Minneapolis has never looked quite so glamorous.
The annual alluring Macy’s Glamorama kicked off its 20th year on Friday, continuing its tradition of being one of the best events all year. And for this first-timer, it truly met — and exceeded — all expectations.
This year’s theme was all about art — through the fashions, the performers and yes, even the audience, inspiration from this highly creative event was apparent. It certainly put some pressure on the day-of apparel.
While searching through my closet, I’ll admit I felt a bit stressed while trying to find truly “glam” garb. But fear not, future Glamorama goers — this is one event where you truly can wear just about anything and fit in. (OK, well, maybe not sweat pants.)
Upon entering the Orpheum Theatre Friday night for the event, I noticed the crowd wore everything from sleek, black dresses to over-the-top couture and everything in between. It was incredibly entertaining to watch as roughly 2,000 sequence tops, avant garde gowns and studly suits filled the theater. My favorites definitely included a pair wearing stud-infused outfits and an older woman looking dapper in neon stripes.
As we all settled into our seats, the show began by setting the tone for what this event is truly all about. We met Luke and Molly — two adorable siblings with a heartbreaking story. Both were diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare but fatal condition if left untreated. The family of Foreston, Minn. told their remarkable and difficult journey, and reiterated the importance of an event that has given more than $4 million since 1988 to fight childhood cancer.
Following their story, Luke and Molly came out on stage, with the help of their new friends, Far East Movement, to take a bow (and for Molly, a little twirl). The audience gave the adorable duo a standing ovation.
Beyond Luke and Molly, Macy’s and the Cancer Center Research Fund was able to provide tickets to a number of families currently battling childhood cancer — as a way to give them a break from the day-to-day fight and for one night, just have fun.
“Cancer is really a tough challenge and these kids are the most courageous people I know, so the fact that they’re going to have a chance to see this spectacular show, see Bruno Mars, see Far East Movement, it’s going to really make a difference,” said John Hallberg, CEO of CCRF.
A spectacular show, indeed.
While Bruno Mars and Far East Movement were the clear draws to the event, for me, the stars of the show were the tiny tot break dancers that stole every moment on stage. From ballet to ballroom, the dancers of Glamorama brought big entertainment to every scene.
Another scene stealer was certainly the evening’s latest fashions. This being my first exposure to a “fashion show,” I couldn’t get over how highly enjoyable it was to simply watch a model strut on the runway (and yes, the male models did grab a bit more excitement from the crowd). But it wasn’t just any runway — the Orpheum stage was transformed to include a moving walkway, rotating floor-to-ceiling panels and moving art.The designers ranged from Karl Lagerfeld’s new capsule collection to Armani Jeans’ latest menswear and Jean Paul Gaultier’s muff-inspired looks. Tracy Reese was a favorite for me with what I like to call Foxy Brown fashions with some major flare. (In the words of Rachel Zoe, Reese’s green dress, shown to the right, was may-jor.)
Far East Movement, in the midst of their 41-city tour with Lil Wayne, performed their latest single, “So What” (a Beastie Boys-inspired song with big bass). Kev Nish, Far East’s frontman, said the tour, which also includes Keri Hilson and Lloyd, has been incredible so far.
“The line-up is so eclectic, it matches our sound and music. Our sound is so outside the box, a mash-up of all different genres, and this tour, as each artist goes up and does their songs, it really represents that eclectic-ness,” he said. “So for us, it’s a whole lot of fun.”
As for Glamorama, Nish said the group had a chance to meet some of the kids that the concert will benefit and for them, that’s what truly brings the whole thing full circle.
“It means more when you’re doing a show and there’s a cause behind it,” he said. “When you actually meet the kids and learn their stories, it really hits you. It feels right and we’re happy to be a part of it.”
Closing out the show, Bruno Mars took the stage to perform his hits like, “Just The Way You Are” and “Millionaire” — and showed off his guitar skills with a cover of Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want).”
Mars somewhat surprised me. While I initially dismissed him a bit as a “typical top 40” star, his vocals and stage presence reach far beyond any “one-hit wonder” label. He’s a true performer and really elevates his music to another dimension during a live performance.
Though only an hour long, Glamorama was a flawless, well-oiled machine, producing great amusement and high-class fun for a great cause. And the evening didn’t end there — the highly buzzed about after-party on Macy’s eighth floor kept the party — and the fashion going until the wee hours of the night.
For more on last Friday’s Glamorama, check out the slideshow below.