It takes a village…

and this village happens to be in the world of fashion

I’m far from an event or fashion photographer, but I went behind the scenes and in front to shoot Wednesday night’s Art Day Celebration along with Life Preservers Project fundraiser at 1OAK in Chelsea.  Founder of Art In Motion and Ford model, Monica Watkins is a woman of substance with a passion for art and a zest for life.  This comes in the form of helping children feel empowered and she has teamed up with several organizations to enable her dream to become a reality.  Martine Longchamp’s Diakonos Orphanage in Haiti will once again be the scene of an art workshop this July with the addition of a number or neighboring children.  So many people have given with generous, open hearts and wallets to make this happen.  The list of people and vendors is long and Monica is ever so grateful for all that they have done.  Hosted by; award-winning photographer Marc Baptiste, Ford Models Monica Watkins, Guadalupe Tomic, and  Heather Ann Burton, America’s Next Top Model Winner/ Click Model Dani Evans, Supermodel Ernesto Araujo, Steve Azor of Tripp TV Channel 28, Erin Gabriella of Makeover Nightlife, Leora Edut of The Art Of Beauty Experience, Shana Pederson and Laura Trevino of Life Preservers Project, Etienne Deyans of Tapis Rouge and designer and co-founder of Pastry Shoes and star of ‘Run’s House’, Angela Simmons.

The event featured 3 clothing designers: Bernie Martin of Catou Wear and Charles C Dieujuste, Sathya Balakumar and Jensen Martin.  Hair and MUA’s, designers and the models crammed the small room in the basement of the establishment.  Curling irons, lip brushes, eye shadows filled the tables as the models were transformed for the show.  MUAs hands applied the steady lines and lashes to perfection.  To say it was abuzz with motion is an understatement.  Racks of clothing, suitcases, folding chairs and models crowded the floor space, leaving little room to maneuver around.  Here is just a snippet of images that I took:








As time drew closer,  the pace quickened, the designers steamed and fitted their apparel to the models and queues were set.  A practice run-through was called then it was back to the basement for the final touches.   I waited upstairs, shooting the generous patrons in the club and later as others entered before the fashion segment took place.  In today’s tight economy, people still give so generously of their time, talent and money for a worthy cause.

On to the speeches, heart felt gratitude and the fashion segment of the night:

A gaggle of photographers and videographers were set up on the stage, each of us vying for the best position.  A little jostling and bumping trying to not get any elbows or heads in our shots.  It was difficult as most of the guests were also snapping away on their iPhones, iPads and point and shoot cameras…  The crowd was loving it, I don’t doubt that many of the ladies were wondering where they could get their hands on the outfits.

The clothes were amazing and make me wish my weight was on a 5’10” frame and that I was about 30 years younger.   ;-(







The real party started after the fashion show, prior dinner plans took me away from the scene.

Mary Durante Youtt


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