What Super Models Are Made Of

Haute Midwest Cover Story - November 2013

COVER: Haute Midwest - November2013COVER STOR: Haute Midwest November 2013Ashlyn in GSIA - Photo by Shenica GrahamBackstage at the House of Sherell Fashion Show this month, I gave the models a little challenge… Wow me in five seconds or less. Ashlyn took three steps and walked into Haute Midwest

Ashlyn Lee is wearing a GSIA original by Shenica Graham on the cover of Haute Midwest, Winter 2013.
Ashlyn is the first model to make the cover as we launch the e-zine at hautemidwest.com. Little did we know that our very first cover would be soooooooooo good.

Ashlyn in GSIA - Photo by Cindy Marshallquote_leftHow it happened was like something out of the movie, The Secret.quote_right

The look, which is a two-piece ensemble, did not exist before the day of the fashion show. I had been working on other designs for the event and finally had a strong emotion that while most of the clothes I planned to show were founded on black fabrics in various textures, I needed to add something that would catch the light. It had to be bright. It had to make the crowd stand up and say, “Wow!”

I could not sleep. Around 2:00 am on the morning of the show, I draped the halter top and skirt, did some of the stitching, and went to bed around 4:00 am. After sleeping just two hours, I woke up and started working again. The look had to be finished. Working until that afternoon, the show-stopper was ready to hit the runway.  I hoped that whomever the model would be, the sheer elegance would shine through. This would be the GSIA debut. I was nervous, excited and nervous all over again. This had to be the look that people would remember GSIA by. It had to be strong enough to build a brand around. It had to capture every sentiment of a labor of love – for fashion. That energy had to be infused into the garment; and that energy had to live on after the show.

Arriving at the House of Sherell Fashion Show workroom, it was my first time meeting most of the models. I recall seeing a tall blonde (Ashlyn) sitting patiently as her ringlets flowed from a hot curler. She had a quiet elegance that spoke the gentle language of finesse. Her doe eyes seemed to mask a fierce competitor who could rise to a challenge, though she was not the boisterous, crowd-over-talker who would make a scene. Owner, Designer Ra Sha of House of Sherell stated simply, “I think that (the GSIA Ashlyn is wearing) would be good on her,” pointing out Ashlyn in the crowd. Later, Ra Sha commented,

quote_leftShe (Ashlyn) reminds me of Marilyn Monroe…quote_right  Ashlyn working that garment was almost magical. It was like it had been made just for her. I recalled the strong emotion that I just could not fully rest until that look was put together. When Ashlyn stepped out in that GSIA ensemble, everyone noticed. It was a breathtaking moment in every step. Modeling is more than wearing nice clothes. It takes more than a pretty face. When a model makes this work look easy; when she (or he) is creating memorable moments in time – that is a professional; that is talent; and that is what Super Models are made of.