By Kevin Collison
The annual West 18th Street Fashion Show is steering clear of its Crossroads address this year and going Hollywood instead this Friday at the Boulevard Drive-In Theatre in KCK for its 20th anniversary.
“We were planning for it to happen the first Saturday in June, then everything started shutting down in March,” said Celeste Lupercio, executive producer.
“We rescheduled it to October, but when we realized things were not going to bounce back…we had a meeting to come up with ideas.
“We decided to make a movie and show it at the Boulevard Drive-In Theatre. We shot it in nine days at 19 locations.”
The approximately one-hour film will feature 11 designers and their collections including VanShawn Branch, a guest designer from New Orleans. Kansas City artist Peregrine Honig is the writer and executive producer, and will star Calvin Arsenia as the lead.
Lupercio said organizers wanted this year’s fashion show production to be especially good because it celebrated 20 years of being perhaps the signature event embodying the artistic energy of the Crossroads.
It’s been an annual street party on the district’s West 18th Street core for many years.
“We were particular about who to choose,” she said. “We wanted it be the best fashion show we’d ever shown and knock peoples’ socks off.”
The theme of the fashion show is Bauhaus, in honor of the German design movement that flourished in the 1920s and early 1930s before the Nazi regime repressed it. Each designer was asked to create three-to six pieces inspired by the Bauhaus style.
The filming was a whirlwind, and the entire production including scripts, editing and music was completed in three months. Calvin Arsenia composed the music and performed it in the film.
Lupercio said the public health restrictions prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic actually helped in the filming.
“The blessing for us was that because all these places were closed, we could get into spaces we couldn’t ordinarily get into,” she said, adding the film crew followed all the health guidelines during production.
The showings will be this Friday (Oct. 16) at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. While the drive-in can accommodate up to 700 vehicles, each showing will be limited to 350 to help ensure adequate social distancing.
Admission ranges from $100- to $500 per vehicle with four occupants. Lupercio said the admission is intended to recoup the costs of the film, noting it cost $5,000 alone to rent the drive-in.
She added there will be some free tickets available in the spirit of the Crossroads street event, which doesn’t charge admission. People interested in obtaining free admission should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.