreach initiative by incorporating local volunteers, including ODU students who acted as event assistants, model dressers and models in the fashion show. Most notably, the message of the importance of Norfolk Public Libraries and the services they provide stuck with each and every person who came together to show their support.