Behind the Runway: Moda dal Vivo

By Jessica Johnson-Petty
March 27, 2012

Founders and presidents Jessica Johnson-Petty and Gregory Robinson say thanks on runway.

The first model hit the runway of Moda dal Vivo’s, first annual fashion show, Beyond Basic with Kewl91’s beat opening the show. As the first ten models gracefully took their positions on both sides of the runway, I was able to exhale as I experienced my project – my baby, become real – be born.

It’s rewarding, yet challenging. When you work to “raise” your child/project, you want to see it succeed. You want to see and feel accomplished and you want it to meet it’s fullest potential. The challenge part, is putting it on the pedestal for all to see and ready to accept criticism and be applauded by praise.

In Sept 2010 Gregory Robinson and I decided to collaborate on an idea that was passionate to our hearts. Following all the procedures for a club on Cabrini College’s campus, Moda dal Vivo, “Live Fashion,” fashion club was established in Nov 2010. As freshmen, we founded our campuses official fashion club. With the main idea of producing an annual fashion show.

The road was rocky. With not many members who had the drive that we did we were struggling to stay active. We had little support our first year and the club within our selves.

August 2011, we went under new advising. Stephanie Reed, director of Student Diversity Initiatives, became the push that we needed. With executive board training, open office hours and strict procedures to follow, Moda began to turn around for the better. She was the nutrition that we needed to grow stronger in order to begin planning our show.

With our membership flourishing from two dedicated members to 11, Howard, Cherise, Sacorae, Kristopher, Kristina, Bianaca, Musulynn, Breona, Shakirah, Leland and Jason.

Moda had the team that it need and it was time to go to work.

Robinson and I lead the team and utilized all of our resources and previous experiences that we had at hand, and with our new executive board, Cherise Carn and Kristina Leyro, we were ready to conquer.

With both of us with a previous past in fashion and fashion shows from our high school experiences, Robinson a trained model and myself a coordinator and stylist, we knew what the job entailed.

Our outside connections were were John Petty, III who introduced me to the designers and special guest, Jade Alston. as well as Robinson, who granted us access to DJ G.i.G. and the company for the t-shirts.

In our club meetings we discussed the designers found at the Arts Beats & Eats event in Philadelphia. The club voted to have the DNTN Brand by Don Scott and Mijourne by Stephanie C to participate in the show.  In our journey we added Swim’n Sport to a list of our designers and Glitz and Glam Accessories to style our complete looks.

It was my call of duty to handle logistics for the desired designers and any public relation requirements.

Casting calls took place in January in search of 25 models to be trained by Robinson. Out of the 27 who tried out, 14 made it, with three add on’s, one of which was off campus.

Johnson-Petty discusses final run-through with designer Don Scott of the DNTN Brand.

Now that we had our Cabrini models in place the club knew that we wanted Moda to flaunt our talents in the style department by having a few of our own techniques in the show.

These talents were titled Moda Styles. Carn took her talent to cutting t’s and I displayed mine with bleaching and distressing jeans.

Meeting consistently with Reed, we were rarely were thrown off schedule. When crunch time hit, it hit hard!

Overwhelmed with ordering the t-shirts, finalizing the layout, getting programs printed! We are forever thankful for our support from BSU. They stepped in on stuffing VIP bags, labeled the seats and ran around through the havoc.

The sweat, tears, and stress were all paid off as Sky produced by Ade Cruse of Kewl91 stared the show. The slow sounds of electronic keys caused a rush of adrenalin to flow through my veins. All of my work, our work from founding the club is now being displayed as a final product.

The day of, the tears flowed as soon as the DNTN Brand hit the runway. The anxiety turned to adrenaline that could not be calmed even after the thank you’s and closing scene.

We received tons of positive feed back. The adrenaline of the final run of the show, which concluded around 10PM on Saturday night,  had me on cloud nine until Monday evening.

The one negative feed back came from a non-attendee, but was not enough to blow my high off of life.

For next year, we look forward to making great process! The designers will be in full affect, as we plan on partnering with the same lines and more to come. The models and membership will be in high numbers, as we have gained interest from the campus after meeting the expectations that they have set.

Beyond Basic was MdV’s first annual fashion. we can only get better. Moda dal Vivo is my baby, but the plans is for it to be an empire.

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Jessica Johnson-Petty

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