Fashion Shoot Extravaganza is surely a unique concept – a high fashion photo shoot in real time, in front of a live audience. But this wasn’t like any other shoot. Described by Beyond Fashion magazine “journey through an immersive theatrical fashion shoot”, with the models serving as the actors and the clothing driving the plot forward. Over 20 different designers pitched in to bring the show to life.

Models wearing Rhowan James, Najla Rahimi; Jewelry by Karen McFarlane

The brainchild of Marie Copps, fashion enthusiast and clothing/accessory designer, Fashion Shoot Extravaganza is an event quite like no other. Copps was inspired to create an event that would appeal to how the younger generation is consuming media, including runway shows. “In 2019, we all have our phones. It’s all about snapping, sharing, and then “ok, what’s next?” She says. “Seeing a fashion show in the 90’s is a very different experience than it is now. We need to bring new elements into shows because our new generation likes to experience things in different ways.”

The venue was Daniel’s Spectrum, famous for hosting events such as Fashion Art Toronto and Startup Fashion Week – which was decked out in interactive installations. 3 mini “scenes” were set up, where patrons could pose for pictures with their friends. There was a “behind-the-scenes” room where models from the show lounged on extravagant chairs and loveseats, fully dressed in their opulent costumes. Finally the show, held on a stage instead of a runway, was an ambitious combination of live-action photoshoot and music-driven play – the backdrop consisting of fanciful furniture and huge columns – even a small tree – to set the scene.

The Mad Hatter Roxanne Bilski wearing House of Sass and Magic receiving touch ups.

“I had something in mind already from the very beginning,” says Copps. “I knew I wanted to do a whimsical theme, a wedding element, a dark society party, I had a designer who did fetish/burlesque in mind. For the longest time I was always admiring GPS décor, who is a company owning all of these huge panels and pillars for lavish weddings. They helped to create an opulent, beautiful set. I came across PHD furniture, who brought $50,000 worth of furniture in two big trucks that took hours to set up.” Eventually there were over $70,000 worth of props used in the final production.

The models of Chapter 1 “Youth” wearing creations by Dress Empire, Steven Le Jambe, Narces, Bone and Busk Couture, and House of Sass and Magic

“I had an event designer, Tina Ciotti, navigate through the selection of furniture and décor to help me tie the set together.”

Chapter III “Society” wearing designs by Cherry Burgundy, Narces and Rhowan James.

Copps admits that the concept is hard to grasp without being there to experience it, and had always been that way. She expresses frustration when thinking back to how she tried to get her message across to potential collaborators and investors. “It had so many new elements and factors that it took often an hour to sit down with people and fully explain the concept… and they still couldn’t fully comprehend it! After the show they would say, “I could never actually imagine what you meant until I saw it”.

Thanks to the hard work of Copps and her small team, the event ran smoothly and was championed by patrons as a success. “I was working 12 hours a day for 6 months straight. I was working on a Powerpoint until 1:30 the day before the show!”

Fashion Shoot Extravaganza’s debut show was anything if not extravagant – and the next event promises to blow us away.  

All images are used with permission from Jack Hathaway (@cosplay)

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